It’s often said that new lawyers need to “pay their dues” before stepping up to greater responsibility.
What the dues are can vary depending on what sort of practice setting you’re in. For BigLaw associates, the dues might be late nights document reviewing, researching on Westlaw, and preparing documents for filing. For prosecutors, it might be a busy misdemeanor docket. Whatever it is, the dues are the scut work of the legal world. In this post: A little bit about what dues shouldn’t be, why you have to pay them, and how to do them right.
Continue reading “Paying Your Dues, Done Right”
Lawyers of any seniority—but particularly new associates—worry about where the next assignment will come from. Sure, there is enough work now, but what about tomorrow? Or the next week? How can I possibly make hours?
That often leads new attorneys to look for work even when they are pleasantly busy, and then that additional work becomes a crush of work which leads to getting assignments done within a hairsbreadth of the deadline. At worst, it leads to avoidable errors. At best, even if you never miss a deadline, the constant relentless pace can lead to cynicism and burnout.
The common advice—and advice I whole-heartedly subscribe to—is to enjoy the valleys. If you are busy, push through it. But once you do, you don’t need to set out looking for new work immediately. Take a few quiet days; catch up on business development; go to the movies. Whatever. If you are good at what you do (and if you are conscientious and keeping up on #PracticeTuesday, I bet you are), the work will find you and you will get busy once more. 2,000 billable hours (or whatever your goal is) doesn’t occur in 50 equal weeks of 40 hours each, and you shouldn’t expect it to.
But there’s an advanced lesson, too, for attorneys who have learned to enjoy the valleys.
Continue reading “Enjoy the Valleys, But Pedal Through The Plateaus”