There are so many factors that contribute to successful lawyers. Some are more subtle and others are more straightforward. You can be sure, however, that being an impressive lawyer in the first weeks and months of your career has little to do with the knowledge and abilities that you gained in law school.
Instead, the impressions you make on your colleagues will center on the intangibles—your ability to assimilate and integrate into your office, your understanding of your role as a new lawyer, and your ability to learn quickly.
Here are three easy ways to demonstrate that you’re positioned to become a constructive, productive, and successful member of your legal practice from day one.
1. Don’t show up empty handed.
As a new lawyer, you never want to go into a meeting or another attorney’s office without a legal pad and a pen in hand. In fact, you should probably not leave your office without paper and a pen. You always want to be in a position to take down an assignment when the opportunity arises, and impromptu conferences that result in assignments are a regular occurrence.
2. Offer support.
Above all, your role as a new lawyer is to act in a supportive role for the more senior attorneys you’re working with. From day one, you can demonstrate your willingness to contribute meaningfully by being as supportive and helpful as possible. Show that you will do whatever it takes—stay late, come in early, run down the street to the courthouse, etc.—in order to help your colleagues get their work done quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
3. Adopt this mantra.
‘No project is beneath me. Repeat: No project is beneath me.’
Entrepreneurs are responsible for learning every aspect of their business, from payroll to website development to sales and marketing. Knowing your business inside and out is the best way to retain control, manage operations, and run things successfully.
For lawyers, the exercise should be no different. Welcome any assignment that’s given to you, no matter how simple. Regard every assignment as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to understand more about your legal practice. If you tackle each and every project you’re given with energy and enthusiasm, in no time you’ll be assigned to more complicated projects and will be trusted with more responsibility.
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