Graduating from law school is a great honor. Practicing law and defending the rights of your fellow citizens is one of the prestigious professions in the United States. You should celebrate your graduation. Spend some time relaxing and unwinding from the grind of your studies.
After the celebration is over, you'll find yourself ready to practice family law. There's one problem, however: you're left wondering what to do next.
For every new family law attorney, there's a moment of panic that sets in once reality takes hold. You realize that you need new clients and that those new clients you get are counting on you to fight for their rights.
Before you hit the panic button, here are some things to expect as a family law attorney.
You'll Realize That You Don't Know Everything
One of the hardest things for a new attorney to accept is that they don't know everything. In fact, there's a good chance that you won't know most things. It's a harsh reality, but it's the nature of the beast.
Family law is an immense study. It is impossible to learn a majority of it during law school unless you're a wunderkind. What you do learn, however, is how to find the information you need.
Knowing where to look for information is as important as the information itself. For your first year, rely on mentors to help you navigate choppy waters. If you are going into private practice, get an experienced legal assistant. Never, under any circumstances, believe that you don't need to continue honing your craft.
You Need To Make Friends With The Court Staff
New attorneys often spend so much time getting new clients that they forget to network. One of the most important relationships to develop as a young attorney is with court clerks. The clerks are there to help you access the judiciary. They know the judges and provide insight into how to approach them. Become friends with the court staff if you want to make your job as easy as possible.
The Best Family Law Attorneys Are Always Prepared
There is no such thing as an "easy" family court case. Never go into a case believing that you can fly by the seat of your pants.
Remember, your actions are a reflection of your client as well as yourself. It's reckless to put yourself at risk by not preparing; it's destructive and immoral to put your clients in a compromising position.
Preparation is what makes a good lawyer great. If you want to be at the top of your field, treat every case as if you're representing yourself. You'll increase your productivity and get the word of mouth advertising every family law attorney needs.
You Need To Develop An Online Presence
If you need new clients for your private practice, you have to build an online presence.
There are a few ways to do this. First, start a webpage with a blog. People search for legal advice all the time. If you're the person that gives potential clients the information they need, they're likely to hire you instead of someone else.
Next, invest in search engine optimization. SEO is cheap and continues to show results long after you stop using it. Attracting more people to your webpage increases the number of clients you have and boosts your search engine ranking, creating a snowball effect.
Third, sign up for advice websites and spend an hour a day answering questions. You need to establish your expertise. It doesn't matter if you know your smart if potential clients don't know that you're an expert.
You Should Always Have An Investigator Handy
When most people picture a private investigator, they imagine a Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade type character. In reality, PI's are digital warriors now, able to locate witnesses, find weaknesses in your client to prepare them for examination, and pull financial records.
If you have a case that seems like a longshot, hire a private investigator. It's amazing what they can do for your client.
No matter how long you practice the law, you'll always find something new to discover. Instead of letting this challenge overwhelm you, embrace it. Continue to advance your knowledge and build your brand, and you'll be a successful family law attorney before you know it.
If you need help finding information to help your practice grow, check out our career blog. It's loaded with articles that cover an entire range of topics to help you out.