Summary: Learn the specific steps that are required to achieve success as a first year associate in a law firm.
Professional success is a two-way street, requiring action on the part of both the law firm and the lawyer. A law firm can help its attorneys achieve success by defining its performance expectations, by integrating those expectations in its practice and by providing professional development support. An attorney can succeed by defining what success means to him or her, by knowing what the firm's expectations are, by having a plan and following it and by remaining flexible.
Before considering the respective roles of law firms and lawyers in achieving professional success, let's consider what clients and law firms have taught us about what it takes to be a successful lawyer. First and foremost, lawyers must command the law. The good news is that law schools provide every first-year lawyer with many tools that will be useful going forward, not least of which are knowledge of the law and core skills in legal research, writing and analysis. The bad news is that knowing the law and competence in core or "hard" legal skills are not enough to be a successful lawyer.
Successful lawyers also command business acumen and "soft skills," including practice management, client service, business development and people skills. While the particular mix of soft skills may vary from one legal environment to another, all practice environments require them.
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