Advice for New Associates

Posted by Editor Kristi Heidel

The follow is an excerpt from Ivy Grey, Advice to My Young Associate Self, Law Technology Today (Apr 26, 2017).

Trust is hard to earn, but easy to lose.
Nothing builds trust better than consistently producing correct, high-quality, timely work product. …Yes, those nitpicky typos really do matter. And, no, your analysis is not so nuanced and brilliant that you can skip proofreading!

Mistake response defines you.
The question is not whether you make a mistake, it’s when. Accepting responsibility for your mistakes show humility, that you take ownership over your work, and that you can learn from your mistakes.

Check for blind spots. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Blind spots are biggest when you first begin to practice law. As you gain experience, you will develop judgment and gain a better sense of where the blind spots might be. …You can begin to uncover your blind spots through mentoring, actively reading bar publications, listening to podcasts, and participating in your local bar association.

More does not mean better.
A longer, more complex brief, memo, or contract is not necessarily a better one. Needless language or complexity provides more room for error. This is contrary to what we learned from law school!

Looking busy doesn’t help.
Spending 12 hours to find a solution that you could have reached in two hours does not make you a hero. It makes you slow and demonstrates lack of judgment.

Start from scratch, but don’t go it alone.
Don’t fall into the trap of relying too heavily on precedent documents. …Precedent documents can obscure the fact that you do not understand the assignment or your client’s goals. Start by outlining your assignment on your own.

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