Advice for New Legal Professionals

This past week I presented to over 300 summer associates at law firms across the country. One of the participants asked a great question: “How can I have a successful and fulfilling career in Big Law?”

Having studied attorneys’ careers for the past 30+ years and written a book on the topic, Your Fairy Job Mentor’s Secrets for Success, I shared the following tips with these new professionals who are just starting their legal careers:

  • Focus on serving others. Contribution is what drives the most successful and fulfilled professionals. They are motivated to produce excellent work because they want to help their internal and external clients.  
  • Vulnerability is a superpower. Be willing to feel uncomfortable and take brave action daily. Ask questions and volunteer to take on projects in areas that are unfamiliar. If you regularly feel out of your comfort zone, that’s a good sign because it means you are learning and growing. The most successful lawyers know that feeling vulnerable leads to major career growth opportunities, including business development. 
  • Release the limiting belief that perfectionism is attainable. You will have the greatest career satisfaction if you allow yourself to be “a work in progress” and focus on progress over perfection. The success you desire is much more attainable when you relinquish the myth that perfection is achievable. 

Based on your experiences and observations, what advice would you give to new legal professionals starting their career in Big Law? 

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