By Sydney Burden, McKinney 1L
On Thursday, March 23, the IndyBar Law Student Division hosted plaintiff and defense attorneys from Indianapolis who practice in the areas of business, health, insurance, personal injury, product liability and medical malpractice. Law students shared questions and listened intently as a common theme emerged on the topic of professional development.
Professional development and success will ultimately be in the hands of every young associate. Jenai Brackett from Frost Brown Todd LLP encouraged students to be proactive, embrace the learning curve and never say "no" to new learning opportunities. She shared a story from when she was a new attorney and accepted a new project without any experience. When a senior attorney complimented her work product, Brackett knew she was on the right path to gain experience and further her career. A successful career in litigation will require every young lawyer to take risks, seek out challenging work and become dedicated to self-improvement.
Christopher Barry from Craig Kelley & Faultless encouraged law students to embrace constructive criticism and seeking feedback on challenging assignments. Successful litigation is a skill; by utilizing peers and senior associates and partners, new associates will become acclimated to the process much quicker. All litigators are not created equal; the most skillful advocates are dedicated to trial and error, without the loss of enthusiasm or drive.
Before leaving law school, TaKeena Thompson from Cohen & Malad LLP recommends for students to take advantage of experiential courses such as moot court, trial practice and clinics. Although simulation courses may be just the tip of the iceberg, it is important to explore litigation while still in law school. Thompson knew that litigation was her interest after participating in Trial Advocacy at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, which allowed her to think creatively, practice legal writing and gain confidence in oral advocacy. She encourages students to embrace the skills necessary to succeed, such as legal writing, legal research, argument formation and oral advocacy.
Litigation may seem intimidating to current law students, but with dedicated practice and adequate preparation, any attorney can grow into a skillful advocate. Michael Gallo from Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, assured students that litigation will create transferrable skills necessary to succeed in any practice area, including oral advocacy, brief writing, legal research and negotiations.
As stated by TaKeena Thompson, “Some of the best litigators in Indianapolis may stand up in court with some nervousness, but this is normal. Once they get fired up, you just can’t stop them.”
I would like to thank the following attorneys for sharing their advice, encouragement, and fascinating journeys into litigation with IndyBar’s Law Student Division:
Speakers (in alphabetical order): Christopher M. Barry, Craig Kelley & Faultless; Jenai M. Brackett, Frost Brown Todd LLC; Angela Agustin Fox, Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC; Michael Gallo, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP; Neha M. Matta, Lewis Wagner LLP; and TaKeena M. Thompson, Cohen & Malad LLP.
If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Law Student Division page, please email Kara Sikorski at email@example.com.