Young Lawyers

Pro Bono: Helpful or Hurtful to Do Something for Nothing?

By The YL Editorial Board |

Philadelphia lawyers have a great history of doing pro bono work. Sometimes it is work we take on as individuals, through the wonderful public-interest organizations that serve the citizens of our city or even through our firms. According to Pennsylvania Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1, lawyers should render public-interest legal service by providing professional services at no fee or a reduced fee to persons of limited means or to public service or charitable groups or organizations; similarly, the American Bar Association has issued a call for every attorney in the private practice of law to perform, at a minimum, 50 hours of pro bono legal service annually.

How Can You Stand Out From the Crowded Applicant Field?

By Charles J. Dennen |

You have successfully survived your first year of law school. You've spent countless hours reading case law, researching and writing your first brief, typing and memorizing outlines, and furiously typing as you regurgitate as much information as you can muster on your final exams.

Villanova University School of Law

The Benefits of Staying Engaged With Your Law School

By Geneva Campbell and Lynne Kolodinsky |

As law students, it rarely, if ever, crossed most of our minds that we would one day join the ranks of alumni. At points it was somewhat difficult to believe that law school would ever end, let alone that we would ever be in a position to reflect fondly on the experience and to support our schools. Nevertheless, as successful law students, we inevitably became alumni—and that transformation took place astonishingly quickly.

Michael J. Joyce

Making the Transition From Junior to Midlevel Associate

By Michael J. Joyce |

The average law firm, like most businesses, is composed of a hierarchy of titles and positions: the legal industry's corporate ladder. Some young attorneys begin their trek up the ladder, but never make it near the top. Others start with a spring up the rungs, but lose steam at some point during the ascension. The journey is unique for each individual attorney, and oftentimes the ladder twists and turns along the way all while a practitioner hits the constant potholes in the average career path. One of the most important skills to weather the professional development storm is the ability to adapt to changing roles and surroundings, while preserving a clear roadmap to whatever the ideal, ultimate destination may be.

Pennsylvania's Judiciary Needs an Injection of Youth

By The YL Editorial Board |

On Nov. 24, 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced his plan to appoint attorney Leondra Kruger to the California Supreme Court. Brown described Kruger as a "distinguished lawyer," an obvious reference to her work within the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel and Office of the Solicitor General, and her work as a law clerk for Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It's Time to Make the Effort to Build Your Network

By Dena Lefkowitz |

Relationships have always been important to me. My natural inclination is to maintain them. It follows that I am still in touch with people from grade school on, professors I had in college and law school, employers, co-workers and friends I have met along the way. I didn't think of them as my "network" when we were in the school yard or having beers after taking the bar examination. But who can better attest to your character, competence and capabilities than the people who have known you, taught you, worked beside you and employed you?

Deposition Tips for Earning Respect as a Young Attorney

By Brad E. Haas |

As a young associate, taking a deposition can be both an exciting and intimidating process. Aside from trial, this may be the only time you are face-to-face with your adversaries, questioning and investigating their story. The confrontational aspect of depositions creates the potential for uncomfortable situations. This can be further compounded when dealing with difficult deponents and attorneys.

handshake over coffee

Phrases You'll Hear at Your First Job—and Why They Matter

By Alexis C. Handrich |

Congratulations, you made it through law school. Whew! Then you passed the bar exam. Hooray! Now you have your first associate attorney position, and, along with it, a level of anxiety that, before now, you never knew existed—anxiety over completing assignments, over not making mistakes, over impressing the boss and, most importantly, succeeding. First, breathe. Then, open your ears. Once you do, you are certain to hear words that can help.


10 Things New Lawyers Should Know to Survive in the Courtroom

By The YL Editorial Board |

Entering a courtroom or a judge's chambers for the first time can be a very daunting and nerve-wracking experience for any new lawyer. While good facts, a solid litigation strategy and persuasive arguments are the tools that will likely lead to a successful outcome for your case, it doesn't hurt to master those things that are within your control no matter how junior you are. Failure to remember these 10 basic survival tips may not cost you the case, but it could cost you your dignity.

Image of businesswoman writing in notepad at workplace

How to Have a More Successful Career by Knowing Yourself

By Dena Lefkowitz |

As Joseph Campbell said, "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

On the Clock: Time Management Steps for Young Attorneys

By Brian M. Lucot |

There's an old saying that if you have something that needs to get done, give it to a busy person. When I first heard this, my initial reaction was that it was absurd. Why would you give an already busy individual more work to do instead of seeking out someone who is sitting idle? But when I thought about it more, it made complete sense. The task is secondary to the nature of the individual who must complete it. Busy people are used to being busy and budget their time well to maximize efficiency. You are only given 24 hours in a day, and what you do with that time is completely up to you.

The Importance of Choosing and Building a Practice Area

By Christine E. Weller |

In the short time that I have been a lawyer, many people have impressed upon me the importance of carving out a practice niche. First professors, then mentors, and now colleagues have all stressed that finding a unique practice space for yourself within the profession is crucial. Recognizing the importance is one thing, but as a young lawyer working in your first job out of law school, how exactly are you supposed to know what you want to pursue and that there is a need out there for you to fill?

Image of businesspeople working at meeting

Identifying and Improving on the Positives in Your Career

By Dena Lefkowitz |

When we think about what we want to accomplish in the coming year, we generally focus on how we want to change ourselves, what we didn't like about our behavior last year and maybe even what we did wrong. While I am always in favor of a conscious effort to improve, I am going to suggest that it is extremely worthwhile to devote some time to identifying what worked really well last year, where you excelled and what you're doing that you would like to see more of.