Law in Contemporary Society
-- By JoeTeresi - 07 Jun 2017

I did not learn much during my 1L curriculum about what kind of lawyer I want to be. The knowledge I’ve gained about what kind of I lawyer I wish to become has come from talking to other students, firm representatives at networking events, friends, and family friend lawyers.

In the long run, I want my own law firm. However, that it far down the line. After law school, I want to practice law in a challenging environment that is reasonable in its demands. Being reasonable is not expecting me to be completely defined by my job as an associate. Entering into law school I was complacent with ending up a drone. As long as they paid me enough, I thought it’d be worth it. I’m beginning to question that assumption now. I’ve talked to numerous people in law, related to lawyers, and soon to be in law. The common theme among them seems to be to not burn yourself out, which is much more likely to happen if one works in a large firm and is unable to separate one’s work life from everything else.

So, I want to be a lawyer who is not disgustingly engrossed in their work. Who finds happiness in many things other than his job, and who has time to find that happiness. I think I’m more likely to meet these criteria if I choose to practice in California. While firms are still demanding in California, from what I’ve heard they sound more amenable to the type of lawyer I want to become. For example, a mid-sized firm in Orange County markets themselves as a family-friendly firm. They emphasize their attorney’s ability to maintain a healthy personal life in addition to a challenging and thriving law practice. I’m looking to be that kind of attorney and hope to find a firm similar to that.

I do not know what kind of law I want to practice. I’ve been exposed to the foundational classes, but they are not a good directory to deciding a future practice area. I’ve also been exposed to personal injury law. While it can be a rewarding practice, I have no desire to begin my career as a plaintiff’s lawyer. I do know that I want to do litigation. The adversarial nature of the process in conjunction with the performance aspect is what draws me to it. I loved doing my moot court oral argument. The nervousness before it and the subsequent rush after was invigorating. It was a welcome change to some of the drudgery that is 1L year. I need to practice a kind of law that gives me the same reaction as my oral argument. Litigation, more so than transactional, fits my need.

To successfully begin and run my own law firm I’ll need two skills; the ability to try cases and get clients. Since I also want to start in litigation building strong litigation skills is a necessity. With respect to classes, I plan to take courses that will give me a foundation and basic skills, such as evidence and trial practice. Outside of class, I need to improve my confidence and improvisational skills while public speaking. The best way to get improve is through practice. So, I’ll choose classes that are more interactive, but that is true in general when comparing upper-level courses with foundational courses. The most effective practice I can commit to now is to speak up more in class.

I do not speak up often in class. It is not because I do not have something to say; it is because I’m uncomfortable to speak. I’ve always been a better listener and rationalized my failure to speak up in class by convincing myself that I would gain little by stating my opinion, so why should I do something that makes me uncomfortable for practically nothing. But, I misevaluated to potential benefit to me. Speaking up might make a professor more amenable to give me a higher grade, but the main benefit is the experience. I’m also overly critical as a result of being criticized for every little mistake when I was younger. I think people are like me, so I’m nervous that when I’m speaking up people are parsing my every word and concluding that what I’m saying is stupid or irrelevant. To be a better lawyer, I must get past this. So, in my future classes, I plan to speak up and participate more often.

I plan to prepare more, make a concerted effort to speak up more often, and take classes that require me to participate in improving my public speaking skills by overcoming my nervousness and hesitancy in public speaking. Throughout 1L, I did not prepare enough for class. I spent in class time digesting things for the first time and subsequently I was a step behind. This method did not lend itself to class participation. So, preparing for class more should help me obtain a better grasp of the material and help lead me to participate more. More preparation will mean nothing if I do not make more of an effort to participate. So, I can’t let myself be complacent next year and fall into my typical, lazy thinking. I need to actively participate, which should help me improve my public speaking and help me learn the material better because I’ll be actively engaged. Finally, I’ll take classes that emphasize public speaking skills, such as classes with mock trials and smaller seminar classes where participation is more natural than a massive 1L class.

Overall, I want to eventually start my own firm. Prior to that, I need to improve my public speaking so I can litigate better. To that end, I’ll choose classes that emphasize litigation skills and in class, I’ll work on improving my public speaking skills. Since starting my own law firm right out of law school is impractical, directly after law school I want to join a firm that emphasizes litigation and a work-life balance.

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r1 - 07 Jun 2017 - 06:17:06 - JoeTeresi
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