Hot Off the Press: The New Lawyer's Handbook

Karen Thalacker’s "The New Lawyer’s Handbook: 101 Things They Don’t Teach You in Law School " should actually be called The Answer to Every Question You’re Afraid to Ask an Actual Lawyer (Especially One Who Employs You).

Instead of walking up to a managing partner and asking if you can date Bob the paralegal, Thalacker attacks many potentially embarrassing situations head-on, giving readers a definite leg up over less astute associates. Thalacker’s suggestions on organization, wardrobe, manners, navigating office politics and work-life balance aren’t often covered in the typical associate’s orientation, and certainly aren’t discussed much at law school. Also, lots of situations that might not be encountered until later in a lawyer’s career are also addressed, giving new lawyers a warning of what might be ahead.

While the book is generally lighthearted, Thalacker also tackles issues of addiction, ethical violations and building a career over a lifetime. But instead of long-windedly nagging readers to follow each of her steps, Thalacker offers no-nonsense bits of wisdom. Her writing style is simple and allows for quick reading. Additionally, the book is organized into chapters, and each tip is listed under the chapters, providing for quick reference.

For graduating law students who haven’t had much exposure to firm culture or have lacked a strong legal mentor, this book is a necessary read.

—By Jennifer Pohlman, Student Editor