When I was a Big Law associate in the early 2000s, it was still conventional wisdom that the associates’ job, almost exclusively, was to keep their heads down and produce solid work in support of firm clients and the partners. There was little, if any, expectation that associates would engage in business development activity. Developing business was something that associates could worry about later, in the year or two preceding partnership considerations, because many firm clients were institutional and work was passed down through generations.

That formula has changed, of course, because the economics of practicing law have changed. Now the convention within many—if not most—law firms is that it is important for associates to focus on laying the foundation for future business development from Day One.

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