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How to gain experience as a new lawyer

Tried-and-true methods for honing your skills and building a network

Law graduates are competing against their classmates, graduates in your state, graduates out-of-state, and experienced lawyers for jobs.  As new graduates search for work experience, rely on these tried-and-true strategies for gaining experience. If your goal is to open your own independent law practice, these strategies can help you build a network and a track record that will help clients see the value of your work.

Use these methods to gain experience as a new lawyer:

Internships
Seek out internships during law school and immediately afterward to gain valuable, hands-on experience in the field. Internships also expose you to a great network of experienced lawyers and others in the legal field.

Part-time work
Working part-time as a file clerk, data entry clerk, court filer or as an assistant can also help you gain experience and contacts. These jobs provide a taste of working in a legal environment. While it’s rare to find a job as a part-time lawyer in a firm, other part-time jobs at a law firm can open the door to job opportunities.

Contract work
An alternative to part-time work is practicing law as an independent contractor. As a non-employee, your contract with specify a short-term project or scope of work for that firm. Ranging from a few days to several years, the contract provides flexibility for cost-cutting law firms needing temporary assistance.

Volunteer
Non-profit organizations need volunteers to assist in daily operations. As you give back to the community, you are also gaining useful skills and meeting more people in the area who can help connect you with future work. Seek out volunteer opportunities that are personally meaningful to you. Search your network, alma mater, or online for volunteer law opportunities to build experience easily.

Pro bono work
Offering free legal assistance to those of limited means is another way to build experience. You can work pro bono cases as an independent lawyer or work for a law firm’s pro bono division. W

As you build your portfolio of experience as a new lawyer, these methods can help you gain confidence, skill and new connections that can prove to be invaluable in your career.

If you are thinking about launching an independent law practice, contact LawBank to learn about our flexible office leases and co-working spaces in Denver. We now have two locations to better serve Denver lawyers.

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