June 12, 2015 Articles

Leadership in Community Service as a Young Lawyer

By Danielle G. Marcus

All attorneys, but especially newer attorneys, are asked to do a lot with their time. If you’re in a firm, you’ve got billable hours to maintain, firm events to attend, and the never-ending quest for business development opportunities. If you’re a solo, you are most likely spending all of your time worrying about the innumerable duties involved in running your own business and providing good service, all while keeping the lights on. Attorneys in government, in-house, and other settings have many of the same responsibilities and time commitments, along with stresses unique to their situations. Add to this the fact that you’re also a human, trying to have a life, a family, friends, hobbies, and—if you are a parent—five minutes of uninterrupted silence, and this puts attorneys in a very difficult position. While additional time devoted to community service may seem impossible, it is well worth the effort, especially for young attorneys looking for ways to distinguish themselves among their peers.

No matter the setting, new attorneys must figure out their places in the legal landscape while at the same time focusing on developing the skills that make them valuable and marketable. One of those skills is leadership. It’s a term thrown around in accolades and during award dinners, often associated with the more experienced members of our profession. For many, it’s hard to imagine being the leader of anything, when you’re still figuring out your footing in the law. But if there is one thing that the new attorney is, it’s ambitious. If you are looking for an effective way to gain leadership experience as a new attorney, you only stand to gain when you make time for community service.

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