Here are some tips for young lawyers from the Honorable Judge David M. Rubin. Judge Rubin is a California Superior Court Judge in San Diego and is the president-elect of the California Judges Association’s. Judge Rubin will be sworn into a one-year term as the association’s president on September 18, 2011.
1. What is one piece of advice that you give to young lawyers ?
Try to have fun in your new profession while keeping balance in your life. You will find that a legal career is both challenging and exciting. Very quickly you will become absorbed in assisting your clients, working on cases and doing legal research. Make sure you maintain your hobbies, friendships and family time.
2. What is a common mistake you see made by young lawyers ?
Young attorneys can sometimes think they will never again see or work with the lawyer against whom they are litigating today. Wrong. They will see opposing counsel again, and may even be on the same side with her or him. So remain civil with each other, no matter how hard fought the battle.
3. Is there any piece of wisdom you have learned that you wish you had known as a young lawyer ?
Get involved with your community outside of work – give back where ever and when ever you can – e.g.: pro bono legal services, volunteer at a school, run for the bar board.
4. Do you have any writing tips for young lawyers?
1. Write simple sentences. Even the smartest judges like easily grasped material. 2. Proof read – and don’t depend on SpellCheck. 3. Have someone else read your brief before you file it.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to a young lawyer about being a better oral advocate ?
Be prepared and when you argue before the court, try not to use notes (or at least, glance at them sparingly.) During arguments it is distracting when attorneys look down at written materials instead of looking at the court. It also undermines a lawyer’s persuasiveness.