Congratulations, you have graduated from law school, passed the bar and landed your first job. Not too long ago, you were cramming for exams and contemplating what type of law you were most interested in practicing. OK, perhaps, you were diligently outlining every weekend while daydreaming of what it felt like to put all of the theory you learned in law school to use. Every lawyer’s journey will be different. But every lawyer must realize that at some point he is in charge of his own career. You should start taking proactive steps for long-term success in your first year. All first-year associates intend to work hard, challenge themselves and learn the individual nuances of their chosen practice area. However, first-year associates should also consider the ideas and opportunities listed below. All of these ideas and opportunities will allow you to place yourself in a position for long-term success within your first year.
Accept That Failure Precedes Success
All lawyers should strive for perfection because our clients and the profession demand it. However, achieving perfection does not happen overnight. Your particular field of law will include a learning curve that can take months if not years to conquer. Realizing that failure precedes success will help you to accept the constructive criticism a partner or fellow associate may provide to you on a memo, brief, or motion, even if it literally bleeds with red ink. It will also help you to realize that getting to where your boss is in his or her career was a marathon, not a sprint. Throughout this marathon, mistakes will happen. Own these mistakes and learn from them. It will only make you a better attorney the next time you encounter a similar issue, which will inevitably occur.
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