If there’s one thing we do a lot of as lawyers, it’s write, and read, a lot of email. Making sure an email is read is as important as the information in it. An unread email might as well not be sent (except for liability reasons, but that’s another blog post…). [Read more…]
Behold, 29 suggestions for keeping that creative spark alive:
Short of going solo, there’s almost no way around the fact: you’re going to be a junior associate before you become a partner. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait to be a partner to start thinking like one.
Start now, says Above the Law.
Take ownership of winning your case or completing your deal. Of course, the ultimate outcome of any case or deal is the lead partner’s responsibility. But the point of taking ownership is to think like a partner, and demonstrate that you are committed to getting the best result for the client. This involves much more than simply doing a good job on the tasks you are assigned. Taking ownership of your case or deal requires you to first understand the case or deal as a whole, and then actively think about how every part relates to the big picture. So, for example, even if you are stuck doing doc review or due diligence, approach these tasks with an eye toward spotting the important issues that will help prove the theory of the case, or information that your client would want to know about the company it’s buying. And then don’t be afraid to bring up those issues to the partner or senior associate to get his or her thoughts.
As soon as you take ownership, it’s amazing how fast the case changes in your eyes. You make fewer mistakes, conduct more thorough research, and are willing to spend the extra hours to get the job done, or even to just be available to get the job done. Work starts to flow your direction, and suddenly–ta da! You’re indispensable.
Check out the full post over at ABL (an indispensable blog for every attorney’s sanity).
- Career Center Survey Results: Another Working Holiday (abovethelaw.com)
- Law Practice Tip #4: read “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” (lawafterthebar.wordpress.com)
- Some tips from a graduate of Utah’s New Lawyer Training Program (lawafterthebar.wordpress.com)
- Career Center Survey: Did you hit your billable hours requirement? (abovethelaw.com)
On writing, from the Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, page 25: “Edit yourself.”
Really. Do it. If you don’t, someone else will have to edit your work for you, and that’s, well, embarrassing.
Further, shorten your sentences.
After I write a brief, I go back and re-read it, concentrating solely on matters of style. I read each paragraph to see if it has a topic sentence. I read each sentence to be sure that it is no more than three and one-half typed lines long. (The average reader can keep the beginning of a sentence in mind for only three and one-half typed lines. If the sentence runs on for five or six lines, the reader will lose his thought and be forced to go back and re-read the beginning of the sentence. This is no way to persuade.)
What are you as a lawyer if not a persuader? So go back to that sentence or paragraph you loved, the one where you waxed eloquent for several pages, and cut it down. Find the passive voice, and replace the verb “to be.”
No one will complain for having to read less to get the same point.