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What Law School Doesn’t Teach You But You Really Need To Know

July 13, 2007

In the middle of some crisis or another I was facing as a first year associate, I happened to glance over at my bookshelf. I noticed that a book seemed to be calling to me……hinting that help was near at hand. I had completely forgotten that I owned the book. Someone had kindly donated it to me when I was a summer associate–or maybe they felt like I needed some help.

Anyway, the book is called, “What Law School Doesn’t Teach You But You Really Need To Know.” To my genuine surprise and delight, there was an entire chapter entitled “Handling Things You Don’t Want to Handle: Mistakes, Too Much Work, Chimp Work, Ethical Issues, and Sexual Harassment.”

I had just done the unthinkable: I made a mistake. I tell you now, it was awful. I felt like my life was over. How had I ever graduated law school? Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer after all. How could anyone ever trust me again? Other people don’t make mistakes, do they!?

So a chapter on how to handle mistakes was just what the doctor ordered (along with a sedative, perhaps, and some anti anxiety medicine).

I have stopped punishing myself for my mistake, but I will never ever forget it. Older and perhaps a little wiser, I am convinced that you learn so much from your (unfortunately inevitable) mistakes that they are a crucial part of your development as an attorney.

You too can learn from my mistake: Whether you are a summer associate, law clerk, or you are gearing up for your first year as an associate, you would be well advised to obtain a copy of this handy dandy reference guide.

As a lawyer you need to arm yourself with good information. A successful career is not a matter of luck. Instead, it depends on knowing exactly what to do and what not to do.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. brndnsbruceesq permalink
    July 15, 2007 3:11 pm

    So far you have been my reference guide, (and that has turned out well) but I’ll take a look at the book. Thanks for the helpful tip.

  2. April 14, 2008 9:03 pm

    Get a good handle on the application of the rules. You need to be able to understand the method for figuring out deadlines. A simple mistake can cost you a case. Check out for your guide to calculating dates and research rules. Very handy site!

  3. jocelyn g permalink
    April 14, 2008 9:06 pm

    Great tip!

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