Summertime is almost here and numerous law students will begin jobs, many in law firms. These are probably the lucky ones, because they will have an edge over colleagues who were unable to secure a position. Our previous blogs discussed various strategies for these unemployed students to use to find jobs in order to avoid the summertime blues. But how about a few pointers for those who will be working in a law firm? Of course, you are required to do excellent work. What else do we suggest? Make yourself memorable!
Millennials are often viewed as self-absorbed with unreasonable expectations and a sense of entitlement. Sorry folks, it doesn’t sound pretty, and that’s the short version! But we know they also have technological skills that previous generations don’t. Everyone is replaceable, but position yourself such that the firm would really miss your contributions if you weren’t around. You may wish to consider:
- Tech Advantage: Use your special technological abilities not only to produce high quality work in a timely manner, but also to consider developing or contributing to your firm’s social networking sites. Go beyond the standard Blog and suggest topics that are cutting edge or may be unique for a multi-generational audience - but always ensure that you have your employer’s approval prior to publication.
- Dress Like A Professional: while it may be acceptable to dress in jeans and Birkenstocks, it’s just not professional. That is not the image that your firm wants intra-firm or with clients. It’s sort of like when you had your interview and sat at lunch with several attorneys…do you think they took you out merely to feed you and ask questions? Of course not, they also observed your manner and presence, thinking about how you might appear when taking a client to lunch. While “dress like a professional” does not necessarily mean wearing a suit or tie, dress the part. Ask yourself this “if the partner spontaneously asked me to go to court with him, how would I want to look to represent the firm and myself to the judge?” When in doubt, consider the three “C’s”: current, classic, conservative. [No, these are not contradictory, you can do it!]
- Social Abilities; Demonstrate that you can hold your own in a conversation with colleagues and clients. Maintain self-control at firm functions where alcohol is served, just as you (hopefully) would at a business lunch. Future employers are often part of a generation that wants to believe that you know how to communicate beyond the keyboard.
- Show Respect for Generational Differences: You’ll be working with people from several different generations. It’s very important to recognize that you must show respect for them and their ways of doing things, even though your own opinions may differ.
- Learn About the Firm Culture; understanding the firm’s environment will be an advantage towards determining how to best become memorable.
Congratulations on obtaining a summer associate position….now go make yourself memorable!