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Examining what it takes to become a lawyer in the real world

Suits, The Good Wife, and Law and Order, along with hundreds of other law films and television shows, have a certain tendency to glamorize the legal profession. Audiences are drawn to the dramatic (often inspiring) depiction of what it means to be a lawyer. Films and television shows are created to fuel the need for escapism rather than realism, resulting in a fictional, fairytale view of the profession. However, those considering a career path in law or currently embarking on one should be aware of what it takes to be a lawyer in the real world; and be warned, it takes more than a photographic memory.

Questions lead to answers. Whether you are a first year in law school or an articling student, asking questions should always be on your mind. Despite countless readings and classes, professors and employers will not expect you to know everything immediately; they do, however, expect you to ask questions. You will find as you begin to explore the world of law, that your mind will default to questioning most happenings around you; your ability to think critically will become one of your greatest assets. Lawyers, generally, are extremely knowledgeable professionals, and having devoted so much time to their profession they are often ready and willing to share their experience with their younger, less seasoned colleagues. Mentors will come in all forms; whether it’s teachers, teaching assistants, legal clerks, paralegals or attorneys, there is an abundance of knowledge to draw from in the budding phases of your legal career. Remember, they too were once in your shoes.

Work lies outside the courtroom. Ever wonder why large parts of your studies are spent reading and writing? Well, they will become two of the most important tools at your disposal. Attorneys are excellent correspondents and require an expertise in the art of verbal and written communication. During law school, the onus isn’t necessarily on volume, but in habituating yourself to conducting lengthy and detailed research. Having an analytical mind and the tenacity to find the answers you need is essential to the practice of law. You may never set foot inside a courtroom; many legal practitioners don’t. However, having a solid understanding of how to conduct and apply research will be indispensable in whichever field of law you might find yourself practicing.

Law is not a solitary practice. Lawyers work with and on the behalf of people, and therefore the decisions they make have a wide range of effects. Being able to gauge, understand, and connect with your client allows you to decide on the best approach for the best outcome. Your ability to empathize and work within the structure of a team will also aid you along your career path. On screen, attorneys are conveyed as solitary heroes; however, most cases require the work of a cohesive team. Teamwork engenders trust and loyalty, two qualities which will hold you in good stead throughout your studies and career.
Becoming a lawyer can be an arduous task and requires a great deal of commitment and financial investment. Yes, you probably won’t be living the glamorized life portrayed on television, but you will be in a position unique to practitioners in the legal field to help others. Lawyers can focus on either one or several areas, allowing for a varied, interesting, and rewarding profession. Here at Sicotte Guilbault we specialize in Business Law, Personal Injury, Real Estate, Employment Law and much more. Our diverse team is made up of courteous and approachable individuals who work hard to provide you with peace of mind.

by: Martin Robertson - Lawyer
posted on: September 23, 2019