What does it take to become a successful lawyer in your particular niche or practice area? In a series of in-depth interviews for the Estrin Report, Chere Estrin profiles top lawyers from all types of practices. In this column, we zero in on their top tips. This week, we feature Emily Weber of Foley & Lardner LLP.
“Going out on a limb” is how Emily Weber began her career in healthcare law, writing a letter to Vail Valley Medical Center asking if they wanted to hire her as an up-and-coming legal professional. That bold step landed her an in-house counsel job created just for her. Today, Weber applies a hands-on, practical approach to her law practice and prides herself on not being a braggadocio “but I really know how hospitals work.” As managing partner for the Denver office of Foley & Lardner LLP, she focuses on complex healthcare regulations and transactions, governance, fraud and abuse, and health innovation matters.
In addition to tenacity and the confidence to take initiative, here’s what Weber says you need to become a top lawyer in your field.
Five Things You Need to Become a Top Lawyer
1. Become an expert in something.
This may sound obvious, but if you aren’t a master of something, you are a master of nothing.
2. Give yourself time to become that master.
It could take decades, but provide thought leadership on the topic through speaking or writing. And find others who are interested in the same topic.
3. Take feedback seriously.
Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback and make meaningful changes to become better. It’s OK — no one wakes up knowing everything.
4. Find your network of colleagues.
You’ll need them to bounce ideas off of, and it can be a great referral network.
5. Figure out who you are and what makes you happy.
We all have lives outside of work and interests not related to our work. Having a happy and fulfilled life will make you a better, more well-rounded and interesting attorney with a good perspective. Clients and others in your network will be drawn to that.
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