My Last Lecture: More Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers
25 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2015 Last revised: 28 Mar 2016
I was invited to write this essay on the occasion of my retirement, following in the footsteps of my former colleague, Steve Easton, who wrote a wonderful article, My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers. My essay supplements Steve’s article with additional advice about law school and legal practice.
This article is based, in part, on interviews with highly respected lawyers around the country. It is suitable for students and lawyers in many different courses, orientations, and CLE programs.
The article advises students to get the most possible benefit from law school by paying attention to what’s really important, learning to learn, and not doing dumb things.
It advises lawyers to understand themselves and others by focusing on their clients, being careful about making assumptions, recognizing the importance of emotions (especially their own emotions), and understanding others’ perspectives.
It also recommends that lawyers develop good judgment and routines by paying attention to what’s really important, considering what help clients need, developing good relationships with counterpart lawyers, preparing to resolve matters at the earliest appropriate time, being prepared to negotiate much more than they may expect, recognizing that they actually are mediating when they represent clients, being persistent and creative when dealing with problems, and being prepared to advocate hard and smart as necessary.
The article concludes by encouraging lawyers to recognize both the good and harm that they can do as lawyers and wishing them great fulfillment from helping others.
Keywords: legal education, legal practice, lawyering skills, communication, emotions, negotiation, problem-solving, advocacy, career planning, continuing education
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