Law on Your Terms – Become the Lawyer You Want to Be

In the macho environment of the law, to express any lack of confidence, vulnerability or self-doubt has traditionally been regarded as weakness. Many women lawyers who were regarded as reliable and 100% capable suddenly find that their commitment is challenged (through no fault of their own) when they start a family.

So, what would it take for you to become the lawyer you want to be?

Refocus on what is really important to you. Build your resilience and re-energise.

Action Steps

1. Make a list of everything that is important to you about your career. What have you achieved over the last 5 years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you turn you weaknesses into strengths?
2. What would being a lawyer on your terms look like? How would your life be different? Spend 10 minutes thinking and writing down your goals – short, medium and long term
3. List all the things that are likely to block your progress
4. Separate the blocks into those that you can influence and those that you cannot
5. Decide to let go of everything out of your control
6. Concentrate and only use your energy on those things that you can influence
7. Commit to taking one small step every day towards your goals
8. Remember to be successful you need both technical and “soft skill” expertise
9. Review your progress regularly
10. Enlist the help of a mentor (inside or outside your organisation). Use them as a sounding board and cheerleader to spur you on or give you that extra boost when your confidence dips.

Use these 10 steps to become the lawyer you want to be in 2009!

Productivity Profiles – The Lawyer

People are productive in many ways. There are a few — what I would call archetype productive — roles that are generic and performed by anyone without having the archetypical background. Think, for example about the lawyer. We are all at one or other moments in our lives a lawyer.

The term lawyer has a general use, in practice the activities of a lawyer is split up into two “careers;” that of the barrister and the solicitor.

“Solicitors have more direct contact with the clients, whereas barristers often only become involved in a case once advocacy before a court is needed by the client.” (Wikipedia).

This difference can be compared with that of the medical specialist and the more general physician “… a solicitor, like a general practitioner is the regular point of contact for a client, who will only be referred to a barrister (or … a consultant) for specialist advisory or advocacy services. … barristers tend to be instructed in complex litigation and in certain other specialist fields.” (wikipedia).

The difference in focus will bring a difference in productivity. The Solicitor operates more as a client relation manager. The barrister is the one involved in the plea and engaged in the process of convincing.

In business, the lawyers type of productivity is visible in a few situations, like that during discussions for example about a business case. “a devil’s advocate” can be anyone who pleas in favor or against (criticizes) a decision in order to assess the risk, impact or weakness of the decision to be taken.

Often, as lawyers are trained and educated in the world of language and where language is their main tool, lawyers are very skilled in presentation.
We only have to think about the recent democratic elections which both candidates having a background in law.

“…Rodham … specialized in patent infringement and intellectual property law,while also working pro bono in child advocacy; she rarely performed litigation work in court.” (wikipedia – Hillary Clinton)

“Obama taught constitutional law… worked as an associate attorney … worked on cases where the firm represented community organizers, pursued discrimination claims, and on voting rights cases. He also spent time on real estate transactions, filing incorporation papers and defending clients against minor lawsuits.” (wikipedia – Barack Obama)

From the democratic elections it is hard not to remember the archetypical productive roles of both Hillary and Obama, both with a background in law and both practising the productive role of the lawyer: which is to plea for their case in order to attract the public (vote or attention).

This is what people do when being productive, it is one of the most important roles. Whether in the office or at home.

Think about it.

H.J.B.

Educating Children to Think Outside the Box

When asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my nine year old daughter constantly replies “a famous singer”.

When I try to bring her gently back to reality by asking “but what if you don’t manage to succeed in being a singer, she immediately replies, “then I will be a famous actress instead.”

It is sad but true that in today’s fame obsessed culture most young people aspire to be a famous celebrity rather than seeking careers in the more traditional roles like nursing, teaching or becoming a lawyer.

How can we, as parents, address this situation?
In my opinion it is vital that we try to educate our children to know that there are other exciting opportunities available for them that can lead to being successful and fulfilled in life.

In addition to promoting the traditional roles like teaching and nursing we should also try to encourage our children to “think out of the box”.

Very often we live our lives as though we are in a box. We pursue roles and lives that we feel we ought to. We are educated to think that we need to either get a job straight from school or to obtain a degree if we want a” higher” profession. We are encouraged to seek traditional careers and to keep the status quo.

This does not have to be the case. As well as valuing the traditional education offered to our young daughters we should also try to encourage our children by stimulating their imagination to think of more exciting ways to succeed. Our youngest daughter is already showing great business and entrepreneurial potential. She particularly enjoys watching entrepreneurial programs and gets quite excited when she tries to think of ideas of her own for various tasks presented in these programs. My children also enjoy helping me to devise various ideas for my business and my website. They quite often offer me very novel ways to present my web pages.

My wife enjoys nurturing their creative skills in other ways. Very often they enjoy making things outdoors like mobiles made from twigs and leaves or jewellery made from string, wood, leaves and flowers. My eldest daughter even made a beautiful necklace from a shell that she placed on to a piece of chord. She often jokes that she is one day going to open a stall selling her home made jewellery to make extra pocket money. This enterprising spirit should be encouraged as many top entrepreneurs have started out by selling something small for extra pocket money and gone on to bigger fortunes…Just look at Lord Sugar who is a perfect example of this.

My youngest daughter enjoys being creative by writing stories along with her own illustrations when she has been on an “adventure” with her mum. When she returns from a walk in the woods both she and my wife then sit and write stories about who they think live is the tree in the woods. My daughter particularly likes these stories as one of the trees actually has a door with a handle on it. She is convinced that a family of squirrels live there whereas my wife writes that a family of goblins live there. It doesn’t really matter which version is best, the important thing is that it stimulates my daughter’s imagination and actually encourages her to write, something that she isn’t normally keen on doing. Who knows it could also encourage her to be a famous writer in the future.

It doesn’t really matter which career path our children take. The important thing is to ensure that they enjoy whatever they choose to do and that they realise there are many other exciting opportunities available other than the traditional roles that are encouraged at school. Using entrepreneurial and creative skills can easily lead to running a successful business. As can utilising good writing and illustrative skills. If your children choose the right career path for them, whatever that might be, they will be capable of achieving the same success and fulfilment that they would get by being a celebrity. The plus side is that they would be able to still enjoy their lives and privacy without fearing that they are being followed at every opportunity by the media.

Media Lawyer Careers

If you are looking for a career as a media lawyer, there are a growing number of opportunities, especially so with celebrities in the public eye, such as musicians, professional sportsmen, entertainers, politicians increasingly exposed to the media glare. With reputations at stake and privacy laws very much a hot topic in the news, many people in the public eye see a lawyer as an important tool to protect their business interests and earning potential. A number of large legal firms in the UK now have at least one partner within the firm who can handle such clients. For trainee lawyers looking to move in to this field, it is recommended they get in touch with a professional legal recruitment agency which can help them develop this area of specialization.

So what it the most common problem for a media lawyer to deal with? More often than not, Defamation, Slander and Libel are the key area for media lawyers to be familiar with. If a client feels that there has been unfair and indeed untrue criticism of themselves and / or their work, that which has been published or voiced in a public arena, in most cases correctly worded correspondence from a senior partner in a law firm will insure that an appropriate apology will be issued and offence will not be repeated. If a suitable apology is not forthcoming and the perpetrator refuses to back down, then the client can decide to pursue matters through the courts, and this is where the knowledge of a media lawyer is priceless.

What else might a media lawyer tackle? Harassment and invasion of privacy is another area which increasingly occurring, either affected the client and / or the clients family. It’s not just professional photographers that media lawyers can serve with an injunction, but stalkers too, more so when these people are threatening to disrupt the lives of the client. It’s not all about dealing with negative problems for client. Clients need to maintain their reputations, but also their earning potential too. That said, any law firm worth their salt will retain a commercial law specialist who has the skills and knowledge to deal with a number of different areas. There are many examples of this, for instance a lawyer can act as the mediator for a newspaper or magazine wishing to publish pictures, an interview or information about their client maximizing the fee and making sure the client is protected at all times.

Advantages of Choosing a Career in Law

Choosing a career in law has several advantages. Law is an intellectual stimulus. The lawyer develops the capacity to analyze cases far better than most people can imagine. This requires the individual to have the ability to develop sound arguments and to articulate them in a persuasive and practical manner. A career in law can be exciting and challenging.

Exciting opportunities

Law career offers a wide range of opportunities in different areas of law and in various types of practices. A lawyer or attorney should have a sound knowledge of the law and its legal process. It gives an opportunity to earn handsomely, as well as to start one’s own business. But this won’t happen at the initial stages. He has to first work with a senior lawyer or firm to get practical experience of working with the system. Practicing law gives an opportunity, to effect important changes in the system and in the client’s life. The hours of work put in by members in the legal profession is much more than members of any other profession. Private lawyers work at all hours. Many of them meet clients out of working hours as their clients may be employed. In a law firm, promotions are competitive and based on merit. Associates in law firms bill about 80 to 100 hours per week. It is not a 9 to 5 job, bosses don’t ask them to work out of office hours; they are required to do so.

Existing businesses are growing and expanding and new businesses come up each year, opening avenues for making a career in law very possible. Corporate law defines the rules for business corporations. Businesses require corporate lawyers. Corporate lawyers have a strong role to play in a business establishment. Their duty is to advise their corporate clients, draw up business contracts and argue cases in court especially when parties are involved in foul play.

Social aspects

Lawyers are treated with respect and deference after all they know the laws of the country and they deserve it. Dressed elegantly and smart, they ooze confidence. However, there is another side to the social aspect of a career in law. The legal system requires very intricate and highly specialized skills. But the one sad aspect in choosing a lawyer job, especially criminal law, is losing faith in mankind. You will experience real life situations on a daily basis and encounter disheartening examples of human depravity. Betrayal, fraud, back-stabbing and callousness make people hate lawyers and can be extremely difficult to cope with.