LegalJob was recently asked about the key to being a successful associate. The question and response (both below) were posted in today's Monday mailbag.
Q: What does LegalJob advise that I should focus on in addition to meeting my firm's billable hour requirements? I am a mid-level associate at [big law firm]. I meet my billable hours requirements but I am concerned because, compared to my peers, I don't spend too much time at the office participating in firm activities because I have a new born at home.
LegalJob: Good question. As an aside, LegalJob has advised in other posts about possible activities an associate can engage in over and above what is required (e.g., participate in firm leadership, mentor younger folks, seek opportunities to speak, publish articles, etc.). These other activities can be helpful, however, an associate's first, second, and third priority should be on doing good work. So to your question, producing excellent work is what you should focus on, especially since your time is limited. It seems obvious but many folks do not appreciate the fact that consistently producing good work is what can distinguish you from others come partner time or when partners are assigning work. The other stuff is just gravy.
Here are some tips for producing excellent work product:
► Take the time to get it technically right.
► Take the time necessary to present a well-written work product.
► Make sure you work product is in the format that is consistent with partner/client preferences (ask before assuming).
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