Diving Into New Pools: How to Go Solo and Learn a New Practice Area At the Same Time

It’s not easy, but it can be done! I have much more to say on this topic but for now, a few observations:

  • Learning how to learn is the single most important task a solo can undertake. Once you have that skillset, you can apply it to any practice area.
  • Your legal training gave you a template from which to operate. You can use your law school experiences and your prior experience in other practice areas as the foundation on which to build new ventures. Think about the ways in which your past experiences – both work and education – are similar to your new focus. Once you have a complete understanding of all those similarities, you can work to “fill in the gaps” (which now seem much less daunting as a pleasant little side benefit).
  • It’s all law.  You can do this. You did it once. You can do it again.

Two great resources can help you, and interestingly, neither has a thing to do with the law!

First, look at Study Guides and Strategies. This website is crammed with helpful advice on topics such as learning to learn, scheduling and setting goals, mapping information for learning, effective study habits, concentrating, memorization techniques, and much more. Next, take a look at this post from the Online Education Database called “Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better.” There may be some overlap between the two pages but there’s a lot of unique content to both.

Finally, let your interest carry you through the process. Something led you to this new practice area. Whatever that interest is, feed it through your studies. Ask yourself questions and challenge yourself to find the answers. Make up a client with a problem and go look for the solution. Read cases as if you were the attorney handling the matter and devise a better strategy. Keep that interest piqued and your concentration level will soar. Most of all, cultivate what Zen practitioners call beginner’s mind. This is a state of mind and being that is exceptionally conducive to that “flow” state we all crave. Its hallmarks are complete openness, willingness to be a beginner, a sponge-like soaking in of everything that is offered (or read, for the self-study crowd), and a pure, clean, and empty “vessel” of a brain in which to pour all that lovely knowledge.

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2 comments so far

  1. Sandy Slaga on

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I’m taking it all in as I continue my journey of decision.

  2. Christy Thompson on

    I’m thrilled to have found your website. It gave me some pause, I took a deep breath and found many nuggets of information to help me lead less of a “do more” life and more of an inspired life. Thank you!


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