Who’s Your Daddy? Understanding New Lawyers’ First Top Clients

For new lawyers entering private practice this Fall, the whole scene can be daunting. In addition to just finding the restrooms in your new firm, there are beastly challenges starting with clearly understanding your primary top clients.

Below are a few ways you can take positive steps to boost your standing early on:

Know Your Top Clients. During the first few years of practice, it is essential that new lawyers recognize that their top clients are the lawyers to whom they directly (and indirectly) report. Essentially all firm lawyers. They will watch and evaluate how well you take on and complete assignments. Impress them.
Develop Positive Habits. Arrive a little early and stay a little late. Demonstrate your commitment and partners will notice. Earn their attention in a positive way by becoming the best lawyer you can be.
Never Turn Down Work. Not only is delivering a high quality work product required every time, but also the manner in which you handle the project delivery process will be scrutinized. Do you gladly accept projects or complain that you will have to work the weekend? None of this will go un-noticed. Bet on it and respond accordingly.
Get Involved in the Firm. Volunteer for a committee assignment such as the summer associate or hiring committee. Partners will be impressed with the initiative you take to integrate into the firm.
Practice the Golden Rule. You can make strong allies for life or de-rail your career early on by how kind you are to support staff. They know the ropes and can help you in a pinch, or not. Do not overlook how important support staff is to your success.
Shepherd Marketing Initiatives. Most lawyers struggle with consistency in their marketing initiatives. Find out what your practice group is (or is not) doing and volunteer to shepherd a specific project. Facilitate a new blog or some other direct communication for your group.
You Receive As Much Feedback As You Seek. As you hone your craft, actively seek feedback from everyone with whom you work. Partners and other supervisors will appreciate your enthusiasm and take note.
Pay It Forward. As you progress in your career, don’t forget to help newer attorneys as others helped you.

While there are so many other steps new lawyers can take to embrace their first years of practice, follow the steps above and you will be recognized as being a cut above.