Q: I had more confidence when I entered law school than when I left as a J.D. I graduated below the middle of my class, and am really wondering whether I’ll be able to be a good lawyer.
A: “Enthusiasm is more important than innate ability, it turns out, because the single more important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice,” said Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project. She did a great deal of research for her book, so I can believe that’s true. Plus, lots of very skilled lawyers I have known and advised over the years did not have scholastically impressive backgrounds. In fact, some who are quite financially successful had very unimpressive law school transcripts. Look for your strengths and mine them. You have a license to practice, so use it well and don’t apologize or agonize.
You’ll regain your confidence and as you do, don’t forget to mentor others. Giving back to those in the challenging transition from school room to conference room is part of what makes you a professional, not just a JD.