News & Updates

New associates: Step one — develop your skills

Many of you recently passed the state bar exam and were sworn in to practice law within the last couple of months. Now it is time to start practicing law, implement what you learned in law school and begin to learn from your colleagues how to be a lawyer in the real world. Some of you may be looking for advice on how to proceed following your law school experience. I was in your shoes one year ago and will now impart some of the “knowledge” I have learned in my first year as a lawyer. It is up to you to decide if what I have learned is helpful to you or if I am full of it.

Develop a solid foundation

It is tempting to want to hit the ground running. Many lawyers want to try the biggest cases and to leave their mark on the profession. However, in order to do so, you need to develop a solid foundation of skills. In every area of the law, there are steps you must take to develop those skills. My advice is to learn what they are and become proficient in each no matter how rudimentary. Learn how to use a calendar, how to file a document with the court, how best to communicate with partners and clients, and how to work well with others in your firm including the paralegals, staff and assistants. Do not shy away from difficult work or hide from a partner with a reputation for being tough to work for. If there are partners at your firm willing to teach you, be grateful and learn as much as you can from their experiences. I believe the best way for anyone to learn is to do — make sure to gather as much work as possible. Working on a variety of matters will provide you with real-world legal experience and exposure to clients, helping you build your client service skills.

To read the full article, visit The Indiana Lawyer