Congratulations! The years of preparation, hard work and discipline have paid off with a law school degree and a first-year attorney position. However, now is not the time to relax. This article suggests actions that every first-year attorney can (and should) take now to have the career he or she wants in the future. It also provides information on what some law firms and other legal employers are doing to help their beginning lawyers develop professionally.

Professional success is a two-way street, requiring action on the part of both the law firm and the lawyer. A law firm can help its attorneys achieve success by defining its performance expectations, by integrating those expectations in its practice and by providing professional development support. An attorney can succeed by defining what success means to him or her, by knowing what the firm’s expectations are, by having a plan and following it and by remaining flexible.

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