Warning! Proceed With Caution Into the Practice of Lawby Robin D. Hart
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Warning! Proceed With Caution Into the Practice of Law is a written mentor for those who are thinking about becoming lawyers, and those practicing attorneys who want a change or a way out. Topics include: entering and surviving law school, the realities of law firm life, contract work, and options beyond being an attorney. Having a plan is a consistent theme throughout the book – planning for financial independence; planning to own a law firm instead of being an employee; and making a plan for a full and purposeful life. For attorneys feeling trapped by economic need and remaining in unsatisfactory employment, there is a chapter entitled “What Do You Do Now?”
Having practiced law for 20 years, the author asked the question: “If I knew then what I know now, what would I have done differently?” The answers form the content of this book.
If I knew 20 years ago what I now know, I would have done things differently. Most likely, I would never have become an attorney. Since I can’t turn back time, I have written this book to give the benefit of my hindsight to those who have not yet embarked upon an unmarked path. For those who are committed to becoming attorneys and have no clue as to the nature of the ride upon which they are about to embark, I hope that this book will serve as the mentor that they will probably never have. For those already on that path, may they find a kindred soul.
Hopefully, by reading this book, you will adequately prepare yourself psychologically and financially to deal with any situation. Your best protection will be the power and confidence to walk away from any unfulfilling job. That ability will be your greatest personal asset.
When I made the decision to go to law school, I had minimal knowledge of what a lawyer was and did. This sounds odd because everyone thinks they know what lawyers and doctors do. But think about your ideas about being a parent. Knowing what a mother does as an observer is entirely different from actually being a mother. Eating good food is not the same as being a chef. Just as taking care of a child for a substantial period of time would give you an idea of parenthood, it would be wise to learn as much as you can about the practice of law before you go through the expense, time, and effort to become a lawyer.
Private attorneys get paid by billing clients, generally by the hour. Attorneys who work for law firms are governed by billable hours. Meeting your billable hour requirement can be all-consuming. You think about it all of the time. When you’re lunching with friends, you’re thinking “I’m going to have to stay until 9pm tonight to make up for this.” If you want to take a vacation, you know you’re losing the ability to bill, so you have to double up before and after. You work until 10pm or 11pm and on weekends to bank hours or to catch up. Your life revolves around meeting your hours.
Law firms can create environments for abusive relationships. This is especially true if an attorney has no self-direction, has no independent means of financial support, and has massive student loan indebtedness. You’ve basically made yourself an indentured servant.
- Strong Hart Publishing
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Meet the Author
Robin D. Hart is an attorney practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mills College in Oakland, California; a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.; and a Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Pacific School of Religion, part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
This is her first published book.
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