What steps in life should I take to become a lawyer, starting in high school? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
If you're thinking about becoming a lawyer and you're in high school, my advice would be to develop a range of different skills that will help you regardless of what career you end up going into. Why don't I think you should focus on legal stuff exclusively? Because you're young and your beliefs and interests will continue to change, especially in college. Here are a few things you could do to set yourself up for when you're an adult:
- Volunteer. Regardless of your eventual field, it's important to give back and understand the many facets of life. Volunteering, at least for me, evokes eye-opening, gratifying experiences. If you become a lawyer, it's crucial that you understand the different types of clients you'll come across in order to truly help them. Also, having compassion for other people is becoming a lost art, so you can really stand out if you acquire that from your volunteering experiences.
- Learn different languages. It's another thing that can set you apart from the millions of others that share the same age and experience as you. Like volunteering, learning a different language can teach you a lot about other cultures and yourself.
- Read and write. This is especially true if you want to be an attorney. Having a robust vocabulary in your arsenal can really shine through in a job interview, in the courtroom, and in a legal brief. Also, you'll need to know how to communicate clearly and concisely, so the more you write and speak like that at a younger age, the greater chance you'll communicate like that moving forward.
- Pick up a part-time job. It doesn't have to be a law firm, but that might be helpful to show what being a lawyer is like. I had classmates in law school who had never worked anywhere before their first summer associate position. To say that they had a rude awakening in their mid-20s would be an understatement. Work ethic is something that employers notice. Make sure you develop yours.
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