This page is a non-exhaustive list of sites, books and other resources that you might find useful as a new lawyer. We will add to it as we go along, and we encourage you to send in suggestions for new additions.
There are lots of great organisations in the industry with resources for new lawyers. These include:
- YoungLawyers.co.nz - Home of the Wellington Young Lawyers Committee, but with resources for all young lawyers.
- Practising Well - The Law Society's comprehensive initiative to address health and wellbeing in the profession. Resources include information, subsidised counselling services, and a holistic assessment tool with recommendations on how to improve health and wellbeing.
- Panel of Friends - A panel of lawyers whom you can consult confidentially about anything troubling you, such as health and wellbeing issues, employment or harassment issues, career issues, financial or ethical problems. These are lawyers selected for their kindness, expertise and discretion. There will soon be a panel specifically for juniors.
Much of a good career choice comes down to knowing yourself, your needs, your skills and your values inside out. These resources cover traditional career decision-making and others that can help you figure out where you fit.
- The Government Legal Network - The website for government lawyers in New Zealand, which includes details about the government's summer clerking and graduate recruitment programmes.
- MyShingle.com - An American website for solo practitioners that has a wealth of advice applicable in this jurisdiction and to employed lawyers as well.
- Abovethelaw - Principally an American legal news site but it has large sections on law school and early practice as well.
- The Counselors: Conversations with 18 women who have changed the world by Elizabeth Vrato - A collection of stories about prominent American women lawyers and jurists and how and why they did what they did. Inspiring and reassuring in equal measure (you do not need to have it all figured out at 22).
- Drive by Daniel Pink - This book is about what motivates us and how to make better decisions in service of yourself, but reads so easily and beautifully you would think you were reading a novel. This is the book that first made me think I might need to work differently back in 2013.
- Born for This by Chris Guillebeau - A book about figuring out what exactly you can and should do given your set of needs, values and skills. (A little trite in places, but the insights are no less valuable for that).
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - This book was a revelation for me as an introvert and has definitely helped inform decisions about career and life as a result.
Mental health And stress management
In addition to the industry-specific resources listed above, you might consider exploring the following:
- Get a psychologist - This is a link to the Psychologist Board's registry, where you can search by location and specialty to find a psychologist that fits your needs.
- Get help with addiction and substance abuse recovery - This links to the Ministry of Health's resources for recovery from substance abuse issues.
- The Anxious Lawyer by Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford - A practical book for lawyers struggling with anxiety and chronic stress.
- The Resilient Lawyer - A podcast focused on mindfulness and stress management for lawyers, run by the woman who wrote The Anxious Lawyer. You can find it by searching your podcast provider.
- LawyersWithDepression.com - An American website with stories and advice for lawyers with depression.
- The Hilarious World of Depression - An American podcast of interviews between comedians about depression and mental illness. Not lawyer-related but it can help to hear others' experiences, especially when there are jokes too.
- The lawyer-specific resources at DrugRehab.com - an American site with resources for dealing with substance abuse issues, now with resources specifically for lawyers. So so great.
There are thousands of books on how to manage mental health and wellbeing. Here are the ones I fall over myself to recommend to others. All of them are frank, most of them are funny, none of them are peppy.
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown - A book about how to actually deal with ordinary horrible feelings like shame, guilt, fear and failure instead of suppressing them. Brene Brown has two outstanding TED talks if you prefer your shame-coaching in visual format.
- The Mindful Way Through Depression by Jon Kabat-Zinn & Ors - Despite the title this book assists anyone with a Type A must succeed at all times personality. Mindfulness experts explain how the brain works and how to use mindful attention to help live alongside depression with much less distress. Includes an 8 week programme with guided meditations you can work through by yourself.
- The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb - Neuroscientist and depression-haver Alex Korb explains how the brain works and how you can use the same processes that cause downward spirals to spark upward spirals instead. Don't be put off by the 1980s self-help cover.
- The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman - This book draws on psychology and philosophy and humour to offer techniques that can help manage low mood and anxiety. It is the opposite of a traditional self help book and you are highly unlikely to want to throw it across the room in frustration.
- Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig - Matt Haig chronicles his experience with suicidal depression, how he came through it, and what he tells himself when he gets low again. Includes bite-sized yet profound chapters and jokes.
- Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman - Martin Seligman is the father of positive psychology and this book documents, again, how the brain works and how you can retrain pessimistic thinking patterns into optimistic ones. It includes a fun anecdote about dogs.
- All or Nothing: Bringing balance to the achievement-oriented personality by Mike McKinney - This book is a must read for any lawyer who thinks they may be Type A, a perfectionist, or even just plain high achieving. It's written in a clinical/academic style, which can be hard to read in places, but the content is vital so I prosthelytise about it relentlessly anyway.
Innovation in the legal industry
Anyone looking to start their own practice or think about the future of law might enjoy the following light reading:
- Tomorrow's Lawyers by Richard Susskind - Richard Susskind is the world authority on changes in the legal profession. This book is specifically for young lawyers trying to make plans for an uncertain future.
- Legal Visionaries by David Galbenski - A collection of interviews with American lawyers who have changed the way they practice.
- Play it Away: A Workaholic's Cure to Anxiety by Charlie Hoehn - This book is a big reason why I undertake projects like this podcast. It explains why an attitude of play makes for better business (and obviously better wellbeing).
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries - An exploration of principles that allow for rapid failure and improvement and minimal capital in starting a business. It is targeted at tech businesses but I have applied it just as easily to the professional services world.
- The B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman - B Corps are a social enterprise-esque form of business that originated in the US. This handbook sets out how and why businesses benefit from acting for the benefit of all stakeholders, not just investors.
Examples of law firms kicking ass in this area include the following:
We like our comedy legal:
- Marque Lawyers - You might think this entry is a mistake in the comedy section. It's not. Go read their website right now.
- Look Mum I'm a Lawyer - A captioned GIF tumblr not updated since 2015 but worth the four hours it takes to go through the archive anyway. Seriously. It's fun.
- Daily Lawyer Tips - The author is currently on sebattical, but the archive is worth exploring. Can be a little hit and miss but the hits are strong.
- LoweringTheBar - An American "humor" site run by San Francisco lawyer Kevin Underhill.
- FindLaw's Legal Curiosities blog - A collection of weird American judicial decisions.
- Why Lawyers are Like Lobsters (and other lessons on surviving in the law) by Marcus Elliott - Collection of essays and satirical pieces on lawyers and legal practice. Essential reading, and from a podcast guest no less!
- Amicus Humoriae edited by Robert Jarvis & Ors - An American collection of real and fictional judgments and law review articles. Particularly good for pedantic legal nerds.
- I have a little soapbox fever over lawyers doing improv (read my excellent argument in LawTalk here). If you want to take classes you might try:
- For improv by lawyers (some), you might enjoy Con Artists, in Auckland.
If LawTalk, LawPoints and your regular branch updates are not enough for you, the following might fill in some gaps:
- NZLawyer - NZLawyer used to be a paper magazine you received in your hands until it transferred completely online a few years ago. It tends towards updates on the law, critiques on legal changes and movements within the profession.
- Australian Lawyers Weekly - an Australian lawyer news site in the same vein as NZLawyer. Despite the extra-jurisdiction focus much of its news is relevant here too.
- AustralasianLawyer - This site tends more towards professional movements, changes and issues than pure legal ones.
- Abovethelaw - American news site that tends towards the pop and absurd of legal life over regulatory updates.