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1.Howwasyourexpectationofthiscareerpathdifferentthantherealityofbeingalawyer?

ThereweremanyhurdlesthatIdidnotexpect.Inordertobecomealawyer,Icompletedmy
undergraduatedegree,wentthroughanapplicationprocess,andthenwenttothreeyearsoflaw
school.Lawschoolwasreallycompetitiveandsometimesreallyhard!Ihadtospendmuchmore
timestudyingthanIeverhadbefore.

Then,aftercompletinglawschool,IhadtostartstudyingforthebarexaminMay,tookthebarexam
inJuly,andthengotresultsinNovember.Inmycase,Ididn'tpassthebarthefirsttimeItookit,
retookitinFebruary,andthengotresultsthefollowingMay,andgot"swornin"topracticelawin
JuneoverayearafterIfinishedschool!

WhileIwasfortunatetohaveajobinthemeantime,Istillstruggledalittlefinanciallyandwasnot
hiredasanattorneyuntilIwasswornin,andthenthingsgoteasier.

Anotherhurdlewasbridgingthegapfromtheorytopractice.Whatyoulearninschooldoesnot
alwaystranslateintoworkskillsonthejob.Inordertoaddressthis,Ibelievenewlawyersneed
goodmentorswhocanshowthemhowtofiledocumentsincourt,researchthelaw,andidentifythe
issuespeoplehaveincases.Also,workingwithclientscanbechallenging,andyouneedtolearn
howtohandlemanydifferentpersonalitytypes.

2.Inyouropinion,howhasthefieldofLawchangedovertime?

Thelegalfieldiscurrentlyundergoingmanychanges.Whentheeconomycrashedin20072008,
traditionallawfirmswereunderalotoffinancialpressure.Manypeoplewerefiredasfirmscut
back.Thetraditionalpathinalawfirmistobeanassociateandeventuallybecomeapartner.Many
firmsstoppedhiringassociates,whichcreatedabigpoolofunemployedlawyers.Asaresult,
governmentandpublicinterestjobsandfellowshipshavegottenmorecompetitive.Thishasalso
causedlawfirmstorethinkthewaysinwhichtheysavemoney.

Ahugedevelopmentinthelegalfieldistheuseoftechnology.Whenyouthinkaboutit,thewaysin
whichwecommunicatewitheachotherthathavechangedimpactthewaysinwhichlawyersand
clientscancommunicate.Forexample,videoconferencenowconnectslawyerstoclientsinrural
areas.Somelawyerschargeasmallfeeforrespondingtoemailswithlegaladvice.Otherlawyers
aresellingformsonlineforthingspeopleneedinfamilylawcases(separationagreements,divorce
documents,etc.)Ifyoudoagooglesearch,you'llfindcompanieslikeLegalZoomthatmakethese
documentsavailableforasmallfee.Inshort,lawyersarefindingwaystousetechnologyandthe
internettogetmoreclientsandmakemoneyonsmallitems,likedocuments.

3.Inyouropinion,howdoyouexpectorthinkthefieldofLawwillchange?

Ithinkthatthetraditionallawfirmmodelisgettingweaker,particularlyastechnologyevolves.
Anotherrecentdevelopmentistheuseofcasemanagementsoftware.GoogleCLIOandMyCase.
Thesearewebsitesthatlawyerscanuseinsteadofphysicalfilingcabinets.Inshort,lawyersdonot
reallyneedtohaveanofficetorepresentsomeone,aslongastheyhavethesetoolstokeepthe
documentsandcanmeetpeopleinpublicplaces,suchaslibrariesandcourtconferencerooms.
Somelawfirmsareevengoing"paperless."

Ofcourse,someareaswillalwaysbetraditionalbecausecorporatebusinessclientsmaywanttobe
inaconferenceroom,facetofacewiththeirattorneys.However,Ibelievethattheideaoflower
overheadcosts(lessmoneyforofficespace,betteruseoftechnology)willmakethatlesscommon.

Finally,otherfieldsoflaw,suchaspublicsectorworklikeState'sAttorneyswhobringcriminal
caseschangewhensocietychanges.Thesefieldsaresubjecttochangesinthelawsthemselves.
Toillustrate,druglawsusedtobeverystrong,particularlyinplaceslikeNewYorkCitywhere
peoplecouldgotojailforhavingverysmallamountsofadrugintheirpossession.Thisareahas
undergonealotofreform,andnowsomestateshavelegalizedmedicalmarijuana.Astheseareas
change,theroleofthelawyerchanges.That'swhyitisimportanttokeepyourselfintunewithhow
legislationchanges.Somestatesrequireyoutodothisbyattending"continuinglegaleducation"
classes,whicharelikeextralawschoolseminars.Otherstates,likemystate(Maryland)just
suggestthatyoudothis.Ithinkit'ssomethingeverylawyershoulddo!

4.Whatisyourdailyroutine/scheduleasalawyer?

Iusuallyarriveatworkaround9am.Iamalitigatorandapublicinterestattorney,soIhavecases
goingoninstateandfederalcourts.AlotofwhatIdodependsonwhatcasesIhavegoingonatthe
moment,sincethecourthasverystrictdeadlines.IfImissadeadline,Icouldbeinverybigtrouble,
socourtdeadlinesinfluencemyroutinealot.Ialsoreviewnewcasesfrequently,somyschedule
changesifwedecidetobringsomeonein.Iamalsodoingsomelobbyingworkthisyear,sothat
meansIamgoingdowntoourstategovernmentofficestotestifyonbillhearings.Eachyear,bills
areproposedthatchangethelaws,andsoIgobeforerepresentativesandtalkaboutwhetherwe
supportoropposethechanges.Inshort,myschedulechangesalot.

5.Howmanyhoursandhowmucheffortdoyouputintoyourjob?

Iworkabout810hoursperday,andsometimesatnightwhenIamreallyinterestedinacase,or
whenIhavetogetalegalmemoorbriefdoneforcourt.Ilikeworkinghard,anddon'thaveany
childrenyet,sothismaychangewhenmylifechanges.

6.Whataresomethingsyouwishedyouknewaboutthecareerofalawyerbeforeyoubegantopursue
thisprofession?

Thereareacoupleofthings:
lawschoolwasexpensiveandIhavestudentloans.IwishIhadsavedalittlemoremoneybeforeI
wenttolawschoolinpreparationforthetimewhenIgraduatedandhadtostudyforthebar.That
wasalittlestressful.

Beingalawyercanbeverystressful.1outof4lawyershaveproblemswithdepressionand
alcohol.Itisreallyimportanttohavework/lifebalance.Ihandlethisbymakingsuretotaketimefor
friendsandfamily,andexercising.

Somuchofwhatyoulearnisonthejobtraining.Ilearnmorefrommentorsandolderattorneys
thanIeverlearnedinlawschool.IfIknewthatthen,Iwouldn'thavestressedoutsomuchaboutmy
grades!

7.Inyouropinion,whatweresomeofthedifficultobstaclesyouhadtofaceinyourjourneytobecominga
lawyer?

Moneywasanissue,likeImentionedabove.Also,mymostdifficultobstaclewasgaining
confidenceinmywork.Itishardtomeasureyourselfagainstotherattorneysbecauselawyersdo
notliketoshowweakness.Thiscanbeintimidatingbecauseyoumightthink"amIdoingthisright?
AmIgoodenough?"Atsomepoint,Irealizedthatmyworkdidnotmattertootherpeople.It
mattersmosttomyclients.NowImeasuremyselfbythatstandardandithasmademealotmore
confident.

8.Whatareyourresponsibilities/tasksyoucompleteasalawyer?

Iinterviewpotentialclientstoseeiftheyhavegoodcases,thenIresearchthelawtoseeifwecan
successfullysueintheirnameordefendtheminalawsuit,thenIgotocourtandattendhearings
andtrialsonbehalfofmyclients,andfinallyIdoalotofresearchandwritingtosubmitpleadings,
briefs,memos,andotherinformationtothecourts.
Ialsodoalittlelobbyingwork,likeImentionedabove
Isuperviselawclerksandworkwithothermembersofmyorganizationonnonprofitprograms
Inetworkwithotherlawyersandadvocatesonissuesthatwethinkareimportant,suchasbetter
rightsforconsumers(abigareaweworkinishousingrights).

9.Doyouenjoythiscareer/professioninLawyouchose?Why?

Ilovebeingalawyersbecauseitisaperfectmatchformypersonality.Ilikehelpingpeoplesolve
theirlegalproblemsandenjoyinteractingwithclientsandotherattorneys.Ialsothinkthecareer
offersalotofflexibilityforthefuture.Youdonothavetobealitigatorasalawyeryoucanwork
forthegovernmentoranonprofitorganization,beinhousecounselforabusinessandofferlegal
adviceonbusinessdeals,draftcontractsinrealestateortopurchasethings,orjustuseyourJuris
Doctoratedegreetogetanentirelydifferenttypeofjobbecauseitisawellrespecteddegree.Ilove
havingsomanyoptionsformyfuturebecauseIthinkitmeansIcanhaveaveryfulfillingcareer.

10.Inyouropinion,whataresomeofthebestwaystoprepareforacareerinLaw?

Ithinkyoushouldworkonbeingdetailorientedbecauselawyersneedtopickapartmanyfactsand
learninformationquicklytowintheircases.Youcandothisbydevelopingcriticalreadingskills.
Youshouldalsoworkonbeingagoodwriter.Agoodlawyerneedsgoodcommunicationskillsin
generalbecauseyouneedtoconvincethejudgeortheothersidethatyouareright.

Also,yourundergraduatedegreedoesnothavetobestereotypical.Alotofpeoplewhoplantobe
lawyersstudypoliticalscienceandphilosophy(that'swhatIdid.)However,thereisahugeneedfor
patentattorneysrightnow,andyoucanonlybeone(withfewexceptions)ifyoustudyhard
sciences,likechemistry,biology,andengineering.Mypointisthatyoucanpickasubjectthat
you'regoodatandstillendupinlawbecauseyoucanbewhatevertypeoflawyerpracticesor
knowsaboutthatfield(ex:studyingarchitecture,youcouldendupasaconstructionlawyer
becausetheabilitytopracticelawisgoingtocomefromlawschoolandyourworkexperience,
ratherthancollege.)