Be A Better Lawyer
How To Grow Your Career
“How can I be a better lawyer? What can I do to grow and improve my career?”
There is no easy or universal path. But there are principles and strategies you can adopt to help put you on a path of systemic improvement. I want to share them with you. My advice is blunt, but it will help you create and sustain value over your career.
Why Be A Better Lawyer?
Most Lawyers Are Average
And 50% of lawyers are worse than that. Most lawyers just aren’t that good. The sheer fact that you’re here, looking for ways to improve yourself already puts you ahead of the pack.
There’s an old joke about a bear jumping out of a bush that starts chasing two hikers. They run for their lives, but then one stops to put on their running shoes.
- The friend says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!”
- The other replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear – I only have to outrun you!”
You don’t have to be the best lawyer in the world. You probably aren’t. And that’s okay. But you do need to be better than average.
How Do I Get Better?
Being a good lawyer isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. An ongoing process that doesn’t ever end. You’re never going to hit a plateau where you can just coast.
You need to develop a mindset of systemic improvement. A commitment to being a life-long learner.
There is a concept in zen known as shoshin – “beginner’s mind.” When someone is a beginner, they are eager to learn and open to new ideas. It’s an attitude to cultivate your entire life.
Associate’s Mind is a play on this concept. As you progress over your career, it’s important to retain an “associate’s mind.” Eager to learn and open to new ideas.
Are you ready to learn?
Grow Your Career
A mock memorandum from partners to new hires. It’s satirical, but only marginally so. This is where most lawyers actually start.
You have to be able to connect with unknown people quickly. Who do you think your clients are going to be? You can learn small talk. Here’s how.
When you receive criticism, it can be difficult if you are not used to it. But there are a number of things you can do to help prepare yourself to learn from it.
Clients often come to you confused and vulnerable. They might not understand what’s going on. You have to set their minds at ease and let them know what might happen.
What do you need to do when it’s time to go? What are your duties to clients? To the firm? It’s a tricky path. Here are step-by-step details on how to exit.
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