When I became a lawyer, a partner gave me what I now realize was great advice: “Don’t think like an associate,” she told me. “Think like a partner.” I wisely nodded my head. “Of course,” I solemnly replied, hoping she would not notice my confusion.
Truth be told, I really did not understand her advice. But over time, I learned that the basic premise behind the advice is to put the client first and let the partner be your guide.
Jason has great, and simple, advice for his peers. Here’s a taste of what he has to offer … read the whole article for the details:
New lawyers should act as though they owe a fiduciary duty to their firm and its
partners, whether or not the law recognizes one. Those who act on this belief
will respond to situations appropriately.
Follow the Leader
Some associates complain ad nauseam about partners who criticize their appearance or yell at them. They whine about the long hours the partners demand and are indignant that partners refuse to listen to their ideas regarding a case.
Don’t be one of those associates.
Make Your Own Rain
In firms, those who make the rain also make the rules. Associates who want to
make their own rules should become rainmakers themselves. The legal industry is
a service industry, and lawyers must constantly market and sell their services.
Cheerleaders Can Be Tough
This is the touchy-feely category that many associates do not believe has a place in the stern and serious world of law. A new lawyer can be a hard-as-nails associate, fighting aggressively with opposing counsel, and still be a great morale builder.
Everyone works better when morale and spirits are high. Not surprisingly, partners want morale to be up at the firm. Many associates, however, are entirely self-absorbed and pay constant attention to how they are feeling after having two bad days in a row. Get over it.
The firm is better served when associates focus on building the morale of others.