iting the need to check and recheck.
As one partner at a global law firm counsels new associates,
“We never guess. We always look it up.”
CONSISTENCY IN CAREER ADVICE
Even with an increased focus on providing new lawyers with
formal training and career advice, some new lawyers don’t get
it. But certain best practices can make teaching more effective.
To help ensure that lawyers pay attention when getting
career advice, be clear about the benefits. “Junior lawyers are
more likely to follow advice if the person giving advice can
identify someone who succeeded by taking the recommended
path,” said Elaine Ventola, assistant director for JD Advising at
Harvard Law School and former senior manager of training at
Goodwin Procter LLP.
Credibility is crucial. Lawyers are trained to think critically,
which can lead to skepticism about career advice. Those who
provide career advice should be explicit about their credentials. An endorsement from another party, such as a dean or
managing partner, also promotes credibility.
Ventola added that junior lawyers are more likely to follow
advice if they hear it from multiple sources. Repetition helps new
lawyers remember and also emphasizes the importance of the
message. Make sure advice from various sources is consistent.
One of the main reasons new lawyers fail to follow career advice
is that it conflicts with other information they have received.
To succeed in the new reality of legal economics, new lawyers
must learn early on to manage their careers proactively and
build their practices, engender trust with senior lawyers and
focus on providing value to clients. Those lessons will take
hold more quickly if numerous credible messengers repeat
them regularly. LP
Grover E. Cleveland is a Seattle attorney,
speaker and author of Swimming Lessons for
Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as
a New Lawyer.