Whether you’re a junior associate just barely surviving Biglaw, thriving in Biglaw, or somewhere in between, this Career Center Tip of the Day series is for you.
For many of you junior associates, the extent of your experience with Biglaw layoffs was reading about them on Above the Law from the safety of your law school classroom. But now that you can call yourself a cog in the Biglaw wheel, perhaps you’ve wondered what you can practically do to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, just in case the economy takes another turn for the worse.
Or maybe you’re the superstar of your class, and you never worry about getting the ax. These tips are for you, too. The more valuable you become to your firm, the more control you will have over the direction of your career.
In the comments to Elie’s Sugar Mama post from yesterday, which chronicles the woes of a female Biglaw associate who is being harassed by coworkers for affiancing (KABLAM: Princeton Review Hit Parade) a Starbucks barista “peasant,” Bonobo_Bro wrote:
Not bad big guy (other than the usual typo issues which must be intentional); however, I really think you should’ve handled this pls handle thx style because I’d love to see Marin’s opinion of women with lower income life partners.
Rex and either thirty-six other anonymous internet trolls or one troll logging on from 36 different computers liked this comment. My mandate was clear. The people thirsted for my response…
Please think for a second before you hit “send” and launch your next e-mail.
There are actually a bunch of things you should think about before sending your next e-mail, but today I’ll rant about just one: the “subject” line.
My rant comes in three parts.
First, the “subject” line has the potential to be helpful. At a minimum, an intelligent subject line can get my mind in gear for the information that I’m about to read, and perhaps can give me some sense of the urgency of your communication. At a maximum, an intelligent subject line can convey an entire message.
So use the thing! Please don’t send me e-mails with subject lines that are entirely blank. You’ve missed an opportunity to make communication easier, and you’ve forced me to pop open your e-mail to learn what you’re writing about. Put a few words in the subject line, to tell me what’s coming.
Second, please remember who I am and who you are. If you work at Kirkland & Ellis, it wouldn’t be too helpful to receive many e-mails with subject lines that read “Kirkland & Ellis.” That subject line wouldn’t distinguish one e-mail message from the other. You are Kirkland & Ellis; you don’t need to be told that every e-mail is about Kirkland & Ellis….
So lawyers, if you’ve recently been laid off or have been out of school for over a year without a job, it’s probably time to look at your résumé and take out any reference to the fact that you’re, you know, “dynamic.”
Sure, you might be. But so is everyone else. And, more importantly, nobody cares anyway.
LinkedIn’s analytics team reviewed 85 million LinkedIn profiles and came out with a list of the most “clichéd and overused” phrases found on people’s resumes.
As they succinctly say, “You know what they are — those ambiguous ones that really don’t tell you anything.”
Here are the 2010 top 10 buzzwords used in the U.S., according to them….
Flattery will get you everywhere in your legal career.
Really. Professors at the Kellogg Business School did an entire study and figured out that people with a legal background are especially skillful at sucking up — and sucking up will take you far.
On the one hand, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. People kiss up because kissing up works. On the other hand, the study is massively disappointing. You’d think that people could see through blatant brown-nosing. But people in powerful positions either can’t see through the BS, or they actually like it when underlings kiss the ring.
Truth to power? Overrated. Sniveling in front of your betters? That’s what people are looking for…
Even in the economic heyday of a few years ago, making partner at a law firm was never a guaranteed outcome for every associate. But at large law firms today, partnership prospects look worse than ever. Whether you want to pursue that elusive partnership goal or opt out to work in-house, one thing is certain: you can’t just expect everything to fall into place; you have to take control of your career.
Last month, the Career Center’s Miami Professional Development Panel provided insider perspectives on how associates can increase their chances at making partner or landing an in-house job. Panelists included:
Adolfo Jimenez – Partner, Holland & Knight
Tiffani Lee – Partner, Holland & Knight
Albert Dotson, Jr. – Partner, Bilzin Sumberg
Jonathan Jaffe – Director & Associate Counsel, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
Today is the official release date of Law & Reorder, a new book by Deborah Epstein Henry, a leading consultant to the legal profession. Henry, whom we’ve interviewed and written about before, is an expert on such topics as workplace restructuring, talent management, work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of lawyers — all topics that are covered in her book.
We chatted with Henry on Friday over the phone, about the changes taking place in the legal profession, whether they’re good news or bad news, and how law students and lawyers can navigate in this new environment….
This week we present part two of our series on using internal networking to advance your career within your law firm. Last week we discussed networking to make partner; this week’s focus is on how to get better assignments.
As we mentioned last week, in order to succeed and be truly satisfied with your Biglaw career, you will need to do more than to simply be a great attorney. There are thousands of talented and hardworking attorneys out there who leave the world of Biglaw jaded, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Yes, Biglaw may not be the be-all and end-all for everyone, but there are many attorneys who play the Biglaw game, and play it well. By utilizing networking skills and tactics while working at a Biglaw firm, a young associate can increase his or her chances of succeeding AND being satisfied.
As soon as a young attorney gets a job offer and begins working, networking typically takes a backseat until a new job search begins. This fact is not surprising. Junior associates must maintain high billable hours, participate in countless training and CLE events, and still attend various non-billable firm events. While networking and the daily tasks of a junior associate are not mutually exclusive, networking still deserves some individual and active attention from time to time.
In order to succeed and be truly satisfied with your Biglaw career, you will need to do more than to simply be a great attorney. There are thousands of talented and hardworking attorneys out there who leave the world of Biglaw jaded, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Yes, Biglaw may not be the be-all and end-all for everyone, but there are many attorneys who play the Biglaw game and play it well. By utilizing networking skills and tactics while working at a Biglaw firm, a young associate can increase his or her chances of succeeding AND being satisfied.
There are two basic goals that are common for associates in large law firms: making partner and getting better assignments. In today’s Career Center "Expert Insights" article, we will cover networking with the goal of making partner. In next week’s article, we will cover how to network to get better assignments. We will post the complete article next week on the Associate Resources section of the Career Center (where you can find many career improvement articles).
So if your goal is to make partner, what steps should you take?
So I was invited to a rock concert in California with a couple of young, “normal” partners. Presumably it was because I expressed interest in the music (and would have attended anyway).
What is the expected protocol for concert attendance in this type of social setting? Am I expected to pre-party with them or offer to drive? I don’t want to be known as the office Bogart.
– Rolling Another Billable
Dear Rolling Another Billable,
Make no mistake, these junior partners invited you to this “rock” concert to see if you have that je ne sais quoi it takes to make partner. After all, any schmuck with a pen can draft a purchase agreement, but only a true partner-track associate knows all the lyrics to The Scientist and can ROCK OUT to Ants Marching. This concert is the most important night of your law firm career thus far, and if you’re not going to screw it up, you’re going to need a few pointers…
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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