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Must-Have Credentials for Your Law Career

This blog is not about writing a resume. It's about getting the right stuff on your resume.

Once you have completed law school and started practicing law, your career tends take a natural course. Hard work, opportunities, and even challenges will shape your future.

But you can better control that future by adding credentials in two areas: writing and speaking. They really are not that hard to do, and they can help steer your career in the direction you want it to go.

Writing

You wrote all those exams well enough, so you already have some skills to write persuasively. Writing for publication, however, is different.

As in any writing, you have to consider your audience. Do you want to write to other lawyers? Are you targeting consumers? Either audience may serve your interests, but you have to write with the right people in mind.

Lawyers, for example, may well be interested in your prose about a practice area. Case names, citations and other standards of legal writing will be expected. Consumers, on the other, will fall asleep if you hit them over the head with legalese. It doesn't have to be a treatise, either.

Don Sessions, an employer lawyer, started writing a brief column in the local newspaper. After a couple of years, he compiled his writings in a book and became a recognized expert in his field.

Speaking

Publishing can easily lead to speaking engagements. And whether you are a litigator or a transactional attorney, at a minimum you've hopefully had the experience of speaking in moot court. In other words, you can handle an audience. Maybe you are not ready for prime-time, but you can start with a civic organization or a bar association committee.

If you don't get any takers, invite your clients to a free seminar and put that on your resume. Add colleagues and friends to the invite list; it's about creating credentials.

Not to promote myself, but I can relate because I wrote a blog about my hobby interest in astronomy for a couple of years. When I found myself speaking on the same program with an Apollo astronaut, I decided I had gone far enough. While I have no credentials as a rocket-engineer, this experience shows you can add writing and speaking to your resume with a little effort and creativity.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

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