"There is so much that is not taught in law school and most new lawyers don’t know what they do not know."
Rachel Rall is president-elect of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of St. Augustine.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? As a paralegal for many years prior to attending law school, I was privileged to work with wonderful attorneys including Hank Coxe, now Duval County Judge Scott Mitchell, Brett Lucas and Annette Ritter. All were encouraging and allowed me to work to my full potential, leading me to want to be more than a paralegal.
Someone who inspires me: I don’t necessarily have any one person who inspires me, but I do lean on my faith to guide me in my practice, especially now that I work in public service.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I have a bachelor of science in business administration, which helped me as an owner of my own family law practice. Understanding how business works helped me assist clients who owned businesses navigate through difficult times and I was able to guide my small business owners on how to run their businesses.
How did you decide your practice area? Last year, I transitioned from a solo family law practitioner to public service with Three Rivers Legal Services. It offers me a great opportunity to give back to the community through serving low-income individuals. Through the Home Sweet Home grant from The Florida Bar Foundation, I assist my clients to obtain title to their family property through probate and estate planning.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? There is a movement to train unlicensed individuals to assist in giving legal advice.
If I could change anything in the legal system: I would like to see the return of more formality in correspondence. These days there is much more reliance on emails and the art of the well-crafted letter seems to have gone by the wayside.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Get a mentor and don’t hang out your shingle right out of law school. There is so much that is not taught in law school and most new lawyers don’t know what they do not know. A mentor will help navigate the actual practice of law and provide invaluable information to help a new lawyer grow into a successful and respected practitioner. There are great opportunities to obtain a mentor through the Jacksonville Bar Association’s mentoring program.