Some of the things that have interested me are:
- What makes a good attorney?
- Why law schools matter?
- And the important things that law firms and others should look for when hiring.
I've been in the legal industry about 20 years, and focused on the legal recruiting and legal job search space for approximately 15 years. I've worked with thousands of attorneys looking for jobs; I've employed at least 100 attorneys myself and I've maintained a law practice for several years. I review hundreds of resumes per day and have owned and operated several successful companies in the legal recruitment and legal job search space.
Here are some important characteristics of the best attorneys. I provide this list for both employers and also for those attorneys seeking to fit into this list.
- The Ability to Identify With Different Types of People
The best attorneys are typically not elitist. People without a lot of self-confidence will often use their position as an attorney as something to put themselves on a pedestal. The best attorneys are interested in identifying with lots of different types of people and are able to do so. In many respects, the ability to identify with many types of people is a measure of the attorney's self-confidence because the attorney does not necessarily need to be anything special.
Many attorneys who have elite educational backgrounds and start their careers in large law firms are surrounded by others who are doing work for large corporations with huge budgets. Many of these lawyers have very little client contact and live in a world where they believe they are "holier than thou" and conduct themselves with a sense of entitlement that comes from being coddled and isolated. Unfortunately, clients disappear, circumstances and the economy can change and all sorts of unfortunate situations can happen to attorneys in large law firms. If an attorney is isolated and does not learn how to deal with a diverse group of individuals, they cannot be good attorneys over the long term.
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LawCrossing Fact #119: Economic uncertainty lies ahead, or so say an increasing number of experts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the job you want now!
Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.