Advice for Aspiring Lawyers

BY LENEL MATTEK

Some IRSC students have their sights set on law school just based off what they see in the media, but becoming an attorney is a huge journey with lots of hard work and long hours.
The profession was glamorized by TV and the movies,” said Olivia Devonmille, who graduated from law school in 1982. “It looked like an exciting and important job. I could dress up every day. I laugh at it now, but at the age of 21, these were some of my considerations.
Devonmille, who after being an attorney became a judge, says the law involves a lot of reading and writing, things she admits she wasn’t initially good at.
“I wanted to be a professional so that I could support myself and not be reliant on anyone else and being a lawyer gives you the opportunity to make a good living.”
When asked what advice she would have liked to have known before becoming a lawyer, Devonmille said, “That it’s a grind. That it can mean very long and tedious hours. That it is not always rewarding. It is not very glamorous either!”
Samuel Kornicks had almost finished law school when his banking-transactional law class was the deal breaker for him to drop out. “I wish I had known before going to law school that I would not enjoy all of my classes. For me, I loved my Fourth Amendment class but hated my banking-transactional law class more than anything.”
He was torn between becoming a police officer and going to law school. “I thought about it and realized I wanted to be on the that end of the law spectrum, but now realize the first-responder aspect is more of my style,” he said.
Asked his advice to aspiring lawyers, he said, “Study, study, study, and prepare for long hours and hard work.”
Devonmille and Kornicks have these tips for students considering law as a career:
Is there a particular field of law that excites and interests you?
Does your personality allow you to practice in that area of the law? If you are shy and reserved, then you are probably not going to want to do a lot of trial work. If you don’t like detail work, then you probably shouldn’t be a real estate attorney or do probate work.
You can use a law degree in so many ways. I [Devonmille] have several friends who left the legal field and returned to school. They now use their legal backgrounds in their other professions, such as registered dietician, Presbyterian minister owner of farms and ranches.
Most lawyers actually don’t make the big bucks that you hear about, so you really need to have your heart set into it.

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