Those fortunate law graduates who have found jobs as first year lawyers in law firms are likely starting this week. It made me think about what I might share with those young and ambitious lawyers.
Here are things I would share during first year orientation:
- Your time and your energy are important resources, plan and use them wisely.
- Each year have a plan that includes what you want to learn to become a better lawyer.
- Don’t be so intensely focused on your billable hours that you do not build your profile and build relationships.
- Your career will be both a marathon and a series of short sprints. That means focusing both on the long-term and short-term goals.
- Exercise and stay physically fit.
- Do not eat lunch at your computer. Alternatively, if you feel you must, at least get up and walk around the block outside to clear your mind.
- When assigned a matter, do some research on the client and the client’s industry so you have a context for the legal work you are doing.
- Treat your supervising lawyer as a client because until you have clients of your own, he or she is your client.
- If you are getting involved in the community, focus on something you are passionate about and then work your way to a leadership position.
- Start building relationships right away and keep up with high school, college and law school classmates.
- To build your career, team up with one of your colleagues to brainstorm ideas and hold each other accountable.
- Don’t seek balance in your life. Instead focus on your priorities.
- If you “need to,” “have to,” “got to” do something, you likely won’t do it.
- In your career, you will suffer setbacks. How you deal with those challenging times will play an important role in your career success and your life fulfillment.
- Think BIG!! Become the best lawyer you are capable of becoming.
For the last few years I have given a presentation Starting Right for Career Success. I hope your first year lawyers will find it helpful.