During interviews of prospective associates I’m often asked whether I received “substantive” work during my first few years as an attorney working at a large law firm. The implication being, of course, that working for a large law firm means reviewing documents in a poorly lit file room for the first two or three years of one’s practice.

The first part of my response is always the same. In my experience, associates get the kind of work that they show they are competent to handle and that they seek out when opportunities arise.

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