There are many reasons to participate in community service, and they don’t always have to come from a place of altruism.
The fact is that community service can teach you several skills that will help you in your law career. And yes, the overwhelming response to helping others, no matter what the underlying reasons for participating, is to feel good about oneself.
You aren’t limited to giving free law advice as your only way to volunteer. In fact, you will benefit the most from volunteering in a way that allows you to develop soft skills that have nothing to do with being a lawyer, but are so important to success. Communication skills, emotional intelligence, confidence: These things that are not taught in law school will help you in the court room, the board room, and in your own living room. If you are giving back by doing law work, you can learn from practicing in an area you usually don’t have the opportunity to work in, making you a well-rounded, valuable asset to any firm.
Having a stilted conversation at a networking event has its place, but there is nothing like being able to impress someone by working alongside them and completing a project together. You’ll often get to have real conversations with other attorneys and make a connection in an organic way.
The “community” part of community service is just as important as the “service” part of the equation. Feeling that you are an involved part of your local community can help foster a sense of well-being and belonging. You may even end up making a good friend or two while developing skills that make you a better lawyer. Win-win!