practicing, what transferable skills you
learned that your legal employer would
benefit from, and why your experience
makes you a better-rounded attorney.
Questions you may ask yourself in-
clude: Did you take the non-traditional
job because it was in an area you’re pas-
sionate about? Did you gain specialized
knowledge or experience with relevant
subject matter, such as a permitting
SMITH GOODFRIEND, P.S.
Available for referral or association in
probate and trust appeals
Estate of Haviland, 161 Wn. App. 851, 251 P.3d 289 (2011),
aff’d, 177 Wn.2d 68, 301 P.3d 31 (2013).
Washington Builders Ben. Trust, 173 Wn. App. 34, 293 P.3d
1206, rev. denied, 177 Wn.2d 1018 (2013).
Estate of Bussler, 160 Wn. App. 449, 247 P.3d 821 (2011).
contact Howard Goodfriend or Catherine Smith at:
Washington’s Appellate Law Firm
process? Do you have relationships
with people or organizations that could
help the firm gain clients?
Look for mentors: Seek out practicing,
formerly practicing, and non-practicing
(i.e., never) attorney mentors. You will
likely receive very different advice
from each of these groups, but having
varied opinions in your “cabinet of suc-
cess” will help you to make the best
decision for your career. Each of these
groups has helped me to grapple with
the hard questions, given me courage
to step out of the box, held me to my val-
ues, pushed me out of my comfort zone,
and inspired me to be creative when I
Get pro bono experience: If you decide
you want to practice, get as much experience as you can through pro bono
work. In accepting a job that was not
going to help me build legal skills, I
made sure that I had the flexibility to
pursue pro bono work. In addition to
receiving valuable training, pro bono
work provides the opportunity to try
out a practice area with relatively low
long-term commitment. Also, through
volunteering at various organizations, I
have been able to test how my non-legal
skills would be transferrable to meet
that organization’s current needs.
Depending on what your ultimate
career goals are, taking a non-traditional path early on can feel like a risk
or like the best decision you ever made.
For me, it allowed me to grapple with
whether I really wanted to practice law,
gave me extra time after law school to
figure out what kind of law I may want
to focus on, and gave me valuable skills
and connections to the public interest
Law in March
serving as session counsel at the
Washington State Senate Commit-
tee Services office during the 2011
special session and 2012 regular
session. She is the staff attorney
overseeing the Foreclosure Media-
tion and Outreach Project (FMOP).
She can be reached at thomasan@