Law Practice Tip #4: read “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law”

Whether you’re a newly minted lawyer or a third year associate, a solo practitioner or one of hundreds in a national firm, you should regularly  review of the basics of practicing law. Research, writing, presentation, argument, and knowledge of the law are just tools of our trade, and keeping them sharp is as important to our practice as  it is for any carpenter sharpening chisels, saws, and blades.

This month I am reading the short and handy “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” by Mark Herrmann. With quick, practical, and to the point tips on everything from how to write a clear and concise brief to the etiquette of voice messages, it has proven, so far, to be both a delightful and refreshing reminder of the basics of legal practice, not to mention a good laugh.

Some examples:

  • The Ten Most Common Mistaken Assumptions Made by New Lawyers (including #10: “So long as it’s clearly marked “DRAFT,” no one will care if it’s incomprehensible.”)
  • What They Didn’t Teach You in Law School (I found this particularly interesting, and I might someday add some bits of it here)
  • The Curmudgeon’s Law Dictionary (including this definition of Business Development: “Playing golf with old college buddies. As in: ‘Of course I charged the firm for my business development trip to Scotland.'” Or this one for Will Contest: “A judicial procedure in which disappointed legatees attempt to prove that their beloved testator was drunk, incompetent, or unduly influenced at the time the estate plan was made.”)
  • The Curmudgeon on Clients, wherein the Curmudgeon reminds us that we are not in the legal industry, but the service industry, and it is our job to make clients’ lives easier.
  • And so on…
Pick it up. Published by the ABA or available online at Amazon, it’s worth your read, both for the chuckles and the real, and very practical, advice for success as a lawyer.

2 responses to “Law Practice Tip #4: read “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law”

  1. Pingback: Practice Tip #10: Keep it short | What they didn't teach in law school

  2. Pingback: Practice Tip (via ABL): How to Become an (Almost) Indispensable Junior Associate | What they didn't teach in law school

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