Lawyering: Now What?: 4 Things to Remember After You’ve Gotten Started

  1. Never Stop Working

The first time you make a bit of money, it may be tempting to shift your focus to other cases, or, actually enjoying what you’ve made up to this point. DON’T. As a young lawyer starting out on your own, you’re at a severe disadvantage when you take on cases. First, you have a lack of experience with not only actually handling the legal issues in the cases, but experience being in front of the particular judges, and dealing with the prosecutors in each particular court you’re in.

From my experience up to this point, never underestimate the importance of relationships in criminal law. It sounds cliché, but your first impression that you give to people you work with is the one that sticks with people, and one that will be extremely difficult to change. If you’re a solo practitioner in criminal law, prosecutors are technically your coworkers for each case. That all goes to say, as a young attorney, you’re going to have to outwork more experienced attorneys, as they’ve got the benefit of time on their side.


  1. Take Every Opportunity Given

Just being frank, when you’re a young attorney, you’re going to have to take cases where clients don’t have your full amount of money upfront, or get paid in other ways. While by no means am I saying take cases that you feel uncomfortable about, or are morally opposed to, sometimes you’re going to have to accept alternate forms of payment, or things of the sort. For example, one of my first cases as an attorney involved being paid in the form of a lien on a client’s personal injury settlement. While I needed the money at the the time, I also needed clients, so I accepted the lien, and ended up getting his case dismissed. I thought that I would never end up getting paid on the case, but lo and behold, I received a check in the mail last month for the full amount of my fee, all at once. It made the month a little bit more special.


  1. Never stop learning

I think that I briefly covered this in one of my previous articles, but I cannot state it enough. NEVER STOP READING THE LAW. NEVER. STOP. READING. THE. LAW. Law is a fluid practice. Court decisions happen every day that create new precedents, which in turn affects your cases, as well as everyone else’s. Don’t be the one that’s a bit behind.


  1. Be Yourself

Above all else, never let an occupation, or passion change who you are at heart. Clients relate to someone that can relate to them. Putting on a fake version of yourself, or thinking you need to act a certain way because you’re an attorney, isn’t what makes you a better attorney, or what makes clients relate to you. My mentor told me to always be myself, and that was probably the single best piece of advice I’ve been given up to this point.

About Tillet J Mills II

As a recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia law school, Attorney Tillet J. Mills II has dedicated his legal practice to the defense of men and women facing a wide range of criminal matters. Since moving to Harris County recently, he has remained committed to helping his clients secure the best outcomes possible. With a public speaking background, a long-documented history of charity work, and a relatable personality, Tillet J Mills II has the skillset of a successful criminal defense lawyer.

Contact Tillet at 832-942-8389