Being a new associate can be an overwhelming experience but it is also an important time to being laying down a foundation for your legal career. While everyone’s career develops in its own unique ways, there are some steps that every new associate goes through in the growth process.
Obviously, a new associate needs to continuously work on learning the law. From the rules of procedure to the practice-area-specific law, there is plenty of learning to be done. Attending CLEs, reviewing new case law and legislation can be difficult to do, especially on top of everything else that needs to get done. However, part of being an attorney, especially an associate, is embracing the seemingly never-ending task of acquiring knowledge.
In addition to learning as much of the actual law as possible, an associate must figure out how to work with different partners and attorneys. This requires developing a structure and a process to work through different cases and issues brought to you by different attorneys. Just like in any walk of life, learning to manage and work with different styles and personalities is essential.
There is a business side of the law that an associate needs to learn as well. The managing partner at my firm has encouraged all of the associates to start marketing and building a “brand” themselves. This includes meeting regularly with the firm’s marketing director, developing short- medium- and long-term goals and attending LinkedIn seminars. This can be a challenge for a young associate in an increasingly crowded legal marketplace, but it is key to begin building the business foundation for your firm’s practice or your own practice.
How do other associates out there handle or juggle these different responsibilities?