How Much Does Experience Matter in the Legal World?

What Does a Defense Attorney Do?
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With the quarantine in place, more people are discovering the legal drama Suits, and perhaps, getting inspired to consider becoming a lawyer. Many in the legal profession know this show, and more than a few law school freshmen credit the show for their decision to pursue a jurisprudence career.

But like any work of fiction, the world of Suits is far from the reality that actual attorneys go through.

One of the main characters in the series is a law school dropout. Despite his lack of credentials, he is allowed to work at a prestigious law firm, because of his incredible photographic memory. Much of the show’s premise revolves around the fact that, despite his professional illegitimacy, he still proves to be the kind of asset a law firm needs.

But let’s be clear here: The show obviously doesn’t promote the idea that anyone can practice law without a license. If anything, doing so is considered a criminal offense in all 50 states. For one, practicing law involves numerous requirements, the most significant of which is experience.

Experience is very important

It’s one thing to have uncanny powers of deduction, but it is still imperative to know how the law itself works. There are steps and processes you need to understand so you can represent clients accurately and avoid any technical mistakes that can cost money or even your client’s freedom.

Law firms today have raised the bar when it comes to selecting associates for very specific areas. According to Stokes Stemle, LLC, for them it is typical practice to accept attorneys already experienced in the particular area of car crash litigation in Montgomery, Alabama.

Many other firms share the same requirement. At times, the selection process could take months or even years since firms need to find the right people to turn into partners. A lack of experience could not be easily disguised.

Law work experience can get you far ahead. It’s a grueling process, but it’s something that pays off handsomely if you can persist despite how much revenue you bring into the firm. You have to do a lot of pro-bono work, serve support functions, and build networks the right way. It takes all of these skills to earn a partnership.

Indeed, the road towards a successful career in the legal profession does not rely on skills alone. These skills just come along as you make the journey. It’s unlikely for anyone to have the same gift as people on TV shows, but talented individuals will still need to climb the ladder.

Making the most of summer associates

So, how can you gain law work experience early on? The secret lies in your experience as a summer associate. It doesn’t really matter which firm you end up with; you only have to prove to everyone else that you are intent on building a meaningful career in law.

If you’re taking up a summer associate program this year, you need to make the most out of it by asking questions, taking down notes, and delegating tasks to you by your supervisor. You should be able to learn everything you can so you can graduate, pass the bar, and start making a name for yourself!

The skills will follow. All you need to do now is to work hard and become a real lawyer — and not a fictional one!

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