Travis Schultz recently chatted with Damon Laffin on The Young Lawyer podcast. In this interview, Travis shares his journey to becoming a lawyer and drive to be an expert in his field, and he also shares some helpful advice for young professionals making their way in their careers.
Tips for young lawyers:
- Reach out to mentors, nurture these relationships; they will evolve naturally.
- Invest in your self-development and building your legal expertise, for example, reading case law.
- Find your niche and something you enjoy - for Travis practising in an area of law that allows him to work with real people and the opportunity to change their lives for the better is what makes it all worthwhile.
- The road to mediocrity is paved with excuses - you need to be responsible for your personal and professional growth.
- Have a plan for your career, and work on it.
- Develop your emotional intelligence (as much as your legal skills) - we need to listen to understand, be an active listener, and show empathy; this allows you to engage with your client genuinely, and when you understand, you're better placed to give advice.
- You will have many setbacks and challenges; often, other people may just be nasty and difficult. As a professional, you need to rise above and don't engage with internal wars or others in advocacy roles who behave aggressively. Take a breath, remember your values, remind yourself you're part of a profession and behave appropriately, don't dignify poor behaviour by lowering yourself to the same standard. From Travis's experience, it's more effective to speak slow and soft in response to aggression.
- Build your self-awareness - whether you like it or not, as a practitioner, you are creating a persona; everyone you meet in the community will form a view of you, and you can control this by your interactions and behaviour; you have one chance to build your reputation.
- When looking for a role, engage with the firm you want to be part of and demonstrate how you align with their values and culture.
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