As of November 2021, the average salary for lawyers in the United States was $161,270.
But becoming a successful lawyer involves more than just how much money you make. While money is a huge help with living expenses, defining what success means to you is what will help give you the will to keep going when times get tough.
Whether you’ve just started law school or are a lawyer looking for more satisfaction and meaning in your career, it’s never too early (or too late) to define what becoming a successful lawyer means to you.
Unsure of where to start? Here are 7 tips for becoming a successful lawyer to get your ideas started.
Goal setting doesn’t stop after you finish law school and pass the Bar Exam. To keep yourself on track with where you want to be in your career, you should keep setting goals and revisit them every year to see if you need to change anything.
You also want to define success for yourself and what it means to you. Does it mean a high salary? Helping disadvantaged people? Or mastering a specific area of law?
No matter what stage in your career you’re at, ask yourself where you want to be in five years.
Then, work backward to figure out how you will achieve this by breaking the steps down into monthly and weekly tasks.
This will help you stay on track with your goals without getting overwhelmed.
One of the top lawyer tips is to make sure that you stay organized throughout the day, especially if you’re keeping track of billable hours.
Once you get into the office, sit down and take note of your daily tasks. Then, add in two or three tasks that will help you get closer to your goals in between your daily legal tasks.
Try to limit distractions like unscheduled calls, non-urgent emails, and even texting on your cell phone so you can get more work done.
Another way to keep your day organized is to make sure you’re using the right legal tools to help you save time during the workday.
While it may be tempting to answer all your emails while having your cup of coffee first thing in the morning, it’s best to answer your most urgent emails and then move straight into your most difficult tasks.
This way, you’ll have more energy to work on them and will have time to phone or email someone if you need more information.
You also don’t want to leave the most difficult tasks for the end of the day because you don’t know how long they might take.
Not only could this mean a long day at the office, but you could miss important deadlines and risk your professional reputation.
Becoming a lawyer with a fulfilling career involves building a strong legal network.
Not only can the colleagues in your network give you advice if you feel stuck or run into a problem, but they can introduce you to new job opportunities, help you get clients, and show you important career resources.
Make sure you attend any legal networking events in your area. These can be run by your local bar association, lawyer social groups, or your network of law school classmates who still keep in touch.
Whether you’ve just started your law firm or are branching out, the right legal clients are essential to making your law firm a satisfying place to work.
Keep in mind that having lots of clients doesn’t mean they’re right for your practice. To get an idea of your ideal client, ask yourself these questions:
Finding the right clients also involves working on your client communication skills so you can avoid potential misunderstandings (and client dissatisfaction).
One of the best legal tips for new lawyers is to use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn, improve, and grow.
It’s inevitable that you will have to deal with a difficult case or client sooner or later. And since we’re all human and do make mistakes (especially at the beginning of our careers), it’s important not to let those mistakes define us.
Keep in mind how many successful professionals kept going even though they faced setbacks and hardships.
Not only will learning from your mistakes help you grow as a person and as a professional, but it will help you better deal with stressful situations when they come up.
Between sitting at your desk, dealing with demanding clients, and working long hours, it’s vital that you make developing healthy habits a priority.
Some things you can do to maintain your mental and physical health include:
While it’s tempting to keep working and take on those late-night projects, you won’t reach any level of success if your well-being suffers.
So to do the best job possible, keep your health a priority, even if that means advancing your career a little more slowly.
Whether becoming a successful lawyer means making a difference in clients’ lives or opening a well-known law firm, finding your definition of success can give a huge boost to your career satisfaction.
And one of the best ways to get started with being a successful lawyer today is to keep your law practice efficient while keeping clients happy.
With Sibrevis’ real-time client communication platform, you can upload legal documents and dates so clients can easily stay informed on their cases.
To learn more about how we can help you make your law practice more efficient, contact us today.