In parts one, two and three of the Career Center “Tip of the Day” series, focused on how junior associates can become more indispensable to their law firms, we covered the importance of taking ownership of your work, becoming an expert in your field, and developing effective management strategies. Today, we’ll discuss a point that sounds obvious but has some subtleties: following the rules.

These tips are provided by the experienced recruiters at Lateral Link, who, in addition to providing sound career advice, can advance your career by consulting with you on the hundreds of law firm and in-house positions they have in their network.

Now, on to tip #4….

For corporate attorneys, generally knowing the Securities Act and Exchange Act rules is usually enough to get by. By contrast, litigators not only need to be familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but with the varying local rules of court and the judge’s chamber rules as well.

Unfortunately, many litigators assume that these rules are just minor ones about timing and page length, so they tend to rely on their secretaries and/or paralegals to know them. While secretaries and paralegals can certainly be helpful, as a junior associate you should take it upon yourself to always double-check the rules.

For example, whether or not communication is privileged between counsel and witnesses during deposition recesses varies from court to court. You may inadvertently waive attorney-client privilege by talking to your witness during a deposition break, simply because you didn’t bother to check the local rules.

You don’t want to make a costly mistake or have your case dismissed, because you failed to comply with what you thought was some insignificant rule.

Earlier: How to Become an (Almost) Indispensable Junior Associate (Part 1)
How to Become an (Almost) Indispensable Junior Associate (Part 2)
How to Become an (Almost) Indispensable Junior Associate (Part 3)