• Russell Michaelson

Working Your First Job Out of Law School - 4 Helpful Tips


Surviving law school and the several months studying for your bar exam tests your mettle in so many ways. The grind challenges more than your knowledge of the legal system. You’ll also prove resilience and the ability to persevere through challenging moments. However, the real test starts after landing your first job. In this article, let a Criminal Lawyer share some practical tips learned through experience.


Accept that You May Have an Erratic Workload

In the initial months at your new job, expect that you’ll have erratic workloads. Some days you might be frantically chasing deadlines, while at other times, you might worry about finding enough work to fill your day. If you’re assigned a challenging task just a couple of hours before you’re heading out the door, remember that your response is part of your evaluation as a new member of the firm.


Your completion of tasks reflects your capabilities and lets them know whether they can trust you concerning the firm’s most important projects. When swamped with seemingly endless assignments, keep getting sleep and decent food. These little things can make a world of difference. Also, don’t be afraid to talk with team members about encroaching deadlines. Help out your colleagues when they’re busy, and they’ll return the favour.





Learn from Paralegals and Assistants

While you’re knowledgeable about the law after many years of school and study, don’t overlook paralegals and assistants’ expertise. They’re likely more experienced and knowledgeable about how the firm works.

Tap into their wealth of knowledge by asking questions and paying attention to the administrative tasks they handle. They will be assisting you in maintaining communication with clients and preparing you for trials and hearings. Please respect the work they do because case outcomes and, ultimately, your success depends on their efforts.




Grab Opportunities to Interact with Senior Partners

Snap up every opportunity you get to interact with the senior partners. When invited to informal social gatherings organised after work, don’t worry about going up and holding a conversation yourself. When there are new people around, ask an older team member to introduce you. If you’ve been doing some good work, your name has likely come up, and they’ll want to meet the new associate who’s made quite the impression. You might find yourself broadening your legal knowledge, starting a new friendship, or obtaining an invaluable mentor.


Admit it When You Need Help and Guidance

Don’t expect to know precisely how to handle each assignment that comes your way. If you’re unsure how to proceed, make an effort to research everything you can about the case. Get all the in-depth details, and you might figure out what to do next. Ask for clarifications whenever needed so that you can perform well. Take notes for future reference and remember that conventions exist for a reason--try new approaches only after discussing with team members.

It’s also vital that you admit errors, take responsibility, and correct them quickly. Please avoid assigning blame since it rarely succeeds and damages your reputation, and corrupts the level of trust within your workplace.

Starting your career as an associate at a law firm is an incredible opportunity. Use this chance to hone your skills, and you’ll soon get ahead in the legal sphere.

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