January 2016

Read Up in 2016

By Lizzette Herrera Castellanos

Associate Director for Public Service and Diversity,
University of San Diego School of Law

At the start of every year, we are all setting goals and trying to stay on top of them and I am always on the look-out for new books or old ones that help motivate students and alumni career-wise. If you are looking to make a change and not sure what that change should be, I recommend you start reading. These are just a few books I have recommended to students and alumni over the years:

  • Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of your Dreams by Kimm Alayne Walton
    This is the bible of most law school career services offices. The latest edition is quite a hefty book but I ask students and attorneys to read this book based on where they are in their career. If you already know where you are headed, no need to read Chapter 1. But if you are applying for jobs, a review of the cover letter and resume chapters is essential.
  • America’s Greatest Places to Work with a Law Degree by Kimm Alayne Walton
    No need to buy this book. Go to your local library or law school library and I assure you they have a copy. Flip through this book and check out the employers that interest you. This book is fascinating because it lists where attorneys love to work. It is rich in information and insight on legal employers and on attorneys who have figured out the whole “balance” equation.
  • The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
    This is a great series of books including the Smart Women Finish Rich and Smart Couples Finish Rich books. I see too many attorneys take care of their business that they forget to take care of their business. Do you own your own home? Do you fund your retirement accounts? Make sure that you are not making money to spend money. This is a great guide to put your financial life in order and on autopilot.
  • Your Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
    I had forgotten about this book until an alumni mentioned it in a Facebook post. It is a wonderfully inspirational book. Lots of great insight and gives you more information on other great books.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
    A classic that is worth re-reading every now and then. This book constantly reminds me of the traits that are necessary to succeed and the priorities in life. There is something refreshing about remembering to “Begin with the End in Mind,” or “Put First Things First.” Lovely chapters to re-read when we need a reminder of our priorities.
  • Subscribe to a blog or a journal.
    There are some excellent articles and sometimes you just need to receive them as part of a weekly or daily email to remind yourself to read. Check out some of the essential sources in the law at Above the Law, Huffington Post, and the Wall Street Journal websites and blogs.
  • A Guilty Pleasure: No, this is not a book title.
    This is a recommendation for you to read for the sake of pure enjoyment. Find something you enjoy reading even if it is not intellectual. The Mindy Kaling autobiography, the new John Grisham. Find something interesting to read because that makes you interesting, in interviews, in networking circles and to other community members. I cannot tell you how often I have had students tell me they were asked in an interview what the last book they read was. Make sure you don’t tell them it was “Analyzing the Uniform Commercial Code…” People will slowly inch away from you at that point.

One of my regular goals is to never stop learning. Even if none of these books appeal to you, get on the Amazon website or go to your local Barnes & Noble to browse books that interest you. Starting to read a book can motivate you, inspire you and put you on the right track to creating and meeting your goals.