Three Things First Year Associates Should Know

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For first year associates surviving your first year of law firm life can be a challenge, but it gets easier when you’re prepared with the knowledge that was hard earned by those before you. Let’s take a look at three things every first-year associate should know before they start work at a law firm.

  1. Time is money.  At a law firm, time is about billable hours but it is also about how many hours you spend making connections, building new business, and finishing your cases.  Learn to schedule your time wisely and you will find yourself much richer than other first year associates.
  2. A top tier school only gets you so far. Where you went to school can help open doors to some of the best law firms in the country but there’s a limit. The associate who can bill the most hours and build the most business is the associate who will have the most value. Don’t underestimate colleagues who didn’t go to a top law school, if their work is high quality and they bill a lot of hours they have a good chance of advancing ahead of you if you can’t measure up.
  3. The world is bigger than your office. If you want to make a real impact and get ahead, you must network outside of your office. Attending events and conferences in the industries you serve will pay off in the long run. Those are the connections that will send business your way and make a good impression on your law firm’s partners.

If you can make some wise moves in your first year as a lawyer, you will improve your chances of advancing despite your limited experience.

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