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Breaking Down Barriers: What A “Lawyer” Should Be

Tough and tough-minded.Articulate and argumentative.Smart and willing to stop at nothing to prove a point.Life’s winners. If these are the adjectives commonly used to describe lawyers, how come so many people view lawyers as losers?

Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but it’s true: People don’t like lawyers.

Some blame it on popular culture and the way lawyers are frequently portrayed on television shows–smarmy and too-smart-by-half. Others blame the ambulance chasing lawyers, ruining reputations for everyone involved in a perfectly good profession.

Some blame lawyers themselves.

The truth is, it would be foolish for anyone–including you–to paint everyone involved in a specific profession with a broad brush. But then again, stereotypes exist for a reason; there’s usually a nugget of truth buried somewhere in the grave of unflattering assumptions.

Some lawyers do make you want to stick gum in their hair. But for every ambulance-chasing attorney who grandstands on television, there are probably 25 out there helping small businesses secure medical insurance for employees, parents reunite with their children after cleaning up their lives, new Americans secure a better life in a better land, and non-profit organizations maneuver bureaucratic red tape.

You might not see them on Court TV, but they’re out there. They are the people who truly represent what a lawyer is. And they are who you need to keep in mind as you continue to work your way through law school, grinding it out, waiting for that first big paycheck.

Remember: It’s not about the paycheck–it’s about people.

There is a chairman of a law firm that employs more than 300 attorneys in six offices around the world. He’s made literally hundreds of millions of dollars, been interviewed dozens of times by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times editorial page writers and has been listed among the “Top 10 Litigators in the Country” by the National Law Journal. He also frequently speaks to law school students at his alma mater.

Recently, a student asked this high-profile attorney about the secret to his success. After thinking for a minute, the chairman of this prominent firm said four words: “I like helping people.”

That’s what lawyers do. They help people. Sure, they might get paid a lot, but at the end of the day, the best lawyers help people.

Earn your J.D. and go be the type of attorney who helps people.


About the Author

Sumita Dalal is the Founder and CEO of FindMyLawTutor, the largest and most trusted website and online portal that connect law students with law tutors for success in law school. Whether preparing for the LSAT, are currently a law student or are studying for the bar exam, FindMyLawTutor makes finding a law tutor fast and easy.

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