The ABA……ugh….an organization of and for old lawyers. Really? That’s what I thought, too, when I was your age.
For most of us just starting out in law, the American Bar Association (ABA) represents an organization that holds meetings in desirable locations, rates lawyers (for better or for worse based on sometimes questionable criteria) and approves far too many new law schools for today’s professional needs. We always are glad if a law firm is paying our annual ABA membership dues because we cannot see how any of what the ABA does benefits us.
However, that is much too limited a view, and here’s why.
In addition to the many other functions of the ABA, it also produces useful publications to assist young lawyers in practice. I recently read about some of these publications on the ABA web site, and they are important enough to share with you.
Starting with 100-Plus Pointers for New Lawyers on Adjusting to Your Job, which addresses a wide gamut of issues from working with a new boss to quick fixes for the copy machine, these books are worth the read. One of my favorites is The Marble and the Sculptor, a thoughtful and no-nonsense treatment of the path from law school to law practice. Just reading about the five basic mistakes in your first job at a law firm—-and how to avoid them—-is definitely worth your time.
For practical and valuable advice on the complexities and demands of law practice, take a look at Thrive: A New Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Practice. Not only will you find down-to-earth survival advice, but you also will find tips on how to become a law firm leader.
If you are questioning the values of the profession, A Life in the Law: Advice for Young Lawyers is for you. Read about what has inspired lawyers in the past, and what can inspire you, as well. It should remind you of my article on The Law School Decision on the University of Michigan career web site.
Another favorite of mine is Building Your Ladder: An Associate’s Guide to Success Beyond Partnership. It addresses the changing profiles of law firms and fills in the mentorship gaps that law firms are experiencing as they hire fewer associates and try to survive the recession. In addition, there are also some interesting publications that are specific to litigation and other specialties.
Although I understand that you do not have time to devour all of these resources at one time, especially when you are trying to survive law school and the first years of law practice, I want you to know where to find them when you need them. Most of them can be downloaded from the ABA web site.
So, mark those that appeal to you among your Favorites, and happy reading—when the time is right! And, when you are finished with all that, check out the Q and A at the ABA web site for law students and new lawyers. So much to do!