What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question most of us hear from an early age, and one some people ask themselves even after they’ve chosen a suitable career. Ask the question to a girl, you know, and you’ll hear the usual responses—teacher, nurse, and, of course, ballerina and princess.
Girls also want to be marine biologists, construction workers, race car drivers, and, yes, lawyers.
Women in law make powerful allies for their clients, whether it’s in the field of criminal, family, civil rights, entertainment, health, or personal injury law. In today’s post, we’re sharing tips on how women can succeed in business (corporate).
If you’re considering a law career, or know any women in law school, this is a must-read!
Secrets of Women in Law School
Before you ever approach the bench, you’ll spend approximately seven years in school. This includes four years of undergraduate work. As cute as Elle Woods is, you’ll need more than a pink ensemble and a dog named, Bruiser to get through law school.
The road to the bar exam is demanding, competitive, and stressful.
To succeed, you’ll need to treat the long lectures as quizzes that gauge how well you understand the material. Don’t procrastinate, and don’t get behind in your courses. Find a study group and connect with others who want success as much as you do.
You’ll also want to take time away from the books to socialize, especially with non-law school people. Take up a hobby. Sleep!
What do you do after law school? It’s time to choose your field.
Women in Law Mean Business
If you believe t.v, storylines, women lawyers are aggressive. They love working long hours to prepare for a good fight in the courtroom. Not all women crave high-pressure courtroom scenes.
Did you know you can have a rewarding law practice without ever setting foot in the courtroom? At least you won’t need to step into any adversarial proceedings.
Most business law work takes place outside of the courtroom. Sure, you’ll likely prepare for a few hearings here and there, but most of your days will consist of preparing contracts, helping your clients create business policy, and completing filings. If you love details, you’ll love business law and will flourish in a corporate setting.
To grow your practice, you’ll need clients, and next, we’ll share a tip on finding them.
Network Early and Often
Networking is no longer just a buzzword. It’s a critical component of career development, no matter what field you choose. Your hard-earned technical expertise won’t’ take you too far without clients, and building those relationships early on is one significant key to success.
Networking and the relationships developed as a result help lawyers win work. It’s also the way lawyers make professional connections with colleagues and potential employers.
Make the practice of building relationships a core part of your career development plan. Get started by networking with other legal graduates from your alma mater.
With over 400,000 women in law in the U.S., you’ll have plenty of camaraderies.
Cutthroat Is Not the Way to Go
You’ll find the typical underhanded behavior associated with people on their way to the top in most professions. They don’t care who they trample on the way up and show respect to no one.
It’s a dying approach. Instead, stay true to your values and respect your colleagues.
When a woman lawyer displays confidence and can be clear about their convictions, there’s no need for cutthroat. Feeling secure and confident makes it easier to open up and learn from others. Seeing success in other lawyers may feel a little intimidating, but let their success inspire you.
Don’t be afraid to share your successes as well. It’s not bragging. Women need to share in each other’s success, especially in a field that still tends toward male domination.
Focus on Communication Skills
If you’ve made it through law school, you must have some amazing communication skills, right? Even if you’re the most articulate public speaker, there’s always something new to learn.
To succeed in business law, you do need to keep your speaking skills in shape. Since you’ll likely not spend much time arguing cases in the courtroom, it’s even more crucial to have excellent written communication skills. Clear and concise writing make well-written legal documents.
Are you a good listener? If you need a good example of great listening skills, talk to one of the lawyers at 1 800 lemonlaw. They’ve mastered the art of listening and use the skills to analyze what their clients tell them so that they can offer the best advice.
Find a Sponsor
By now, you’ve heard about the importance of mentors. They help you navigate your way through the early years of practicing law. Mentors provide a needed service, and most law firms have formal mentoring programs.
Mentors can only help so much, and when it comes to career progression, you need someone who can help you focus on advancement more than development.
Having a sponsor means you have an advocate. Not that you shouldn’t advocate for yourself, but you need a person who will cast a vote in your favor when it comes to decisions made by partners about your progress.
Sponsors also offer advice about career decisions. They can guide you to make strategic choices that will further your advancement.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
If you’re contemplating a law career, or you’re thinking about changing to another field of practice, consider business law. As we mentioned, it’s face-paced, but not quite as high-stress as many other branches of law practice. We need more women in law, especially in the corporate arena.
If you’re inspired by reading this post or know someone else who might be, share it! We also invite you to check out the rest of our posts. You’ll find a variety of topics that may help you navigate your career and other decisions you need to make.