What They Don't Teach You in Law School: Success in Your First Two Years of Practice

By: IRA H. LEESFIELD
Leesfield Scolaro
2350 South Dixie Highway
Miami, Florida 33133
(305) 854-4900

ATLA National College of Advocacy
1999 Annual Convention, San Francisco
I. Business Development

1. How to Build a Client Base

a. Use of newsletters

b. Networking

c. Bar Associations

d. Don't forget your friends, family, classmates

in building a database.

2. Getting Established in the Community

a. Religious organizations, charitable organizations

b. Law School involvement

c. Bar associations

3. Meeting Sources of New Business

a. Publications

b. Local and community newspapers

4. Organizational Involvement

a. Civic clubs

b. Sporting events

c. Community Events

5. Lawyer Groups

a. ATLA Networking

b. ATLA law students

c. Local bar associations

d. Non-trial lawyer bar associations

e. Pro bono and volunteer work

6. Networking with Other Trial Lawyers

7. Does Your Family Know What You Do?

8. What is Your Circle?

9. Writing, Speaking, Publishing

10. Common Sense and Business Sense

II. Learning the Practice of Law

1. How Do You Begin?

2. The Overbearing Judge

3. The Overbearing Opposing Counsel

4. How to Overcome Inexperience Quickly

5. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

6. Developing Your Technical Skills

7. How Not to Re-Invent the Wheel

8. Networking with Other Counsel

9. Finding and Using Resource Material/ATLA/Computer Research

10. Organization of Files/Organization of Research/Organization of Your Practice

III. Developing Trial Skills

1. Trial Observation

2. Courtroom Time

3. Working with Other Counsel

4. Learning Your Case

5. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation, Preparation - Hard Work Builds the Foundation

6. The Use of Discovery at Trial

7. Developing the Art of Being a Trial Lawyer

8. Developing Your Style of Trial Law

9. Confidence vs. Overconfidence

10. The Use of a Trial Notebook and Order of Proof

IV. General Do's and Don'ts

1. Always Over Prepare for Deposition and Trial

2. Never Try a Case Alone (even if you have to bring a legal assistant or paralegal)

3. Always Be Aware of Your Impression -- Dress, Demeanor, Courtesy

4. Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New

5. You Never Get a Second Chance To Make a Good First Impression

6. Don't Ever Begin a Deposition Without Your Documentary Evidence

7. Be Sure Your Experts Come Well-Recommended (Beware of Expert Dependency)

8. Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions of Other More Experienced Lawyers

9. Don't Overlook The Obvious

10. Always Look Back At Your Original Notes As To Why You Took the Case

Reprinted from ATLA's (program title and date), with permission of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Copyright Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Further reproduction of any kind is prohibited. For more information, please contact the National College of Advocacy, 1050 31st Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, 800-622-1791.