In this week’s edition of Young Hungry & Committed, Annapolis virtual office lawyer Liz Johnson shares how she has changed her mindset and started to practice and perfect her litigation skills.
Do we really dislike something as much as we say we do?
I swore up and down from the start of law school that I didn’t want to get involved with litigation. All my friends were going the litigator route one way or another, but I didn’t think that was for me. I followed some friends through a few classes, including Advanced Trial Advocacy Class. But I did it for the sake of taking those classes, not because I wanted to become a litigator.
Friends are friends, I didn’t have to take those classes. But was that my subconscious telling me something? Or maybe the universe? Well now I have finished school and started my own practice from the ground up, and I’ve tried my darnedest to stay out of the courtroom.
Dipping My Toes Into Litigation
Recently, I had this case with an experienced litigator, and he has shifted my opinion on litigation. I think once I get some experience and shadow him for a while, it’ll be fine. But this shift made me think, is it that I hate litigation, or I’m just afraid of the unknown?
Well first, I was never fully trained to litigate. Some might think, so what, just go for it. How bad could it be? Well, I tried to file my first case by myself within the past week and filed in the wrong courthouse. $89 mistake for filing fees right there. How much can you really take when learning where to file, how to file, what are the right methods for filing, when you have no one to show you anything? I finally found a great litigation mentor, and guess what… I love the idea of litigating now. Crazy how that works right?
I know, most people see “L as your occupation and they assume you litigate. It’s pretty common for people to shout “You can’t handle the truth” when you tell them what you do. Hell, several attorneys think that as well. But not all of us do.
I started off in a nice quiet office just reviewing cases and making recommendations during my internship with the Department of Justice while still in school. I loved it. While I would have preferred to stay and work there full time after graduation, one does not just walk back into a job with the government. I couldn’t go back there and didn’t get the litigative experience many of my classmates, now colleagues received. So now what?
I know this blog is shorter, but I just found it interesting how you might spend years not liking something, then have the right person come around and change your whole outlook on an area of law. Hopefully, my experience will help you to keep an open mind and look for opportunities in your legal career when they arise.