So you want to be a lawyer - some advice from Ed Harper

Posted Friday, May 01, 2020 by Ed Harper

I recently was asked about pursuing a career in law. Here are some thoughts I provided. Pursuing a law degree is a great goal and admirable in this day and age. So first decide that you want to do this and pursue this. It is a challenge and you have to be 100% invested because it is a huge challenge. You can do it, you just have to be sold out on completing this task. Kind of like a new Marine recruit – getting through boot camp. Seeing the goal on the other side gives you the impetus to finish.

Second, ascertain what areas of law interest you. If you have always enjoyed some aspect of the corporate environment, or civic life or even the political world, may provide you with an area you can go into.

Third, try and obtain an internship or volunteer position in one of these areas of law. There are so many aspects of the law, you likely can find something or someone doing what you picture yourself doing. For example, if you want to be a litigator, and have some interest in medicine, there are law firms that focus on medical malpractice, or professional negligence within medicine. You may ask around and discover who does this and if they need a file clerk or some position you could volunteer for with them. Also, places such as the prosecutor’s office, or the public defender’s office may take volunteers too if they are not actually hiring. There is a group called the Christian Legal Society with a chapter at most law schools. Here is the email for them. CLS Seattle – that may be a good place to start and finding Christian Attorneys .

Fourth, network. Ask the law schools you are interested in and see if they have positions or a job board or volunteer board. One aspect of choosing a law school is to determine if they have a special focus on an area of law you want to pursue. Some of the law reviews are specifically tailored for a certain area of law for example. The three in state law schools are UW; Seattle U. and Gonzaga. Or you can find other law schools that may interest you. Networking can include the Wash. State Bar Assoc. the group that approves you are ready after passing the Bar Exam. They have job boards too you can check out.

Fifth, in a year of a Presidential election, the political parties will need volunteers to help run the campaigns. You can get great experience working with one of them or maybe a public interest group that has an initiative on the ballot. Just getting to know people in an area of law – it takes time but can be valuable.

Hope that helps – and just jumping in takes courage and a little focus to jump into the right area.

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Harper Law PLLC
826 6th Street South, Suite 101, Kirkland, WA 98033-6740 US
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