ST. PETERSBURG – Ensuring that today’s law students have the resources, skills and outlook to navigate the challenging legal landscape of the future is no longer just the purview of law schools and individual professors; legal firms themselves have also gotten into the act.
A Florida personal injury firm recently teamed up with the Florida Justice Association - an advocate for strengthening Florida’s civil justice system - for an outreach event at the Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus. The event was designed to emphasize how networking, professional development and attitude can ensure that the legal minds of tomorrow will be fully prepared.
“I was encouraged by the passion the students showed and their eagerness to learn,” Daniel A. Murphy, an associate attorney with Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh who attended the presentation, told the Florida Record. “We met with the students for almost an hour after the presentation just chatting about job hunting, the Florida Bar Exam, etc.”
The firm’s Bernard Walsh gave students insights into traumatic brain injuries and how the effects of such injuries can bear on personal injury cases. He talked about how new medical technologies can clearly illustrate to a jury the extent of physical damage to the brain – down to the cellular level.
“Ultimately, our job is based on providing the best case possible for our clients to achieve adequate compensation for their injuries, and new medical technologies can provide us with the best brush to paint that picture,” said Murphy.
He added that meeting regularly with medical professionals and attending medical seminars helps successful personal injury attorneys stay in the forefront of medical technology.
Murphy ticked off a range of things law students can do to ensure future success: Be specific in resumes about what attributes you can bring to the table, get involved in school-based groups, attend local bar association meetings and join groups such as Inns of Court, which brings together seasoned veterans and beginning attorneys.
And, take part in internship programs to get a sense of what legal work in a real-life setting is like, he added.
Murphy emphasized the importance of maintaining lofty professional behavior and ethics.
“Everyone wants to be respected and be thought of as a skilled person in their profession, but that respectability cannot be achieved without making sound ethical decisions and encouraging others in the profession to act accordingly,” he said.
Murphy also emphasized to budding attorneys the need to take advantage of social media in order to advertise and get the attention of new clients, especially those in the younger generations.
“With less and less exposure through newspapers and television, I think it is as important as ever to have a presence on social media,” he said.
Murphy stressed that when law students are thinking about which area of the law to specialize in, they can turn to internships and legal clinics to test the professional waters and see if they are to the students’ liking.
“In these scenarios, you can really get a feel for what types of things you are good at and enjoy, ultimately steering you in a direction of law that will suit you.”