Much of the advice on learning new practice skills relates primarily to litigation oriented practices. As I’ve discussed in Solo by Choice, a new solo or lawyer interested in trial work can spend a few days court-watching, accompany a more experienced lawyer to depositions or pick up a pro bono case which might entail representing a client a public benefits hearing or a collection action in court.
But what about options for lawyers interested in acquiring hands on transactional experience? Here are a few ideas. Once again, pro bono programs are an option; here in the Washington D.C. area several clinics dealing with HIV or elderly clients offer training on drafting wills and trusts and opportunities to prepare these documents for clinic clients. There are also pro bono organizations that promote economic and business development in low income communities; here, lawyers may learn how to incorporate non-profit corporations (a very useful skill) or other corporate documents.
Many times, business networking groups will sponsor talks by lawyers on topics like top clauses to include in a contract. Often, this advice is highly practical since it’s geared towards business people – and therefore, these kinds of fora can prove more useful than say, a law school course or some CLEs. Also, when you attend a session with other business people, you gain an added opportunity to look for business.
Finally, if you are a transactional lawyer or seeking to be one, Ken Adams’ blog on contract drafting is indispensable.
Readers – if you have other tips on gaining hands on transactional experience, send your ideas below.