Monday, January 24, 2011

Advice for recent grads: How to build your expertise

Here's a helpful advice column from for new grads who are trying to carve a niche for themselves.  The author deals with three topics related to niche-building including choosing a specialty and marketing.  Here's what she says about becoming an expert:

[I]t's possible to develop a niche in an area in which you have no prior knowledge or experience. You can build expertise over time. Demonstrate initiative and commitment by reading everything you can get your hands on and attending MCLE courses related to the practice area, even if it's on your own time and dime. Join specialized bar associations, and get active on committees. Moreover, depending upon your desired area of practice, you may need to go back to school for an advanced degree or take exams to become a certified specialist, or to appear before a new tribunal.

Talk to attorneys involved in your desired area, and ask them how they actually spend their time. What do they like or dislike? What qualities and skills do they use? What future do they see in that practice? If possible, find a mentor who is experienced in your targeted specialty.

Seek to work with individuals in the industry (not necessarily attorneys), join and get active in trade associations, and research industry issues. The most challenging aspect of developing a niche practice is learning the "buzz words" and matters that affect businesses in that industry. Study the legal issues involved with the particular sector (e.g., regulatory, legislative, contractual). Research ways to address these concerns and present those services to your target clientele.

You can read the remainder of her advice on expertise, marketing that expertise and how to choose a specialty by clicking here.


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