Practice Tip (via ABL): How to Become an (Almost) Indispensable Junior Associate

Short of going solo, there’s almost no way around the fact: you’re going to be a junior associate before you become a partner. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait to be a partner to start thinking like one.

Start now, says Above the Law.

Take ownership of winning your case or completing your deal.  Of course, the ultimate outcome of any case or deal is the lead partner’s responsibility.  But the point of taking ownership is to think like a partner, and demonstrate that you are committed to getting the best result for the client.  This involves much more than simply doing a good job on the tasks you are assigned.  Taking ownership of your case or deal requires you to first understand the case or deal as a whole, and then actively think about how every part relates to the big picture.  So, for example, even if you are stuck doing doc review or due diligence, approach these tasks with an eye toward spotting the important issues that will help prove the theory of the case, or information that your client would want to know about the company it’s buying.  And then don’t be afraid to bring up those issues to the partner or senior associate to get his or her thoughts.

As soon as you take ownership, it’s amazing how fast the case changes in your eyes. You make fewer mistakes, conduct more thorough research, and are willing to spend the extra hours to get the job done, or even to just be available to get the job done. Work starts to flow your direction, and suddenly–ta da! You’re indispensable.

Check out the full post over at ABL (an indispensable blog for every attorney’s sanity).

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