Updated: Oct 26
by: Bart Siniard, Siniard Law
I passed the bar 10 years ago, so it seems appropriate to list some things I’ve learned for the benefit of those who are entering the practice of law:
1. You don’t know anything about being a lawyer coming out of law school.
That’s ok. Everyone else is in the same boat.
2. It takes at least two years to figure out what you’re doing.
3. Don’t be scared to try a case.
Be willing to cut your teeth on the tough, small-value cases. Losing a few trials is a good thing.
4. It is highly likely you are dispensable in the eyes of your employer.
And you probably are. Aim to become indispensable within three to four years.
5. Becoming indispensable requires two things: the ability to get results for clients and the ability to originate new clients.
6. Getting the business is half of the business of law.
Don’t think you’re above salesmen — you should be one too. See above.
7. Find a mentor.
Seems corny, so call it something besides “mentor” if you need to. If no one in your firm is teaching you or giving you feedback, you need to reevaluate where you are.
8. Your reputation is everything.
Never cheat or lie, even if it allows a short-term gain. It will be a long-term loss for you professionally.
9. Don’t be rude to opposing counsel.
It does you (or your client) no good. If you do it more than once, every lawyer in your area code will have a negative opinion of you within a few weeks.
10. Last, and most importantly, don’t let your career cause your personal life or your health to suffer.
You only have one life. Don’t let meeting your professional goals be at the cost of your health and happiness.
Partner, Siniard Law
Bart Siniard solely represents injured people in North Alabama. He has assisted over 1,000 people in obtaining compensation in personal injury settlements and verdicts. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Bart received his undergraduate degree and juris doctorate from the University of Alabama. He has been selected by Best Lawyers in America in the practices areas of personal injury litigation and medical malpractice. He is licensed to practice in all Alabama state courts, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, and the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Click here to learn more about attorney Bart Siniard.