Summary: Follow this important advice as an attorney and you will have a successful career.

Follow this important career advice as an attorney if you want to be successful.

1. Your Attitude Is Just as Important as the Quality of Your Work

A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes


In most law firms, there are various people who have a negative impression of the firm or don’t like the management. There are also people who may have no problem with the organization but who get angry or have a bad attitude when they are assigned additional tasks.

Most healthy legal employers will generally not advance these people and, in many cases, will try and force them out the door. The saying “one bad apple can spoil the bunch” is certainly true. If you have a bad attitude, the firm generally does not want you around.

Several years ago, there was a large law firm in Silicon Valley that suddenly lost almost all of its corporate/transactional-related work. They had over 100 corporate attorneys who were sitting around doing nothing, complaining about the lack of work and being quite negative. This law firm did the most interesting thing. It took all of these attorneys and moved them to a separate building because they were dragging down the morale of all of the other attorneys in the firm. They did not want these negative attorneys around their other attorneys. Ultimately morale improved after the negative attorneys were removed from the equation.

2. If You Spend Time with Negative People, Your Firm Will Assume You Have a Negative Attitude Too

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was suspended for a semester. He had upset a teacher in the school greatly by his actions. For reasons that are unclear to me to this day, this same teacher sought me out and told me he really wanted to write my college recommendations for me. I agreed, thinking he had good intentions. He wrote me the worst possible recommendation he could. He also did the same thing to another one of my friends.