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Reading the Law: Alternate Route to Becoming a Lawyer

Did you know that it's possible for you to become a lawyer without having first earned a J.D. at a law school? It's true. It's called "reading the law" and it's an alternate route that many students have considered when faced with few options, but a real burning need to become an attorney.

Still, it's a tough choice for many to make, and the statistics can be discouraging. Here are a few points you should consider.

Young Lawyers Need to Learn Tech Skills

In today's competitive job market, new lawyers need to learn tech skills if they want to stand out. When the economy crashed and technology began improving at a rapid pace, it became apparent that lawyers (especially solo lawyers) could no longer simply rely on tech-proficient staffers. It's time for lawyers to be their own best assistant when it comes to using computer applications and legal practice software in the day-to-day practice of law.

You can master your opening statements, shine during direct-examination, and give an Oscar-worthy closing arguments -- but you may still struggle with cross-examination. Many litigators, even seasoned trial attorneys, labor to master cross-examination.

If you're just starting out, here are seven tips to help make sure you do your first cross-examination right.

Wake Forest Launches Legal Clinic for Veterans

It's not unheard of for law schools to provide pro bono legal services through student clinics. Some provide legal services to community first-responders and to retired and even current military personnel. In the case of veterans, the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed to in the military presents them with special challenges as they can no longer turn to the structure of the chain of command.

Wake Forest University School of Law recently joined those ranks, with its nascent clinic. Wake Forest's Veteran's Legal Clinic was officially launched this fall, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. It not only serves veterans but also currently active-duty service members, reservists, and non-affiliated veterans. It's part of the growing number of vitally needed legal clinics that law schools have spearheaded in order to provide legal assistance to men and women who've served in the armed forces.

Celebrate Pro Bono Week With the ABA

The week of October 25-31 has been designated National Celebration of Pro Bono week by the ABA; and this years' marks the seventh such celebration. Throughout the past few days, the ABA has been taking the time to recognize pro bono achievements by lawyers but has decided to push especially hard today.

Law School: No Longer for Lawyers Only

Increasingly, there is talk that law school is not just for those who only want to practice law. It can also be for those who already have established careers and are looking for a shot in the arm. A number of law schools today offer one year programs for those individuals who seek a thorough introduction to the law without having to give up the expense and time of a full three-year degree.

Applicants tend to be from industries which are heavily regulated, where it is thought that a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the law will give them an edge over their peers. But there are detractors too, who bemoan that some schools "rush[] into the business" in order to balance their books.

Argumentation is part of any lawyer's DNA. It's essential to the profession and it's often something lawyers deeply enjoy. But good argumentation means avoiding -- or at least recognizing -- the hundreds of logical fallacies that can work their way into an exchange.

Of course, one man's sophistry is another's effective argument. But errors in logic can undermine the force of an otherwise strong position. Whether you want to avoid relying on fallacies, or simply want to call other attorneys out on their BS, here are seven logical fallacies attorneys use much too often:

Legal ethics and musical theater, a match made in heaven? Well, not exactly, but at least one troupe of lawyers is looking to make legal ethics CLE programs a little less monotonous and a lot more entertaining by taking a note from Broadway.

A group of Texas lawyers calling themselves the Ethics Follies has been putting on musical legal ethics performances for years. Their most recently production was a riff off Monty Python's Spamalot, entitled, appropriately, Scamalot.

Get ready, New York lawyers. The Empire State is updating its social media guidelines. The new set of guidelines, prepared by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, seeks to update its policy given the increasing importance of social media in lawyers' practice, advertising, and free time.

The new guidelines are almost twice as long as the New York State Bar's previous social media policy. The biggest change? Lawyers can no longer stick their head in the sand -- understanding social media is a now a must for all New York attorneys.

Defense Lawyers: How to Deal With Defeat

You've tried your hardest, but in spite of your best efforts, your client still got convicted. What is there to do? What did you do wrong? What could you have done better?

Cheer up, that's what. Losing is a part of being a lawyer; no one wins all the time. Take solace in your defeat, though. It's a learning experience, and hey, it might not even be a defeat for long.