So, I’m over 6 weeks into my new position and and I feel really settled and content with my new routine and working life. I thought it might be a nice idea to sit down and write a little blog about sharing some advice on how to put your best foot forward in a firm and make the transition easier and less overwhelming. Starting at a firm can be quite intimidating sometimes and it can take a bit of time to adjust not only to the line of work, but the environment, people, culture and general working life. One of the most important things to remember is that you aren’t gonna know everything straight away – take your time and breath, everything will come together.
Here are some of my top tips in making the transition:
- Introduce yourself to the team – In older times, you could walk around the office and introduce yourself to other members of your team and the wider department. However, that’s not possible now. Maybe drop people in your team an email introducing yourself and ask them if there is anything that you can do to help. Even though I cringe every time I send an email to a person for the first time, it is massively important to reach out and break that initial silence. When I was growing up my mum always drilled into me to do this as it’s good manners and shows your willingness to meet people and establish relationships from an early stage. Also, double check the spelling of people’s names before sending an email (I made this mistake before).
- Get involved in things outside of work – Learning that your firm is a business as well as a law firm is massively important. Understanding this and treating it as a business offers a different perspective and allows you to develop relationships with people that may not be involved solely in law. Collectively, you are all working towards the same goal – to promote the firm and have a good work/life balance. For me, business development (BD) is hugely important to me. Thanks to this platform, I love writing articles, connecting with clients and exploring further areas of growth. Explore the firm’s committees, pro-bono opportunities etc and expand upon your own personal interests.
- Take responsibility for your mistakes – It’s inevitable that you will make mistakes. Absolutely, no one is perfect and learning everyday is part of the job. It could be as simple as photocopying a document wrong or as big as sending an email to the wrong person. However, once the mistake is made don’t linger on it and keep it to yourself. Take responsibility for it, apologise and offer to fix it. Don’t waste time mulling it over in your brain, make it right or at least try. As a junior, this is arguably a hard lesson that we all face but how you overcome the mistake says a lot about your character.
- Be curious and interested in the work – show an interest in the deals, clients and matters at the firm. But be genuine. This kind of ties in with point 1. Firstly, people will start to learn what deals you are interest in and give you work tailored to that but equally I find people tend to trust you more and give you more complex tasks. Lastly, with time you will gain a broad array of experience and get more out of your experience with the firm. You might find that an area you never explored turns out to be the seat you want to qualify into!
- Become tech-savvy – this is definitely something that I still need to improve on. With firms become more environmental friendly and the court transitioning from hard copy bundles to ecopies, it it more important now than ever to learn how to properly utilise programs such a Microsoft office, adobe acrobat etc. Invest in your free time to gain a deep understanding of these and it will make your life so much easier.
And lastly, breath – this is an exciting time so don’t sweat the small stuff. You will meet amazing people and do incredible things – believe in yourself and your abilities.