How Prior Employment Can Help You in Your Legal Employment

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Prior employment, even in a non-law-related career, provides legal professionals with greater maturity to handle the rigors of legal employment. By having experience or training in a trade, you can claim that you are particularly suited for any related legal field. Here is a sample of not necessarily law-related trades that, for the most part, can be learned at a vocational school and that could benefit you in your legal career.
  • Health Care Law
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury and Insurance Defense
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Transcription
  • Biological Technology
  • Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic
  • Health Information Technology-Medical Records
  • Communications and Telecommunications Law/Litigation Skills and Exhibits
  • Radio/Television Broadcasting
  • Visual Communication Technology: Graphic Arts/Printing
  • Visual Communication Technology: Photography-Television
  • General Law and Skills of Use around a Law Office
  • Computer Information Technology
  • Office Technology/Secretarial Science-Clerk Typist
  • Office Technology/Secretarial Science-Executive
  • Office Technology/Secretarial Science-Legal
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Administration
  • Management
  • Employee Benefits and Payroll
  • Juvenile Justice and Family Law
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Therapists and Counselors
  • Business/Civil Litigation
  • Computer Information Technology
  • Accounting
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Heating and Ventilation
  • Automotive/Mechanical Training
  • Biological Technology
  • Business Financial Services
  • Fashion Buying and Merchandising
  • Small Business Management
  • Tooling and Machining
  • Construction and Carpentry
  • Civil Technology: Plane Surveying
  • Manufacturing Technological-Robotics/Automation
  • Construction and Carpentry
  • Criminal Justice: Corrections Administration
  • Criminal Justice: Police
  • Law Enforcement
  • Law Office Management'
  • Human Services
  • Food Industry Management
  • Food Service Administration
  • Marketing
  • Interior Design
  • Small Business Management
  • Retail Business Management
  • Any experience or training in management
  • Environmental Law and Intellectual Property
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Electro-Optics Technology
  • Fire Protection Technology
  • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning
  • Hotel Technology
  • Industrial Instrumentation Technology
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Chemical Technology
  • Civil Technology
  • Construction Technology
  • International Law
  • International Business
At the very least, experience or training in a trade wall provide you with better comprehension of the business concerns and customs in your community, as encountered by clients. Because the practice of law involves any and all subject matters, any trade that you have learned, or skill that you have acquired can probably be used to enhance your marketability in the legal profession so that you will be a more desirable candidate than those with no experience, depending upon an employer’s particular needs and preferences.

Getting In and Moving Up

If you want to help people and promote justice, a professional legal career may be for you.

Characteristics of a successful legal professional include:
  1. A penchant for working pursuant to rules.
  2. A desire to bring honor to the profession.
  3. A love of reading, writing, and analyzing.
  4. Superb attention to detail.
  5. Nerves of steel with perseverance to match.
  6. The ability to multitask.
  7. Amazing communication skills.
Legal professionals should constantly strive to increase their credentials, even if unemployed. The higher the salary you seek, the longer it usually takes to find employment. The most important activities you should participate in are those that will increase your marketability.

Activities to consider participating in while looking for employment, include:
  • contract work
  • political work
  • law-related volunteer work
  • writing articles and other publication efforts
  • temporary work
  • classes on Law-related software
  • attendance at political, alumni, and charity galas
  • involvement in professional association activities
  • continuing education classes
  • investigating whether alternative education may be of use
As a legal professional you should utilize your free time so that you are able to foster your professional development. You should have the goals and objectives during your first four years in the profession that may include the following, which should be tailored to your particular profession:
  • Learn about your legal community, key players, applicable state laws, and licensure requirements.

  • Take courses part time to hone up on the skills you will need to be a success in your profession.

  • Increase your computer proficiency.

  • Learn all you can about your employer and its employees. Review all manuals and policy memos.

  • Invest in literature and courses regarding time management. If you must generate billable hours, then budget them and monitor your progress over the year.

  • Organize your calendar and telephone directory.

  • Decorate your office and acquire an appropriate wardrobe.

  • Read any Literature or periodicals or newspapers related to your employ ment. This should include a subscription to the state bar journal and any other trade journals or journals that relate to the areas of law with which you must deal.

  • Read and subscribe to one or two publications covering news of your profession.

  • Investigate certification opportunities for your profession and strive toward attaining certifications.

  • Volunteer to assist at firm functions, bar functions, and with other legal organizations in your community.

  • Join any local and national professional organizations applicable to your job.

  • Volunteer to do research, design, or drafting for the firm newsletter.
Year Two
  • Acquire at least one certification and take more courses applicable to the specifics of your profession.
  • Learn client operations and procedures and read about industry developments to keep current.
  • Enhance or continue the prior year's activities.
  • Add to your volunteer activities and seek board memberships.
  • Join another organization in the area of your specialization.
  • Acquire an additional certification.
  • Complete a two-year associate program this year related to your profession.
  • Enhance or continue prior years' activities.
Year Four
  • Serve on a committee of a professional organization.
  • Write an article in your specialty.
  • Plan to add another professional committee or take more responsibility for your current one in the next year.
  • Write for the firm newsletter.
  • Volunteer to be a mentor for a new staff member.
  • Reevaluate your career options and where you are headed.
  • Evaluate the status of your educational endeavors and finish the acquisition of a degree.
  • Enhance or continue prior years' activities.
A Few Key Points to Remember
  • Before committing to a legal education or career, get some experience and training through curriculum courses and extracurricular activities, internships, temporary work, and volunteer activities.

  • Use your past employment history or training to your benefit.

  • While employed and unemployed, use your free time to gain more experience and familiarity with your legal community and increase your marketability.

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