Are you looking to start your own law firm after law school?
You may be wondering if law school will prepare you to start your own law firm.
The answer is: It can, but you may have to make it a priority to seek out such learning experiences yourself.
In general, law school is theoretical. While practice is, well, practical. While there are some courses, such as internship classes that allow you to get practical experience, or a clinic, that tends to be the majority of “real experience” students get from law school.
The good news about this realization is that you can make it a priority to seek real attorney skills that will (a) help you start your own firm after law school or (b) really set you apart from other students and job applicants if you choose to seek a traditional job route.
So you may be wondering what you can do in law school to prepare for the “real world” practice of law. Here are our suggestions:
- First, look into the clinics your law school offers and strongly consider participating. They are often time intensive, and thus require students to make time for them in their schedule because while they are participating in the clinic they cannot take as many other traditional law school courses. We recommend you take clinics even if you are not particularly interested in the topic of the clinic. All law school clinics should teach you a good amount about client interaction, research, and practical aspects of practicing law.
- Secondly, make finding an internship that offers real experience a priority. Some schools offer credit for certain types of internships. This could be a legal internship or a clerkship. We strongly encourage this route as this will show you what the true day-to-day life of a lawyer is like.
- Third, take your legal research and writing course seriously. Writing is one of the most important skills you can have as an attorney Don’t save your assignments for the last minute and just hope to “get by.” Rather, actually learn how to write a memo and make sure you understand the basics of legal research. These skills will take you far! Focus on them and seek to develop them.
- Fourth, seek a wide variety of attorney skills. In addition to signing up for courses that will teach you how to write, sign up for courses that will teach you to litigate, mediate, and settle cases. Sign up for moot court or trial advocacy. Even if you do not want to be a litigator, it is a good idea to get some hands-on training in arguing. Look into taking a mediation or negotiation course. You will often learn a combination of theory and practice in these courses.
- Fifth, develop connections in and outside of law school. Whether you are looking to start your own law firm right after law school (or a few years down the line), you will quickly learn that connections are invaluable. Not only should you develop connections with classmates and the staff at your law school, you should also develop connections outside of the legal field. Your network will be a valuable resource for you.