Never Stop Learning and Growing
After four years of undergraduate schooling and another three of law school, you might be thinking to yourself, “That’s it. I’m done learning anything new.” Sadly, you couldn’t be more wrong. As you embark on your legal career, you will find yourself constantly learning and growing professionally, but you should not leave your continuing education to just daily practice and experience. As a matter of fact, you should be actively looking for learning opportunities that expose you to other lawyers, practices and cases. These types of opportunities are usually best gained through organized educational opportunities, but can be found in a myriad of formats. You simply have to look for the opportunities to learn and grow as a legal professional.
Now, at this point, you may be ready to stop reading. Don’t! You are probably thinking to yourself that you already have too much on your plate, ranging from clients, cases, trials, discovery. Perhaps your law firm is successfully growing and gaining the traction you need. Your networking and marketing strategies are successful, you have a steady stream of clients and your bank account is more than cushy. These are all excellent things, absolutely, but if you stop challenging yourself now, your success will only last a little while.
One of the greatest weaknesses of any lawyer and his or her practice is what I like to call the “high/low cycle.” If your practice is running as successfully as I mentioned above, then you are on the “high cycle” right now. Everything’s great and you are busy in all the right ways. But if you let that “high” and business control all your time, you will shortly enter a “low cycle.” Simply put, if you don’t allocate any time for your own professional development and growth, your practice will falter rather than grow and your “high” success will slow into a “low” trickle of mediocre business.
Continue the High Cycle
So what, you may ask, should you do to ensure a continuous “high cycle”? The answer to that is very simple: Don’t Let Work and Your Busy Schedule Stop You from Learning.
Never Stop Learning
Never let your work interfere with your learning. Yes, we all get busy. I am sure you have many days where you don’t know where the time has gone and can’t imagine how you will ever get your work done. Just remember this simple truth: we make time for the what we deem important and make excuses to avoid things we do not value. Don’t make the mistake of assigning little or no value to your continuing education as a lawyer.
Make learning and growing a priority no matter how busy you get. Attend your yearly CLEs as a start, but don’t stop there. That’s the bare minimum. Go above and beyond by challenging yourself. Read case studies. Research other lawyers’ websites and blogs for advice, inspiration and instruction. Join online institutes or take periodic classes. You don’t have to be a full-time student in the traditional sense to continue learning and growing; just be a student of your profession each and every day from the little details of your practice to the instruction you receive from a podcast or online class.
At the end of the day, if you take the time to do all of this, I can promise you one thing for sure: by making learning and growth a priority, your practice will continue to grow and you will not only more easily avoid the “high/low” cycles of business, but you will become the best of the best in what you do.
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h