With the new year practically upon us, it is time to start thinking of a resolution or two. Each year, I make two resolutions, one centered around my family and one centered around my career as a lawyer. When coming up with your own resolution, you might want to consider one of the following:
Learn a second language. The practice of law, like commerce, has become global. Knowing a second language can distinguish you from most other lawyers. But who has the time? Turn your car into a classroom by listening to foreign language CDs which you can either buy online or check out from your local library. Watch foreign-language shows on television and subscribe to foreign-language magazines or newspapers. The more you can immerse yourself in another language, the faster you will learn it.
Learn a new skill. Learn Power Point, prepare a firm newsletter or organize a fund raiser for a bar association. Being a lawyer is so much more than drafting motions and taking depositions. Take the time this coming year to learn much needed networking and business development skills.
Try a case. Trials are harder and harder to come by, and when they do, young lawyers are generally relegated to a second or even third chair status, if that. Seek out pro bono opportunities that may result in a trial. For example, you may be able to represent pro se prisoners in civil rights cases or children in dependency proceedings. Not only are you helping those who cannot help themselves, you are developing trial skills in the process.
Find a mentor. If you do not already have one, seek one out. Find someone at your firm or someone you volunteer with at a bar association and develop a mentoring relationship with that person. There are no self-made attorneys. Find someone to help you fulfill your potential.
Get published. There are so many publications out there looking for articles. Getting your article published in one of them is easier than you think. Take the time to write an article and walk it through the publication process until you see it in print with your name underneath the title.
Make a difference. Join a community or charitable organization dedicated to helping the less fortunate. Help build a house for Habitat for Humanity or organize a food drive or discover a local need and develop a plan to address it.
Make next year one to remember by making a commitment to better yourself and see it through. Happy New Year!