Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Confidence

For the past two years of law school, I've really felt all along that I just don't know enough. I don't feel that in any of my classes, even the ones I got good grades in, that I fully grasped all of the concepts of that area of law. Some of them, I'm pretty sure I didn't grasp a single concept of the law (i.e. Tax). But my work as a clerk has certainly improved my research skills, and my analytical skills. I want to take another legal research class next year, because I still feel like I take too long with research. I want to be really thorough and make sure I don't miss anything, but also I'm heavily dependent upon Westlaw, and if I work for a firm that doesn't have an account, or a full access account, I might run into some problems.

I've begun to realize that practically no one knows all the concepts of law anyway. That both reassures me and scares me. A friend who's been practicing for about five years now just started her own firm. We were discussing my fight with Evil Health Insurance Company, and she made a statement about an element of damages in insurance law that was wrong. She'd practiced insurance defense for four years. On one hand, I felt reassured knowing that no one knows everything about their area of law. On the hand, I always believed that after law school and a few years of practice, I would really know my shit. Maybe I won't. And I'm afraid of screwing something up, with no one around to check my work, to make sure I don't.

Those of you who practice solo, did that scare you at first? Does that still scare you? As I'm approaching my final year of law school, and will be expected to take the bar and practice law, I'm starting to wonder when I'll feel like a "real attorney." And I hope I'll be a good one.

4 comments:

legally certifiable said...

I am frequently surpised by the isses that my supervising attorneys ask me to research. I always thought that after 15 years of practice you would know the answers to most of the questions I get.

I think it is partly due to there just being so much that you can't remember it all. And partly that there are so many nuances to each individual case.

Oh, and I definitely think I take too long to do research--even though I think its my strength. I always want to do just one more search to make sure I haven't missed anything. But so far no one has complained about how long I take.

Shelley said...

There are lawyers who are amazing and always impress me with the breadth of their knowledge. I've met two of them so far. The rest are just winging it!

When I passed the bar, one of those two said to me, "Congratulations, counselor. You've passed a very difficult hurdle. There will be many more, harder challenges, but for now, enjoy it." I thought that was the weirdest thing to say, but it pretty much sums it all up, in retrospect. Some of those harder hurdles are walking into situations knowing that you're completely clueless!

Tranny Head said...

BWAHAHAHA - now you're in the "in!" You know that nobody really knows much.

Welcome to the club.

My dad has been a solo practitioner for years . . . I think the key is to pickyour speciality and stick with it and eventually you figure it out.

jacky said...

No one knows everything. And the law changes-- a lot! Its a fluid living "thing". Its knowing how to research-- thats what makes a good lawyer. I have been an intellectual property attorney for 22 years--- the law changes a lot. Don't worry, you will do great!!!