This week I presented to summer associates at 8 law firms across the country. Having studied attorneys’ careers for the past 30+ years and written a book on the topic, Your Fairy Job Mentor’s Secrets for Success, my goal is to provide them with the habits and mindset that will move them from a “school mentality” to a “thrive mentality.”
Below are a few of the tools I shared with these new professionals:
- Focus on client service. Contribution is what drives the most successful and fulfilled attorneys. They are motivated to produce excellent work because they want to help their internal and external clients.
- Ask questions. Stop overthinking and get clarification. It’s okay not to know substantive areas of law, but it’s not okay to just assume things or spin your wheels.
- Release the limiting belief that perfectionism is attainable. You may not get an “A” on all your assignments—and that’s okay. You will have the greatest career growth if you allow yourself to be “a work in progress” and focus on progress over perfection.
- Take ownership over your career. During these in-person or Zoom trainings, I have each summer associate identify three goals they have for their summer experience. This can include areas of practice they want to try, relationships they want to initiate or skills they want to develop. They key is that they need to initiate and create these growth opportunities!
Based on your experiences and observations, what advice would you give to new legal professionals starting their career in Big Law?