Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advice on how to succeed in your new law firm job

While directed at laterals, this column from the has sound advice for any new law grad starting his first job.  Among the tips:


Expectations should be explored and clarified during interviews and offer negotiations. Issues such as skills, job description, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, support, client responsibility and origination credit, title, years to partnership consideration (if appropriate), lines of reporting, marketing, hours requirements, and so forth, should be thoroughly discussed.


While doing your best to be productive, keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut until you've figured out the true lay of the land. Look for the firm's unwritten rules, power structure, alliances, conflicts, social or political "in-groups" and outcasts. Determine which partners, practice areas and clients are most valued at the firm, and where the backwaters lie. Read internal and external communications and note who and what is in the spotlight. Respect any formal or informal hierarchies within the firm.


Check the firm's form files so that you can conform your work as quickly as possible. While it's not necessary to become a clone, you want to accommodate your new firm's preferences within your own style. Refrain from saying, "We did it this way at my old firm" until you are well settled and think you know a better way of doing something that will be appreciated by your new firm. Even then, you may want to suggest the alternative without attributing it to your former firm.


You are an unknown quantity and will need to prove yourself to your new colleagues. For associates, your first few assignments may be either more or less sophisticated than what you handled at your former firm. Do them cheerfully, efficiently and well. Once you demonstrate that you produce excellent work consistently and in a timely manner, the firm will be comfortable assigning you more challenging work, or continuing to do so.

You can read the remainder of these helpful tips here.


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