The first step in the careers of most successful associates in law firms is gaining the trust of the partners they are working for. The best associates are given assignments, complete them thoroughly and without errors, do so without aggravating the partners they are working for and then ask for more assignments. The ability to do good work and want more work is something that gives the partners the associates are working for security that the work will be done properly. The associates' reputations for caring about their work, being reliable and doing good work makes them stand out. In addition, these same associates work well with others, support the firm and its objectives and are nice to be around.

In contrast, the associates who get weeded out will often cut corners in their work, question whether the partner really needs certain things done, act unhappy a lot of the time, make errors, and, in general, approach the assignments with a lack of care and attention to detail. They will not seek out work and rarely will treat each assignment as if it is the most important thing in the world to them. Compared to the best associates, this behavior gets noticed and puts them at a lower level than the other associates out there.


1. Superstar Associates Enjoy Their Jobs and Are Enthusiastic


The best attorneys of all types enjoy their jobs. In fact, some of the best ones have said things to me like, "I cannot believe I get paid to do this."


When a really talented associate gets a choice assignment, he often appears so excited he could jump out of his skin. Partners love this enthusiasm and want to give work to (and advance) people who find joy in their work. It is this love of the work that often gets clients good results, impresses clients and makes people around these associates enjoy their jobs.