So you want a career in the legal field but have no idea where to start. The legal service industry has continued to grow, and there has been a demand for competent professionals with in-demand skills with employers willing to pay top dollar. Here are some great eight tips that will go a long way in helping you with a career in the world of law, whether you are just a student considering a career n this field or an experienced professional looking to transition into this field.
There is nothing you can achieve without action. Advancing your educations is one of the best ways of putting your career on drive. You might need to get professional certification if you are looking to get ahead in a specialty area. Example, paralegals, and legal nurse consultant will need to obtain certification in their respective fields in order to demonstrate a commitment to the profession and enhancing their professional credibility. If it is a lawyer who works in a niche field like tax, an LLM might improve employability. You have a better chance of getting work as a legal secretary if you have a bachelor’s degree than when you don’t.
- Leverage Your Expertise – Charles Emmett Harris IV
If you have experience in a different field from the one you want, e.g. nursing, accounting, or engineering, you can use to leverage the expertise into the new career opportunity in the law, and this can be either through specialization in niche area or consulting. A good example is, a person with a strong foundation in engineering or the physical sciences can give him an edge in the field of intellectual property, while a background in nursing will have an easier time seeking work as a legal nurse consultant, while those with an accounting degree or CPA, have a chance in the field of tax law.
- Perform a Self-Assessment
Before you can begin a new career in the field of law, you will need to do an honest self-assessment in order to determine whether the new career is a good fit or not. Note down list of your strength and weaknesses then review the experience and credentials you have and see if a career in law is for you. Some of the skills you will need include good writing and communication skills, organizational ability, the adherence to deadlines, strong technology skills, and attention to detail.
- Research the Field
Career disillusionment is also there in the world of law, and this is common in paralegals and lawyers. This is why it is a good idea to first read literature and do an exploration of requirements, qualifications, duties, salaries, and job outlook in relation to the legal position that you are interested in. You should also consider visiting a career center of a local law school in order to learn more about law school and the legal field. Another approach to take to increase your knowledge base is talking to lawyers, legal professionals, and laws students about the nature of their profession. Here is a lot of what’s happening in 2018 according to the IDEX blog.
- Cultivate Professional Contacts
Learning through word of mouth is one of the best ways you can get to learn more about legal professions in terms of opportunities. You should try your best to network in order to gain professional contacts and know more about the profession. You can contact corporate legal departments, law firms, and legal staffing agencies. Make an effort of attending local chapter meetings, seminars, conferences, and luncheons and get to talk with people in the field so you can learn more and know about any job openings.
- Become Tech-Savvy
There has been a lot of technological advancement in the world, and this has spread to the legal industry. This is why you need to adapt to these advancements because they are used in the field you are interested in. Tech-Savvy lawyers, legal secretaries, paralegals, litigation support personnel and other legal professionals will have an upper hand when it comes to the job market today.
- Locate a Mentor
A good way to jump-start a career is by finding a mentor who has experience in the field you are interested in. A mentor will help because he can educate you on matters like job prospects, pitfalls, benefits, salary, employment outlook, and daily tasks of the profession. A mentor can be also of help when transitioning to a legal career, refer you to new clients, arm you with knowledge, and point you to new opportunities. If you are looking for a mentor, go to the local bar association. There are many law firms that have mentoring programs that assign summer interns, junior associates, and law clerks to an experienced partner or associate.
- Shadow a Legal Professional
Job Shadowing is a great career tool that many people have been able to use. This involves following in the footsteps of another professional in that field for a short period of time, this can be between one and two days. You will get the chance to know more about the realities of the legal field by observing a professional working. You get the chance to ask questions about that job, gaining a glimpse of the type of work being done, and making connections in the field. Shadowing is of benefit to the employer because they are able to scout new talent. Visit job shadowing websites and find one near you. There are some legal career schools that provide these programs.