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Young Lawyers Column: Five Things I Learned from Law School

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STATE BAR OF NEVADA
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Nevada Lawyer Magazine
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“Balance is something that you must achieve in order to be successful in your career and in your life in general. ”
Young Lawyers
BY PAOLA ARMENI, Young Lawyers Chair
FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM LAW SCHOOL
During our journey through law school it is inevitable that we pick up a few key pointers that will carry us through our career. As this issue of Nevada Lawyer is dedicated to the William S. Boyd School of Law, I thought I would share the top five things I learned from law school. 1. Respect for Fellow Students I was fortunate that my 2003 class at Boyd was a very close one. So, it wasn’t too difficult to like and respect all of my classmates. When I go back to Boyd and speak to the current students, I always give one piece of advice: you may not become friends with everyone, but you should learn to respect everyone. You never know who will become the next judge1, politician2, opposing counsel or simply just someone that you may need advice from. In a profession where there are so many strong personalities, you must put everything in perspective. You may not understand or agree with another attorney, but everybody is entitled to their own perspectives and views. Do not take it personally. The reality is that you are going to have disagreements, but you should still strive to maintain a level of respect. Respect will always be key to maintaining successful professional relationships and interactions. 2. Maintain Relationships with Faculty A student’s relationship with the faculty of a law school should not cease to exist on the day of graduation. Law school faculty can become your biggest allies. Law school professors have specialized knowledge that you should appreciate and take advantage of. Professors can assist you in those areas of law with which you have little familiarity. They can guide you and provide you with a general understanding of those areas of law. Law school professors can also become consultants or expert witnesses for your cases. 3. Give Back to the Community Boyd is a huge proponent of community involvement. In fact, in order to graduate, we were required to teach classes through the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Thus, the third valuable lesson I learned in law school was to give back! Generally as lawyers, our profession is good to us. We are fortunate and have a lot to be thankful for. There are so many members of our community who do not have the same good fortune. They need our expertise to guide them through some of the most important decisions in their lives. So put aside an hour or a couple of hours to lend your skills to the less fortunate members of our community. Pro bono work and community service reflect well on our profession, to say nothing of the strong sense of gratification it will provide. 4. Keep Taking Legal Classes In law school, we had the opportunity to take a variety of classes in different areas of law. As practitioners, we tend to limit our focus to one or a few particular areas of the law. Expanding your knowledge to include different practice areas will make you a more well-rounded lawyer. Clearly you are not going to have in-depth knowledge of every
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facet of the law; however, a general understanding of different practice areas will assist you in your overall practice and in the representation of your clients. 5. Maintain Balance Balance is something that you must achieve in order to be successful in your career and in your life in general. I tend to live by the mantra “work hard, play hard.” There is nothing wrong with a strong dedication to your work; however, you must still make time for the activities you enjoy. So work hard when you are at the office, but when you get home, dedicate that off time to yourself, whether this means spending time with loved ones or simply reading that book you want to read. Most importantly, put down your iPhone. I guarantee that e-mail can wait until the morning.
This article is dedicated to the 2003 class of the Boyd School of Law.
1 Joe Bonaventure (‘01); Heidi Almase (‘01); Catherine Ramsey (‘02 ) 2 Jason Frierson (‘01); William Horne (‘01); Sam Bateman (‘02); John Oceguera (‘03); James Ohrenschall (‘09); Lucy Flores (‘10)
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