Youth and inexperience can be a resource for some lawyers


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Many lawyers might believe that young and inexperienced lawyers are at a virtual disadvantage when they start their careers. Indeed, the law school does little to train students to become practicing lawyers, and people starting their legal careers may lack the practical knowledge necessary to excel in the practice of law. However, in some cases youth and inexperience can be an invaluable resource, and partners should take this into account when commissioning young lawyers to carry out projects.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of being a young, inexperienced lawyer is that people are much more willing to leave a younger lawyer behind than a seasoned lawyer who should know better. This is especially important in litigation and other times when advocacy is important for representation. In many cases, judges and others may have considerable discretion in how they handle cases, and they may be willing to be more flexible with young and inexperienced lawyers who may not know better how. practical issues work in the legal profession.

For example, once at the start of my legal career, I had to appear at a discovery conference on the case of another lawyer. This other lawyer had not kept up to date with his cases, and he owed a substantial discovery to the other party. This fellow lawyer was concerned that the judge might strike out his response due to gaps in the discovery or at least put language in an order that said his response would be struck if the discovery was not provided within a certain period of time.

Several defendants’ attorneys, the plaintiff and I all discussed the case before the judge. Each of us took turns describing the state of our discovery responses and found excuses as to why the responses were not provided. I looked super young at the time compared to all those seasoned attorneys at the conference and was confused as to the status of the find since it was not my case.

The judge ultimately issued an order stating that if all of the defendants except our client did not provide discovery within a specified time, their responses would be suppressed. One of the attorneys asked why my client was excluded from this language in the order, and the judge responded by saying that I was too young to be cast to the wolves. Incredibly, being taken out of law school for just a few years helped me as the judge did not want to submit to the same level as the veteran lawyers who could presumably be subject to a higher standard.

In addition, younger and less experienced lawyers may also benefit from more favorable treatment from partners. Partners of law firms are much more willing to invest time and resources in training young lawyers than in training lawyers who have practiced for some time. There are many reasons why this can be the case. On the one hand, it might be more comfortable for lawyers to train people younger than themselves, as more experienced lawyers who have spent time practicing are expected to train junior lawyers who are less experienced. in the practice of law. Additionally, younger lawyers are much more likely to be a blank slate and not come to their work with preconceived ideas about how legal matters should be handled.

For example, I have already dealt with cases of mass crime in a very experienced mass crime that required specialized training. It took me months of document review, practical experience, and other effort before I felt comfortable taking on significant responsibility in this mass crime case. The company may not have had the patience to train someone with more experience, and in such situations lack of experience can be an advantage.

In addition, young people can also be a resource for business development. There is often a certain novelty around youth and inexperience since young lawyers are more likely to be enthusiastic about the law than people who have practiced law for a long time. Additionally, clients often like to see lawyers at different stages of their careers managing a portfolio of duties so that there are lawyers in place who know the client in case more experienced lawyers retire.

While working in other law firms, I have been on several pitches with partners, and I think that my presence on the pitches has helped us generate business. Not only could potential clients see the partner who would do the majority of the work on their case, the energy of having a younger lawyer could have benefited the pitch. As such, law firms should consider bringing young lawyers into the field to help build business.

All in all, this can sometimes be difficult for younger and less experienced lawyers, as they may not know much about the practical “nuts and bolts” of the practice of law. However, in many situations being young and inexperienced can be an important resource for some lawyers.


Jordan Rothman is a partner of Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Journals, a website explaining how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan by email at [email protected]


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