How to become an expert in your chosen field
In order to be recognised in your chosen field, you need to ensure that you’re acquiring relevant training and experience. Here are the things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of your opportunities to reach your full potential.
Having got through the trials and tribulations of your training contract, you enter the world of the associate lawyer. But this isn’t the end of your learning – in fact, choosing the area you want to pursue is just the start.
Practice makes perfect
There’s no shortcut here – the only way to become an expert is to put in the hours. The more work you do in an area, the more experienced you’ll become, resulting finally in recognition for your expertise. You need to remain passionate about the work you’re doing, since this is what drives you when things get tough. There will be countless others attempting to go down the same path and many will give up. You have to be dedicated, disciplined and focused if you want to succeed.
Attend training events
You must devote a certain number of hours to continuing professional development per year, but this isn’t the limit of what you should do. Make the most of all opportunities within your department and the wider firm, so you’re up to date on all areas related to your work. It is not just firm events you should consider – those run by outside agencies such as other firms and institutions (the Law Society, for example) can be invaluable and give you insight into developments in your field not covered by your firm.
Dissemination as a learning tool
Passing your knowledge onto others, for example by writing for legal publications, is also a great way to enhance your skills – you’ll need to be fully up to date on the area of law you’re covering. Offer to write blogs for your firm or external websites on your recent work. This will increase your exposure and get you noticed as someone knowledgeable in your field.
Find out what interests you in your field and focus on this. Being a jack of all trades can be a useful trait, but it’s very hard to get noticed as an expert if your work is fairly broad-spectrum. It’s better to specialise to some degree – you can keep yourself at the top of your tree if it’s not too broad.
Again, these are a great way to get noticed and learn more about your chosen field. Find the conferences that are particularly relevant to your chosen area and offer to present your relevant work. Listening to others discuss their experiences can give you valuable insight into your chosen area. If you’ve been involved in a case or legal development that’s particularly interesting, try to present it at a conference. This will require you to research and prepare your presentation, which will increase your knowledge and expertise in your area.
Legal Practice Areas