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10 Surprising Things You Need to Know for Your Legal Career

Congratulations, you’re an associate! Now forget everything you thought you knew about being a lawyer. Your life as you knew it—as one of the smartest people in the room—is over. But don’t worry; you’ll survive… if you remember these 10 rules:

If you’re on time, you’re late

Your colleagues should never have to wait for you. If you walk into a meeting at its scheduled time, you’re late.

You’re not expected to know everything

It will feel strange. It will make you uncomfortable. But saying “I don’t know” when you don’t know will be one of the best things you can do early on in your career.

Be seen and not heard

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. Be available, present and ready to jump in. Just don’t embarrass yourself by saying too much too soon.

You want the most comfortable chair possible

You’re going to spend a lot of time alone in your office poring over documents. So get a comfortable chair.

You’re not getting paid to collate

You may be asked to make sure administrative work is complete. This doesn’t mean you’re supposed to physically do the work. Work with the support staff.

Names matter

Never ever misspell a partner’s name on a document. In fact, never ever misspell any name. Not even in an email.

Break your own bad news

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a case. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake. When you do, say so. Don’t let your superiors hear discover it for themselves.

“Manage up”

You probably won’t have anyone reporting to you right away, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be a manager. “Manage up” by making your supervisor look good.

No job is too small

Sometimes you’re going to have to do boring, tedious work. Do it as best you can and with a smile. Small jobs lead to bigger jobs.

Don’t check your bag

Get to travel with colleagues? Don’t check your bag. You do not want to be the person everyone has to wait for, especially in an airport terminal. Not ever.


About the Author

Sumita Dalal is the Founder and CEO of FindMyLawTutor, the largest and most trusted website and online portal that connects law students with law tutors for success in law school. Whether preparing for the LSAT, are currently a law student or are studying for the bar exam, FindMyLawTutor makes finding a law tutor fast and easy.

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