How do you become a successful lawyer? It’s not just about the number of cases you win or the largest settlements you earn. Instead, becoming a genuinely successful attorney requires balancing professional accomplishments with personal wellbeing, allowing you to stand firm through the inevitable ups and downs that come with the profession.
Achieving success in the legal industry doesn’t require deciphering a secret formula. Instead, it all boils down to sticking with a few simple practices, attitudes, and habits every day that can make a lasting impact on your work. With that in mind, don’t forget these vital tips on how to become a successful lawyer, no matter how far along you are in your career.
Learn every day
You may have already absorbed more knowledge than you ever thought you could handle in law school, but even after you earn your JD, a legal career should be a constant process of learning, education, and growth. By making it a priority to expand your working knowledge at every chance you get, you’ll prepare yourself for whatever you face in the future.
The best way to continue growing your legal career is to learn everything there is to know about your chosen area of law. Develop deep expertise in your area of specialty, and the benefits will immediately present themselves. Not only will you cultivate a reputation as a reliable source to consult for matters affecting your niche, but you’ll also be better equipped to handle more complicated projects or nuanced questions.
Organize your time
There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many of them can be billable to your clients. That’s why it’s critical to make the most of every moment available to you. While you likely won’t want to create a strict or concrete schedule for yourself, developing a general itinerary or routine for your work activities is an excellent idea.
For example, you may decide that you want to set aside ten minutes of personal reading every day to help you learn and grow. You could also determine that you need one hour of uninterrupted writing time every day to meet your project deadlines. Regardless of your ambitions or objectives, sticking to a reliable routine will enable you to make the most of every day. Creating to-do lists and following organized calendars of tasks and agendas will help you stay productive. After all, everyone benefits – both you and your clients – when you can juggle all your responsibilities effectively.
Build and maintain a network
You can’t go it alone if you want to establish a fruitful and fulfilling career as a lawyer. Instead, staying connected to a robust network of your peers will help you have an edge in the field. Your network can give you advice, direct you to helpful resources, and even help you land new clients.
Almost anyone you meet can be a possible connection. From your law school classmates to your former clients, every professional you interact with can potentially provide insights, resources, and opportunities that could make a substantial difference in your career.
Stay persistent and learn from your mistakes
Nearly every lawyer will experience burnout or suffer from a disappointing outcome at least once in their career. However, persistence is what separates successful lawyers from the rest. When you do make a mistake or when a project doesn’t yield the results you’d wanted, don’t let it deter you; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve for the next project.
Learning to stay strong and persistent even after experiencing setbacks will help you become a better professional in the end. Maintaining long-lasting success often depends more on attitude than hard skills. If you can see the positive side of disappointing situations, then you’ll already have a leg up on your peers.
Take advantage of technology
The legal industry is always dynamic, but there’s no denying that many parts of it can feel tedious. Not many lawyers’ hearts jump at the thought of creating invoices or managing cases, for example. Thankfully, many companies have seen the need for law firm management software and have developed solutions to streamline many of the rote tasks involved with running a firm.
Platforms like PracticePanther can take many laborious issues off your plate, such as case management, billing, and calendaring, among many others. You’ll be more productive when you use law firm management software to handle your rote tasks, and most importantly, you’ll feel more fulfilled when you get to spend your time on more dynamic projects than just tedious chores.
Think creatively and stay innovative
All too often, the law can feel like a by-the-books business – and of course, part of that comes with the job. However, there are many times where you can earn the best results by thinking outside the judiciary box. Whether you’re arguing a case or developing a contract, it often pays off to be creative in legal projects.
Every case is unique. When you’re starting on a project, don’t limit yourself to the same strategies and tactics you’ve relied on before. Instead, you can strive for the best possible outcomes by thinking creatively and seeking innovative ways to address each particular project.
Keep your mental health in mind
It’s one thing to be productive, but productivity won’t mean much if you cannot enjoy the results due to stress, anxiety, or depression. Although satisfying your clients and chasing favorable outcomes is always important, your mental wellbeing should constantly be your top priority.
Lawyers have long suffered from a mental health crisis – many legal practitioners are infamously stressed and overwhelmed thanks to the all-consuming nature of the work. Easily one of the best ways to set yourself apart from your fellow attorneys is to focus on your total wellbeing. Ensure that your mental and physical health is always in the right place, even if that means skipping a late-night call or not working on a project over the weekend.
There’s no doubt about it: pursuing a career in the law can be immensely overwhelming, and it can feel impossible to stand out in such a crowded field. However, there are many benefits to being a lawyer and once you master these best tips to being a successful, you’ll be on the right track to make a name for yourself.