Joining a new firm is exciting. But it can also be challenging for a variety of reasons, like meeting new colleagues, assimilating into a new work environment, and understanding the responsibilities and commitments of your new role. In my first week, I’ve been fortunate to immediately experience the hard work it takes to be a member of the Terpening Law team.
In reflecting upon the past week, I’ve found that the following ideas have helped to make my transition a successful one:
Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.
Whether it’s coming in a little earlier or making yourself available for last minute client calls or schedule changes, avail yourself to every opportunity you’re given. Your first few weeks give an impression of your work ethic and desire to be a member of the team. Plus, it’s the best way to understand current cases, client relationships, and most importantly, how the firm operates.
There is such a thing as a stupid question – avoid them.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of ask first and think later. Especially in a new environment with what seems like an overwhelming work load. But nothing is more detrimental to your confidence than asking a question and receiving an obvious answer (that you already knew!). Taking the time to try and answer a question before posing it helps to see if you already know the answer and also helps you craft a well-articulated question.
Pay attention to the little things.
Attention to detail is a fundamental skill for all great attorneys. And eliminating small mistakes like typos or faulty emails goes a long way in building confidence in your work product and work ethic. There are many other substantive mistakes that you can make – so being stringent in eliminating the little ones is essential.
Be honest about who you are and what you want to accomplish.
My very first day, Will sat down and communicated short and long-term goals for me at Terpening Law. He asked about my interests and what my goals are as an associate. And since then, everything that I’ve done has been in-line with that conversation. Had I been less forthcoming, I wouldn’t have received the responsibilities and opportunities that I’m looking forward to working on!