You’ve Passed the Bar ... Now What?
by Becky Bye
You’ve Passed the Bar ... Now What?
o all of the newly admitted lawyers, congratulations and welcome to the practice of law! After many years of attending school, internships, and taking various required exams and finally the bar exam, you are now a licensed attorney. You might have one (or more) of a variety of competing emotions that can range from elation, excitement, or even fear and anxiety as you embark on the practice of law. And yes, they call it "practicing" for a reason, as you will always be learning about the ever-changing substance of law and the workings of the legal practice.
With the massive public scrutiny of law schools and the heightened amount of debt associated with becoming a lawyer, this is the time for you to make the most of your financial, emotional, and time investments into this important profession.1
Giving time to various causes—law-related or otherwise—can greatly enhance your professional (and personal) life in more ways than you would think possible. Plus, due to greater competition in the legal field, and the compromised state of the economy, bolstering yourself professionally can help you distinguish yourself as a new attorney.
With that in mind, I recommend getting involved with the Colorado legal community in a way that is meaningful to you. You will find a variety of mentors and distinguished attorneys who are eager and excited to help you throughout your career. For example, the Denver Bar Association (DBA), the Colorado Bar Association (CBA), and other local or specialty bar associations can provide you with invaluable networking opportunities, legal and nonlegal volunteer opportunities, continuing legal education, social types of professional and personal assistance. Other types of groups, such as the Inns of Court (see "Inn-side the Inns of Court" in the October 2010 issue of The Docket at denbar.org/docket) and your law school alumni associations, are at your disposal with lawyers and judges happy to provide their wisdom and help throughout your practice.
You also should strongly consider partaking in pro bono work throughout your career. Through pro bono work, lawyers can make a profound impact on society and on people’s lives. Further, pro bono service provides the means to gain very in-depth legal experience, representing clients firsthand—experience that many attorneys are not able to achieve until later in their careers. If you are interested in pro bono work, you have various options, such as contacting the Metro Volunteers Lawyers or the CBA’s Appellate Pro Bono programs; both match attorneys with pro bono matters and can help pair you with an attorney mentor for your pro bono legal work.
Regardless of your schedule and how much time you have to devote to your personal and professional life, you can find endless opportunities to give back. It is important for all lawyers, particularly new lawyers, to stay involved in professional organizations and volunteer their time in various endeavors. D
Becky Bye is a member and former chair of The Docket committee, Chair of the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, a member of the Doyle Inn of Court, a member of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Alumni Council, and a passionate advocate for attorneys, young and less young alike, to get involved and give back.
1. This issue is a very long and serious one, which is outside the scope of this article. However, I plan to examine the issue of law school debt and the number of lawyers that enter the workforce every year, which will be published in The Docket later in year. If you have any insight or ideas, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.