Are you ever curious about another aspect of law?
Do you feel as though you are not able to pursue this curiosity because of your current work?
I shared these feelings as a young attorney. During my first two years of practice, my firm needed me to spend a large chunk of time working with clients on issues regarding intellectual property. The bulk of my work consisted of sharing advice on clients’ trademark concerns and filing hundreds of trademark applications.
Despite doing great work, I had always wanted to try out another aspect of law. I wanted to experience the courtroom.
I approached the partners at my firm and requested to be staffed on IP litigation matters. They understood that as a young lawyer, I was curious about different practice areas in the legal profession. The partners assigned time for me to collaborate with IP litigators on their cases, while I still did my previous work. The more I litigated, the more I liked it.
What did I do to develop my litigation skills?
I took several CLE courses on civil procedure and trial advocacy. I took on pro bono cases representing both plaintiffs and defendants. I volunteered with the federal court in Chicago to litigate on behalf of parties who needed representation in court. I joined an Illinois State Bar Association committee that emphasized best practices to litigate civil matters.
I was soon trying cases and prosecuting and defending appellate court matters. The partners at my firm took notice and I received a substantial salary increase due, in large part, to my efforts to broaden my practice.
I think it is critical to keep an open mind and be willing to test the waters with new practice areas. The needs of clients are constantly changing and new areas of law are always emerging. Just look at data privacy litigation — 10 years ago it was considered a thing of the future. Today, it is a necessity in nearly every industry. The changing industry is why you should be willing to develop new practice areas, even the ones that seem to have too few clients now. You could become an industry leader that way.
To learn more about ways to develop new practice areas, please check out my Legal Ally Rainmaker program.