By Ashleigh Brooks • JBA Young Lawyers Section ex-officio board member
The word that comes to my mind when I think of February is “love.”
One of my favorite holidays, although a commercial one, is Valentine’s Day. By mid-January, I notice the aisles of stores covered in red and pink trinkets, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and giant teddy bears.
When I turn on my television, I can be assured that the Hallmark Channel will have a marathon of romantic movies for my indulgence.
What I like most about this holiday is it reminds me to think about the many things in my life that I love. Our lives can become so mundane that sometimes we do not take the time to think about what we love and makes us happy.
I challenge you to think about what makes you happy as it relates to your life and the law. Think about what made you passionate about attending law school and choosing this career path.
We often look at the negative aspects of being a lawyer: student loan debt, long hours and endless amounts of research briefs. Instead, consider the positive aspects of your career.
Focus on your passion, your goals and what you love about your job.
Like most people, I was inspired to attend law school so that I could help people. As a prosecutor, I felt fulfilled to stand in as a voice for victims and help them through the difficult times they face while navigating the criminal justice system.
Deciding to leave my position as a prosecutor after four years was intimidating. I often worried I might not feel fulfilled and remain passionate about the practice of law in the civil world.
Through much reflection, I realize that the field of law is not what satisfies me as an attorney. It is the opportunity to continually learn and my connection to people where I find fulfillment.
My new position as an associate attorney reignited my passion for my profession because I am challenging myself to learn an entirely new area of law.
Each day I learn something new, something that I can use to help other people. Any way that I can help someone navigate the legal system brings me joy, even if it is simply referring someone to a colleague.
As attorneys, we have a wealth of knowledge and resources that can benefit many people. Our hard work has culminated in us being able to support ourselves and our families and help our communities while doing something we are passionate about.
That is something to celebrate.
If you find yourself struggling to find the passion you once had for the practice of law, I suggest getting involved and challenging yourself to learn something new.
Join the Jacksonville Bar Association or another local voluntary Bar and connect with other lawyers. Discussing your experiences with other lawyers can be therapeutic and listening to their stories is inspiring.
Not only is there much to learn from other attorneys, but there are many areas of law to explore. As attorneys, we have the opportunity to be able to practice nearly any type of law we desire.
Do not allow yourself to feel bored or complacent at work. Take a CLE course on a new topic or challenge yourself to learn something new about your field each month. Look for ways to keep yourself engaged in and out of the office. Reflect over your goals and make the necessary changes to accomplish them.
This month, celebrate your journey and remember what makes you passionate about your profession.
Ashleigh Brooks is an associate attorney at Taylor Day Boyd & Grimm focusing on workers’ compensation litigation.