Associates — here are five ways to get a head start on 2015

This time of year provides a great opportunity to get a head start on 2015.  

Consider taking these five steps:

1. Develop your relationship with a mentor.  Do you have a helpful mentor with whom you work well?  If not, perhaps now is a good time to consider possible candidates and reach out to them.  If you have a mentor, consider reaching out to him or her to discuss what went well in 2014 and goals for 2015.  Make sure you have an agenda though and have questions thought out and written ahead of time so you can maximize your meeting time.

2. Follow-up on your year-end evaluation.  Hopefully, you received some tangible feedback this year as to possible opportunity areas for you to grow and develop as a lawyer.  Prepare a plan for addressing these items.  If you have a plan, perhaps now is a good time to tackle some of the items.  It may also a good time to seek further clarification (possibly from your mentor) for how best to remedy these items.

3. Check in with clients.  Talk with the firm clients for whom you have recently worked and ask how the firm is doing.  Are the clients pleased with the firm’s work?  What are the clients’ goals (legal and non-legal) for 2015?  How can you (and the firm) help?  Note this call should not be about bills or collecting outstanding receivables.  Also, make sure to obtain approval from the appropriate partner before taking this step.  Coordinate with the client contact by email first (or perhaps by phone with his or her assistant) to find a convenient time for a short phone call.

4. Check in with partners.  Talk with the firm partners with whom you have recently worked and ask how you can help in 2015.  Ask where they see the projects coming from in 2015.  This meeting would be a good time to communicate areas for which you would like to work more and develop expertise.  Consider also checking in with partners with whom you would like to work.

5. Check in with your contacts.  Reach out to people that sent you a holiday card and ask them what they are working on, what their top goals are for 2015, and whether you can be helpful in any way (perhaps by your services directly or by connecting that person to someone in your network who could be helpful to them).

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at