November 2015 Bar Bulletin
Skip Navigation Links
CLE / Education
For Lawyers
Legal Help
Special Programs
MyKCBA Login

November 2015 Bar Bulletin

Ready for Takeoff: A Pilot's Checklist for a Lawyer Taking Flight

By Peter Roberts


I wish there were such a thing as "introductory, intermediate, and advanced lawyering." You would assist clients in a gradually confident and competent fashion, such as physicians who have their internships and residencies to acquaint them with the real-life aspects of patient care before being totally independent with their own patients.

When you accept a matter from a client as a newly admitted attorney, you are in the same arena as the opposing counsel who may be vastly more experienced. You must learn, absorb, analyze, and act based on the facts, circumstances, protocols, procedural rules, ethics, and interpersonal relations norms related to the matter all at once, without the gradual experience of "lawyering" gained with time.

Use the following checklist as you plot the course of your career.

Choice of Practice Area Drives the Whole Practice

Your area of practice determines all aspects of your daily work. Have a practice of choice - not of necessity. That means to know who you are: personality, past experience, level of organization, people skills, hobbies/interests, attention to detail, etc. Examples to help you assess your preferences are:

Consider the types of clients associated with a practice area. Ideas for niche practice areas may be taken from or similar websites.

Your practice area(s) determines the following "working conditions:"

  • The clients are novices to the legal system or they are experienced users of legal services. The client's expectations of you vary based on her past experience (or lack thereof) with lawyers. Does the client understand his obligations and responsibilities to you and to the matter? Are you prepared to spend the time to educate each client about these concerns?

  • The practice area may demand travel that may disrupt your personal life.

  • How much paperwork the matter generates can be related to the type of practice area. Are you good with organizing paperwork and files? Even electronic files require organization.

  • Many meetings may be required with certain practice areas, perhaps using your evenings.

  • ...login to read the rest of this article.

  • Return to Bar Bulletin Home Page

    KCBA Twitter Logo KCBA Facebook Logo KCBA LinkedIn Logo KCBA Email Logo

    King County Bar Association
    1200 5th Ave, Suite 700
    Seattle, WA 98101
    Main (206) 267-7100
    Fax (206) 267-7099

    King County Bar Foundation Home Page

    Charitable Arm of the Bar

    Jewels Page

    Pillars of the Bar Page

    All rights reserved. All the content of this web site is copyrighted and may be reproduced in any form including digital and print
    for any non-commercial purpose so long as this notice remains visible and attached hereto. View full Disclaimer.