20220608 - 10 Biggest Career Mistakes Big Law Firm Attorneys Make and 10 Ways to Survive in a Big Firm
[00:00:00] Okay, so hello. So today I'm going to be talking about 10 big mistakes that attorneys and make many times in large law firms. And I'm also 10 ways to survive in large law firms. And this is a pretty important webinar, I think from the standpoint that one. Attorneys end up making these mistakes in their careers.
And and hopefully I will help you to get through and understand what these mistakes are now, today. I unfortunately don't have a ton of time for Q and a, but I will take a few questions after the webinar. And and then we can go from there. So let me just get started. Okay. One of the things about getting and keeping a job in a large law firm is it can be extremely competitive.
And for most attorneys, when you enter a large law firm after law school, it's, you've worked very hard to get there and there's a lot of study and sacrifice and so forth that takes there, takes you there. And what I'm going to talk about today are a lot of unwritten rules that you need to follow to survive.
Thrive in a large law firm. And and this is also a time when a lot of attorneys are [00:01:00] thinking about leaving the practice a lot. And and so I'd like to help you do those rules so you can understand the things you need to avoid. One of the biggest observations I have is that a lot of attorneys who join large law firms at a law school many times it's the highest paid job that they'll ever have and a great number of them.
That's the case. And this applies even those associate joined smaller firms and obviously in New York and Los Angeles, if you're in a major law firm, you can make even more than $200,000 a year when you're right out of school. And for a lot of attorneys with more than 15 years of experience, they in different practice settings, or even in smaller law firms, they do not make as much as you've made coming out of law school and joining a major law firm.
The big thing I think to understand is that most attorneys who joined the largest law firms out of law school never work at firms, this prestigious ever again. They frequently may move a few times to large law firms before stepping out of a large law firm into something smaller, different.
And and the odds are pretty good that if you started a [00:02:00] larger major law firm and you moved to a smaller one that you're never going to work in a law firm, the same size again, which is a fairly scary. And I would say one of the problems that I think large law firms are very good, but at the same time I would say that about half of the attorneys who joined large law firms out of law school are really likely to pay, be playing practicing law and out of, and with the next 10 years.
And I would say more than 85% who joined. Yeah, smaller firms continue practicing. So there's definitely some positives and negatives of joining large law firms. But I do think that there's a lot of rules and things, and it's very, can be very difficult to work in a large law firm.
And and I don't know why there's so much attritional arts law firms. I think some extent, a lot of attorneys in large law firms end up becoming many times burned out and demoralized. And not only that but many attorneys who just, join large law firms and ended up leaving the practice of law entirely.
And and and in addition to that, if you start your [00:03:00] career in a major law firm and then you move here, you're most often not going to be working on matters as large and important as you're working in a large law firm again. And and and so that most of your career is going to be dedicated if you move and don't stay in a large law firm to service and smaller clients.
If you don't sticking a large law firm the, just the truth is that most of your career is more than likely not always, of course, not even the 99% of the time but the more than likely you're going to be making less money, or you're going to be working on matters with less prestige.
And and th there's even a possibility you may not be practicing law. And I think all that says something, I think it says that a big law firm life of course, is not for everyone. But I also think that a lot of people. Don't remain in large law firms because they don't understand how to keep the jobs.
One thing is is that there's rules to keeping the jobs, but there's also things about emotional maturity and understanding kind of what the rules of the game that that [00:04:00] I think are important to understand. And one of the things I. Really would encourage you to realize is that there are a lot of benefits sustained with a large law firm.
And I deal with candidates all the time that come to me and want to, are asking me if they should stay in a large law firm and many times I counsel them not to, but just a larger percentage of the time I counseled them to stay in a large law firm because not only can you do much better from an income standpoint, but there's a prestige that comes with it.
And other benefits that result from being able to commit to a large law firm. The fact is that when you're in a large law firm, most of the time you're able to work on very challenging, legal work much more challenging than then you'll do in house most in-house company. Give their most challenging work to the largest law firms.
The largest companies will give the work to large law firms. They won't do it in house and and they use outside law firms and. And so the working side of a law firm has a lot of advantage. So here are the biggest mistakes [00:05:00] that I see that law attorneys make in large law firms that will end their careers.
And the first one of course is I believe it's getting psyched out. I remember when I was practicing law at a large law firm, it no longer is in business. But I was at a cocktail party one evening. And one of the mid-level associates was joking with a partner about how no one had made partner in this law firm for over 12 years.
And and then the partner that was very clear, he said that's because everyone leaves. And I think that there's a lot of truth to that. I think that people leave firms for a variety of reasons, but I think one of the things is that. That are able to stick it out and succeed who succeed in the long run.
It's often the people with the most staying power. And and and when I look back at the people that I knew when I was young, that became very successful partners. A lot of these were the people that kept their heads down, work hard didn't gossip. And for the most part, really wouldn't even think about working in another law firm.
They were very committed to working in a law firm and and committed to the law firm, their app. And [00:06:00] I think that there is a sense of loyalty that law firms have with people that were summer associates, for example, in general, at a law school, I think. That for the morale of the firm people want to feel like that people can start at the bottom and rise to become partners.
And so I think that if you join it from, at a young age I think you get a lot of political capital or the longer you stay there. I think that there's people to protect you. And I think that people also get psyched out. I think they get psyched out from a lot of reasons. I think one of the reasons is because.
Many times it reviews that, especially with young attorneys and even mid-level attorneys, a lot of times attorneys have no idea what they're doing. They will make various mistakes and blenders on a consistent basis. And and even the most diligent then and there's always partners that, may have weak egos who take great pride in putting people down and love to prove how little they know.
And and this is perfectly normal. It's part of the process of learning and and but people will respond in different ways and sometimes reviews can be very brutal in firms. You can work with people that. Are not [00:07:00] nice. The reviewers often are not nice. They don't always make you feel appreciated.
And and their goal really is many times to make sure you improve. And when the economy is weak, many times, our goal may be to get you to be the first fleet. And this is difficult, especially for young attorneys that may have been praised in school and by their parents. And this negative type of feedback is not something they're used to.
And no one likes negative feedback, no one likes hearing negative things about them, especially when they're working 80 hours a week in a law firm for a faceless client. It's very difficult getting negative feedback. And and I've seen many attorneys leave when they get negative reviews and and or they don't feel, they feel like they don't feel appreciated or they feel like they're not doing something wrong and they feel unsecure.
And I, I completely understand that feeling. It's certainly something that a lot of people feel and it's perfectly normal. Even the most successful attorneys will often feel like they could do better. And and one of the things that, I believe that is, and from my experience, what I've seen in terms of talking [00:08:00] to junior associates and so forth throughout the years is a junior associate typically is not that profitable for a firm.
Once you've been at a firm and you're a mid-level and you're three to six years, then you are profitable, but junior associates are often not profitable because of. That they're learning. They they make mistakes. They don't understand how things are done. They don't understand that.
There's just a lot of things they don't understand. And and so in their sort of law firms often have to write off a lot of their time. I've been made to be doing things in properly. And so the law firm will often give them a negative reviews and those reviews are. Geared towards making, improving, and just driving them up to the level where they're very profitable and where they're doing the kind of work that the firm needs.
And when they get to that level, which not everyone does then the law firm typically will start giving them very good reviews because at three to six years, a very hardworking associate is some is very valuable to the firm because they don't have to write [00:09:00] off a lot of their time. They can give them a lot of work to do their billing rates are low enough that they're not really threatening to partners or anybody.
And and then they start getting very good reviews. And when I read the reviews of mid-level associates and a lot of. People that may have gotten bad reviews when they were junior associates start getting very good reviews as mid-level associates and all of a sudden they think that they're walking on water.
Everyone's told her on the right track and things are looking good. I'm implying that they're going to be partners. And and by this point, people are secure enough that they will start getting married and having children and purchasing homes. And and and they, often will bring home reviews and leave them around the house.
And everybody will be very happy and believe that things are going extremely well. And and and I just it's very common for mid-levels to get very good reviews. And and the, and it's just it's just a rule. So if you're a mid-level, you're gonna, as long as you're doing your job halfway decent, you're going to get very good reviews.
And and the point is that when you're a junior associate, you're almost [00:10:00] always going to get bad reviews. And and the idea is that when your junior and your, the firms are having to write off your time and you're not doing things, and you're not up to speed with everything the law firms going to believe that.
You know that you're going to improve and get to a point we're going to be very profitable and fall in line and everyone needs to be trained. So you don't really learn how to be an attorney. When you're in law school, you learn about all this stuff. When you get out and once you become a mid-level, the law firm will start being very nice to you.
And and really making you feel like you're doing a good job. Once you get to be a you're seven or more, or maybe a little bit more than the interviews start to not get as good. And and the reason is basically because your billing rate rises to the level of partners. And so it becomes I don't want to get too far into it, but it becomes more difficult for the law firm to start.
Sharon work with you because you're billing rates compatible competitive with partners and they start it becomes less, a law firm has a lot of work. The reviews start becoming not necessarily positive and may become opaque or [00:11:00] not make a lot of sense or just vague or they may be good.
But at the same time typically the pattern is that they start not being as good and. The other thing to understand with all reviews is that law firms go through ups and downs, so businesses. And law firms may have issues caused by losing clients that may have issues caused by recessions.
They may have issues caused by partners leaving there's all sorts of issues that can affect law firms. And and then when this happens, law firms are often under a lot of pressure to either cut the associates there, especially the ones that aren't profitable or get them to leave. And and so there's all sorts of times, and it could be just your practice area.
It could be the makeup of your law firms. The you're off this, your particular office, you might be in an office where things aren't going well. The negative review is a way to get people to start leaving. They're often a sham meaning they they, they are not real and you should not take them seriously.
You should realize that they're not necessarily a reflection on you. They're more reflection on the [00:12:00] company at the law firm and what's going on there. And and and just understand that. And many times when you get a bad review during a recession the law firm will be honest with you and I'll just say things aren't going well for us.
And but they, most of the time a lot of law firms are very pre-calculus of the brand, so they try to put it on you, which is unfortunate. But just realize that being in a law firm where that's happened is not pleasant. And and if the law firm is being overly harsh, it could be more to do with them than you.
Another thing is that difficult or undesirable legal matters may upset people. I once was representing a client from New Jersey who is operating a front business, had been sued first address matter by Chinese company. And the one, one point the guy called me on his cell phone and gave me a speech about this is when cell phones weren't that common and Threaten me with some sort of physical violence, so I didn't get the result they wanted.
And and and I actually didn't think I realized he probably wasn't serious, which I'm sure he wasn't. And and I told him I'd meet him [00:13:00] anywhere and, fight him and stuff. And then a few minutes later it was funny, the partner that was assigned to the case, showed up at my door, looking happy and said that guy respect me.
And I didn't want anybody to him working on my case. But the point is that different clients can. Affect you in different ways, different kinds of legal matters can affect you in different days in different ways. And and a lot of people might've been threatened and really upset by that.
And I realized that I probably wasn't the guy probably wasn't serious. He was just trying to get his way. And and then I realized from that perspective, the perspective of this person was just testing me. And and, but different attorneys would have reacted in different ways. And and the other thing is a lot of people will leave firms if they're confronted with a tough, legal matter or a difficult client.
I've seen people leave they've been put in, small cities in the middle of nowhere and and having to spend a lot of time there and and, quit and I've seen others not quit. I've seen the people quit because of being relocated to a certain city.
I've seen people quit just walk off the job. A lot of times I've seen and people leave because of different types of legal matters are put [00:14:00] on. And so what I would recommend is that, when you are put on things, you don't like it is important to not necessarily leave because it's it doesn't look good.
And and I think. It can be very difficult. And I saw one guy leave one of the largest firms in the bay area leave because he was when he was interviewing, he told partners in the firm that he wanted to do white collar litigation. And and he was, he would also be happy doing regular litigation.
He was hired in litigation department and the firm didn't have any white collar litigation forum. And so they started giving him all these commercial litigation assignments and he refused to do them on the grounds that he only wanted to do white collar litigation and the firm let them go and basically blackball them would not give him a good representative.
And he's a good. Reviews and he's been working as a contract attorney ever since. Leaving a firm or getting psyched out because difficult legal matters. Sometimes it's difficult partners and things can be a real mistake. And and it's not something that I recommend doing. You need to be very careful.
Another thing that can really psych people out [00:15:00] is the promise of a lifestyle, a better lifestyle than another firm. And so what a lot of times the attorneys will do is they're under the impression that if they join another firm, they may suddenly not have to work as hard or have nicer colleagues or earn as much money.
And the grass really is going to be a lot greener. When I first started practicing law, In Los Angeles, a friend of mine called telling me how cool it was from was. And they said that I could do entertainment law and talk to how it producers all day long. And and we'll be making L sources, deals and things.
And it sounded really good to me. And and he told me that these guys were even too cool to work in the office. And they were running around and I didn't know it at the time, but they were offering this firm was offering their associates of bounty if they could bring another attorneys.
And and this law firm was nowhere near the type of firm that I was working at the time. And I decided to go interview there and. When I got to the firm I realized it wasn't a fun place. They didn't have a lot of work. And and I've been conned to some extent by going there and we'll leave.
It was a better place. And a lot of attorneys do that. They, people [00:16:00] will point things out about their current firm to them. They may believe there's something wrong with their current firm and the hours and the stress and the types of cases and the belief that this can only be solved by going somewhere else.
And this is sometimes true, but not always. And the things that firms say many times when they're recruiting, people are often the opposite of what happens when someone's working there. A law firm as a business and as a business, they want to make as much money as possible in order to make money.
Law firms need to build a maximum number of hours. And if they have billable work law firms will often focus on it to increase the revenue. And so if you work there you will have to do that work. And in reality even though every law firm has a pitch, the pitch of being a lifestyle firm is really not a realistic because the firm does get a bunch of work.
It's no longer a lifestyle firm. They will make sure that attorneys working they're working as much as possible. And if, when they have a pressing matter or client willing to be. And I once had the Sultan of Brunei is a client and and if he wanted something done, he [00:17:00] basically would want it done in the best way possible.
And and every single angle question and when when he had something that needed to be done, I D I was expected to work as many hours a day as possible because he wanted to go as his attorneys to go all out and do the very best job they could. And the concerns about my lifestyle didn't matter.
And if a client, if a law firm has a large client, the client's going to pay, then the person will do the work and you have to do the work. It's as simple as that. So just, it's important to understand. If someone is promoting to you a lifestyle firm or something along those lines, it's probably not true.
If someone's from wanting to a law firm, that's cooler, a better place to work. It's probably not true. And and it's just, you need to be aware of that whatever, seeing. Anytime the grass seems greener. It's not always the truth. Another thing that Sykes people out is a poor bonus. So a lot of attorneys will quit after receiving a small bonus.
And and you never know why you may have received a spot bonus. It could be a variety of factors that have nothing to do with you. [00:18:00] Many people receive very small bonuses because the law firms have made promises to other partners and there's not enough money left for you. The small bonus may be disappointing, but it's certainly not a sign that the law firm likes you working in a law firm as an attorney is really a long race.
And sometimes a law firms may not just have the money to pay a bonus, or maybe they, they're just not going to, for whatever reason. And your longterm success and happiness should not be determined just by one bonus. And one of the things the tests of being in a large law firm, I think is that you have to have the ability to.
I deal with the good times and the bad. And a lot of law firms will not give bonuses because they actually want to see how committed you are. And and many people consciously we'll not get bonus and and so I've heard again from this is an example, or I had, I knew someone who was a senior associate in a large law firm and and he was very close to partnership and wasn't getting a bonus and and and and he was told by someone else that he knew they were doing this as a test to him because [00:19:00] there was, I guess there was no binder, the firm or something, if you wanted to become a partner and they wanted to see who would stay and go in the bonus.
And a few months later, after not receiving a bonus, you actually made partner. Making decisions about whether to leave firms because of the. A stake and so forth, or, not getting a bonus can be a real mistake. And that's another thing that Sykes people out. Another thing that can psych people out is making a bad mistake.
A lot of young attorneys can make a lot of mistakes and they can include missing filing deadlines. Misapplying the law to some matter upsetting people that are higher up than them by saying something inappropriate or doing something stupid turning an assignment late, or just making a big mistake that may lose a case.
And and a lot of times attorneys in these situations may feel they made a career, any mistake, and the only way for them to redeem themselves by leaving. And what's important to understand, especially if you've made a mistake, a lot of times the mistakes will be held against you and you, excuse me, just one second person that
And and you may may be a very serious career thing, but at the same time for the most part attorneys [00:20:00] are expected to make mistakes, especially when they're young and and almost all the attorneys have made us heroes mistakes. And and the worst thing you can do many times is to take the mistakes you make too seriously.
If you make a serious mistake, I need to learn your lesson. Don't make the same arrogant. And then move on as quickly as possible because if you dwell on it others will too. And the way to really gain respect is to overcome the situation, persevere and improve. And and you don't want to be a loser and give up if you've made a bad mistake, you just want to move on.
The other thing that Sykes, a lot of people out as being treated poorly by their superiors. And and one time I was sitting in my office working out a brief, I had a treaties inside of me. I checked out of the library and a very important part partner who had actually interviewed. When I had applied to the firm came into stormed in my office and scream, give me the FM book.
And I was very upset by that. I was actually shocked and I I'd never worked with him, but I didn't understand why he was acting this way. And I was very confused and and upset by it. [00:21:00] And and so for the next several nights, I just thought about what did I do, what happened?
I didn't understand how someone could treat me this way in the firm. And I thought, should I leave the job? What did I done? And was there something that I was unaware of that I'd done? And and I didn't know it at the time, but he was actually in the middle of losing his job. He was being sued by a secretary for sexual harassment and malpractice by a former client and all this sort of stuff.
I learned about this later, but when he did this, I felt like there was something wrong with me and it really made me question whether or not I should be working in the firm. And so sometimes people will do things like this to you and you don't know why it's happening and it can be very upsetting.
And when that happens, I think you just realize many times it can psych you out. Another thing that Sykes people out many times is feeling just favored. So a lot of times you know people will get psyched out by people around them. And and I've seen people.
Maybe psyched out quite about a time. And most attorneys, they want to be light. And I think the example I was [00:22:00] gave him, the previous slide is a woman that had been around someone that was, burping and then complained about it later. And people just, she did that obviously, cause she wanted to be favored and not disliked.
And and law firms can be meritocracies and other times they're not. And what's important is to, to really, to concentrate under on your work and and do the best job you can wear their work. And and for the most part, there, there's always going to be groups, popularity, contests, so forth inside of firms and they don't always turn out well for the participants.
And the reason is that if you're competing in a firm popularity contest, you're eventually going to lose and you're going to be on the disfavored side of the contest. And some point you'll do something wrong, upset someone socially or something with a sword. And if you become too friendly with people in your law firm, they're also going to learn the details of your personal life, to which they'll often use against you.
And so you have to worry about that. And the thing I would say is that anytime you tell people. You could close to people and you make them aware of personal details that they [00:23:00] will frequently use those against you. So you really have to be careful about who you trust any type of law firm whether it's secretaries, friends, or anyone and just realize that for the most part you may have believe you have friends, but most of the time, a lot of those people will eventually if push comes to shove, they can definitely turn against you.
And not being part of a favorite group will have its own set of advantages because you will then spare yourself the most inevitable falling out with that group at some point and may many times that can hurt you more than participating and in the first place. My recommendation is to be a professional with your peers, but realize that work doesn't need.
To be a popularity contest and you need to be very careful with that because many times that will go against you. There's. And the other thing too, I would say is that there's always in every firm, there's always times when things are going your way and not going your way and so forth. And so you need to be garden, you can stop.
Another thing that obsessed people many times is not having enough to do that can really psych people out. A lot of law firms will get slow one point or another when it [00:24:00] gets slow if it gets slow for a variety of reasons, it could have just, it could be the economy or it could be a case of settling or matters pouring away.
And when that happens doesn't mean you need to look for a new job. I've seen attorneys go, a year more in large law firms with, without any substance at work. They may have something to do here and there, but not a lot of work. And and if they're not busy you can do all sorts of things.
You can write we can write articles, you can help with foreign marketing. You can work on all sorts of different matters to draw attention to that from that's positive. And and it's certainly not a good thing to be slow, but you have to understand that at those times it's better to try to be productive be seen in the office and and do what you can.
And the work will always come back. And law firms are not stupid. They don't let people go just because of slow. Some of them do if it's a kind of a major recession, but most of them won't. And so law firms will. Often do other stuff. So another thing that is I think that often Sykes people out, as well as being around people that seem more qualified.
There's an we'll often psych them out [00:25:00] based on them getting more work or and and other competitive people often very good at second other people out they'll brag about the reviews that they may have gotten that were good when they weren't, they will Talk about rumors. They may they may play games.
And and so when you're in the midst of these games you're up against people that are very good competitors. Some competitors will only be nice to you. If you have negative information to share about your experience in the firm. Other competitors may use you to solicit negative information that they can spread around.
Maybe even say you were the source of. And just remember that when you're around a very competitive people, these people will often do anything they can to psych you out. And I, you shouldn't have let it affect you. The big piece of advice that I would say is just to keep your head down and really work as hard as you possibly can all the time.
And most people playing these games end up having it all catch up to them eventually. And and you definitely can see that happen. Another reason that people will leave is because they're not building enough hours and obviously you need to. [00:26:00] Bill as many hours as you possibly can.
Within reason, most large law firms, it's at least 2000 hours. And the more hours you bill then the more employment security you have if you have 2,500 hours in most firms, that's going to give you a pretty decent employment security. But in many firms has even more than 2,500 hours and and billing as many hours as you can, we'll always help you to survive.
And it's just, unfortunately, that's kinda how the rules work. The more hours most attorneys build the better their reviews the less likely they'll be to lose their job. And even in severe recessions there's law firm, associates and partners that managed to stay extremely busy because they're given work preferentially and I'm a law firm.
Lace people off it often we'll see who's busy and who's not. And and that's one reason that becomes very difficult for unemployed attorneys to find jobs and future employers often know that that they weren't the best were probably not being given work. So it's something to think about.
And and there's just a lot of metrics that attorneys are measured by [00:27:00] whether it's social skills, mutuality how they're treated by peers and subordinates, their writing ability all those sorts of things. But one of the most important things is generally how many hours you built. And that's the most important thing that a law firms will generally look at.
That's what makes money and that's what matters. Other components of your performance are often. Overshadowed by that. And unfortunately that's just how a business works. And the number of hours you bill shows the law firm the number of hours of billing, and here's what the law firms look and learn from that number.
They learn how hard you're willing to work that shows that different people may build more hours. Someone that's given the same legal matters may bill 1500 hours a year, and another person may build 3,500. The person that builds 3,500 is going to be more profitable law firm.
In addition, if you're working all the time and billing, a lot of hours are clearly very motivated and willing to do hard work which is good. Law firms like people that work hard, if you build a lot of hours, it also means that your work is well received by [00:28:00] superiors. Superiors will only give.
More work. If you're doing a good job, when they do give you work and a partner who doesn't have a lot of time to give work to people will not. A partner does not have a lot of time to get work and people who do not hit their sites Simon seriously. So if you have a lot of work and you're building a lot of hours, that means you're probably doing a good job.
And if your work is not know well thought through, and there's a lot of typos, you're not taking the time to understand your superiors point of view then then, then the partners would probably not going to give you more work. So you can't just make an half-ass attempt to get the work done.
It's important. The important thing to think about too, that I that I brought up and I make clear in the last. Points, but I think as important as every time when you get from a partner is really a gift and you should treat it as a very important thing because it's absolutely true.
And you should make an ever at a major effort to do. When does this efforts to do the best job you can let me, I think I just, for some reason, close the oven arguing one second. Oh, here we go. Is that right? Nope. Just one second. I'm going to have this fixed. Give me one [00:29:00] second. I don't know what's wrong here.
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We're talking about the reasons that yeah, all the stuff about getting hours. Received by appearance. Okay. Your attitude and eagerness for work. Okay. So this is the other thing that out that your hour show if you get a lot of billable hours and it shows your attitude and you're going just for work.
You should always have an attitude where you're hungry and enthusiastic about working. This typically sets you apart from many of your beaten down peers from act as if they already have too much work. One of the things that I noticed is that a lot of people that are very successful inside of law firms will always accept work.
So they, even if they're asked to do work and they're very busy, they will still accept that. Unless it's physically impossible, many times for them to do I'm just quick seated this quick story about an attorney that I know that was extremely successful. He was on an airplane next to a client of the firm.
When the client was bitten by it, I think it was a Southwest flight by spider and the client's leg was [00:30:00] hurt. And the client decided to Sue the airline at the urging of his attorney the cleaning company and others that were involved. And it was a very frivolous case. But the attorney who was a young associate begged the firm will let them take it on a contingency basis and promise you continue billing all the hours each year.
That he's, he was before during this time. And the attorney. Took on the spider by case and for free work late nights and every weekend in the hospital and holidays and so forth. And eventually took a trial, had a big trial with the spider by case and he lost. But he put in such a big effort that the client, the partners who observed him were very impressed.
And it was funny cause I actually saw the a lot of the exhibits from the trial and it was just it was a small spider bite. It wasn't even that big. It was like, who knows why you bring a big case against an airline for that. But but not after he long lost the case, he was made partner at the urging of the client partners who had observed him working on this case and his enthusiasm pressed everyone.
And he was one of the, I think he was the youngest associate to ever make partner in the firm's history. So doing, being that eager for work is obviously a very good thing and he [00:31:00] put some very high biller as well. And then How are you able to get others to give you work is what also your billable hour show.
Attorneys needed to be able to convince others to give them work. It means you need to ask in front of those who will give you work. Many times you need to ask a lot more than once. However, you should always keep asking expressing enthusiasm for a case or legal matter will often get, make, even get partners with a certain type of work to give it to you.
And getting to know work is really no different than campaigning for student council or some other sort of exercise. You want people to like you in order to do this, you need to be seen. You need to be agreeable. You need to find commonality for the people you're working with. And people will generally give work that people who ask for it to make an effort.
A lot of times partners will only give work after they become comfortable with you. And you've earned a reputation for doing good work. Being inside of a firm obviously the more work you get the better work also shows how much the hours you bill also show how much clients like you and clients see the CEO's hardworking behind the scenes.
You want clients to like you, and it's very important to your success. And if a large client, a licensed [00:32:00] associate a great deal, the client will demand to have the associate work in all matters. Another thing that work does, is it it shows others, how you make them feel about themselves. A lot of partners have slogged away and suffered through, decade plus of indignities on the problems are going to make partner.
They want to feel respected and important. And just because the person you're working for someone you would not considered deigning a million years reminds you of the person you might've beaten up in high school. It doesn't mean they decide don't deserve to feel like they're a big deal. You need to make them feel important and respected.
And it's really your job. And it's the nature of your position on the totem pole, when you're getting work from others to make them feel important just as a law firm partner or make the client feel important, others need to feel important as well. And if the partner feels good about themselves, every time they give you work they're going to be more likely to sign your extra work later on.
And if you're not nice and you contradict the person, you look at them like they're tired or drive or pressed the odds of them giving you additional work are going to go down dramatically. You really need to take care of the people you're working for, make them feel good. [00:33:00] You should offer to help them and do things for them, even, whatever.
You want it to be nice and because these people support you and they should feel appreciated based on the respect and the role you give them. And because of that, they will also give you extra work. The other thing it shows is that when you get a lot of work, as it shows that you're open to learning.
There are especially the young associates, there's a lot of people out there that think they know. There lots of people out there that are very afraid of criticism and will say, I know that every time someone makes a suggestion and I don't necessarily understand this attitude.
It doesn't work well. Large law firm partners, especially, and often spend tens of thousands of hours learning the law and and working in their practice area and they love talking about things. And when you learn from people, you need to incorporate that in your work product. And if you learn from what they teach you, they will give you additional work.
And and they'll like making you they'll make you know, feel good about that. So another reason just see our thing that can happen is joining a branch office. So there, you have [00:34:00] to remember that there are good and bad branch offices. A lot of times people will leave that have joined a new branch office that they don't necessarily like.
They will let me just see here, give me one second. Sorry. I'm working for them. And the reason for this is the main office, the law firm is typically where the main decisions reside and law firms in the main office will lover have good relationships. And so if you think about this for a second, if you're a New York law firm and your relationship with.
You're going to have a relationship with them and much more so than an office that's our far away. So leaders in the main office are often going to be under a lot of pressure to protect their people. And we'll let people go into branch office before making customer on location. And there's generally a lot more work in the main office and the branch office main offices generally have a lot of clients and a branch office may literally been started with just a few clients.
And that can be other thing that happens. And so a lot of times people will not be able to make partner and so forth. If people do not even know, so I've seen people leave branch [00:35:00] offices and especially local branch offices and so forth. It can be very problematical.
So it's not that. So let's see here. Second. Another thing that can happen to people is sleeping with superiors in the office. And this is another thing that I hate to put in here, but I've seen this happen a lot more times than I can count. It's not a good idea. What happens is the relationships, most relationships do not last.
And if one gets very serious and then shuts down what tends to happen is both parties may have a difficult time working together in the future. The more junior one ends up leaving or finding a reason to leave. So they don't have to see the former love interest. Another thing that can hurt you is working as a contract attorney.
And I understand that you'll need to make a living but once you have that on your resume, that can a lot of times help hurt you because people will wonder, why they should pay you as much money as you might've been making. And in a it was a contract attorney, why they should pay you as much money as a law firm would pay if you're willing to work for so much cheaper price.
And so that can really hurt your resumes. Just another thing to think about. So I don't have a lot to say [00:36:00] about that other than it can definitely hurt you from working in a large law firm ever again. And I think a lot of people are definitely that, that hurts a lot. That otherwise may be able to get a job in a large law firm.
Another thing that large law firms don't like is when you take too much time off having a child or getting sick and these sorts of things maybe natural, but if you take too much time off, you're often going to be seen as lack and drive commitment. And off often come back from her absence to find that no one is willing to give you work.
I've seen people get fired for taking vacations. I've seen people have bad reviews and then take vacations and then get fired for that. So you have to be very careful and and this it's just kinda how it works. So if you take too much time off, many times of a law firm is going to have issues with you.
I've seen people take maternity leave. A lot of law firms will allow paternity leave, but they see people do that. Then they will often will not like it. And then we'll be prejudice against them. And I've seen a lot of people take it and come back and not have jobs waiting for them.
I'm not saying that every firm's like that. But but they certainly I [00:37:00] would tell you to be very careful with the things like that because if you take too much time off for law firms, it's just think that you're not taking. Your career seriously. Now I would for maternity leave, I think they definitely take that seriously, but I think that they simply paternity leave can be very harmful to taking time off.
And again, that this is just a thing I don't need to get to too much detail about it, but once you take too much time off law firms will often not like that because it shows a lack of commitment. Another thing that's very problematic is leaving the firm with another, without without under the big firm job lined up.
If you leave your firm without another big job, big firm lined up what can happen is that the law firm will assume that you're fired. Leaving a firm can be a great strategy and especially leaving a large law firm or going to another large law firm or a midsize and go into a larger, a small and going to mint Smith, the midsize firm and so forth.
But and but if you go to a firm and you work in another practice setting or you've moved to a not in a much smaller firm, it's not as prestigious. Most law firms will think that that you're not part of their kind of [00:38:00] club anymore. And and it can definitely. And once you go to a smaller firm or take a job in a different environment the odds of you being able to turn to a large law firm are very slim it's.
You can do a clerkship for example, and sometimes you go to the us attorney's office and do things like that, but going to a other practice settings and not another large law firm, if you're born one is difficult. The reason is that most large law firms believe that the only reason you would leave there to go do something else is if you don't have the nerves to work in a large law firm, or if you're fired.
And unfortunately. No, the latter perception is more common one though, assuming you're fired or, maybe just didn't have the nerves, but they're likely to presume that you're fired. If you're no longer with a large law firm or believe that you left in your own volition.
And even if you did leave because your own choice, the idea is that that if you leave once you're likely to do again, which is also true. Law firms will not most often not hire anyone. ' cause they almost always leave again. And and again, they create a performer on the way out and there's problems many times when they come back [00:39:00] and so forth.
That can hurt you. Another one is being dishonest. I don't want to talk too much about this but I've seen people blackball for telling minor lives. And and and and in this particular example was a 10th year associate that was asked if he sent a letter. He said, yes.
And he hadn't been and the law firm found out about it and ended up letting them go because of that. And and that was not a good thing. So people will Do things like that, they'll let you go for being dishonest. So you have to be very careful about that. Another one is talking poorly about the people that you work for.
If you do that many times I will come back at them. They will see that and they'll want revenge and figure out a way to get back to you and hurt you. So you have to be very careful about what you write or say about anybody that you work with. Once you do that, they will often be very Savage and come back to you.
So you need to be careful about that. There's also rules of FaceTime and a lot of large law firms, not as much anymore. But you're expecting many times to not as much as there used to be, but arrive at the opposite a certain time and so forth that be available and and that sort of thing.
And this isn't as common as it used to [00:40:00] be, but it's still quite common. So those are the conclusions. I know a lot of it sounds unreasonable but generally you do want to follow these rules, sustain point and survive. There's a lot other I can tell you, but I think those are the most important ones.
This is based on article two, by the way. So there's not a ton of stuff other stuff to cover. And I think the article goes into a lot more detail than I did today, but I hope that's helpful. What I do know is that the people at Bobby's roles typically do well. Those that don't and you can do very well.
And and if you strong and follow these rules and so that's about it. So I'm going to take a quick break and then I'll come back and do a few questions and we'll go from there.
Okay. So the first question is I'm a mid-level associate keep getting negative feedback from my peers is something I should worry about. I would say possibly it depends on the firm you're at and it's one thing to get negative feedback in person. It's another to get that in reviews.
And and I think that I wouldn't probably worry too much about that kind of just share. I only have time for a few questions. Let me just see here, second.
I [00:41:00] normally have just the right amount of assignments where it seems like I'm getting fewer and fewer case loads recently compared to other associates, a little concerned about this. Okay. I don't know that. I think a lot of it is just, you have to be able to ask for work. You have to be able to do a good job with the people you're getting work from.
And see how there's other questions. Okay. What attitudes should I maintain to voice getting psyched down a large law firm.
Okay. I think one of the main things I would say about getting psyched out in a large law firm is I think a lot of people get psyched out because they they don't necessarily understand kind of the rules and things that I spoke about. I think I do think one of the things that I have thought about a lot recently, especially with this particular topic is the concept of maturity and being able to understand criticism and and take it for what it is.
I think that most people are criticized. And I think that that most people see that the grass is always greener and they can, and they take things that happened to them and they see things that are happening in their environment [00:42:00] and they can personalize them. And I think that one of the things that will help you is not necessarily a personalizing, a lot of things that may be happening to you and really concentrating on your work.
And I'll leave you. I do have to get going in this webinar. One of the things that, one of the things that impressed me the most is I I interviewed with a large law firm once. And and when I was young though, so I think it was for a summer job after my first year or something. And and I interviewed with a guy and it was in a number.
I remember the firm and it was in Washington DC and and And I, he asked me about practicing law or something, ask me some questions. And I would gave him this ideal as to cancer about how I want her to, and he said something like, have you ever worked in a law firm?
Like it's extremely competitive and all this sort of stuff. And I said my goal is really to what I've always wanted, what I'll do, what I'll do when I get into a law firm is just concentrate on the work and not worry about the other stuff. And so I do feel like that's one of the most important things is just being as focused as you possibly can on the work not worrying about other things, but being very [00:43:00] focused on the work that you're doing.
And and making that kind of the priority now. All of the interpersonal relationships, not what other people are doing, not what people on other firms are making, not all the other things, because I think people, if you concentrate on whether or not you're at the most prestigious firm, whether or not you're getting the right assignments, whether or not the, like you, whether or not all these sorts of things then you're gonna end up getting yourself psyched out.
And I think just concentrate on the work that is in front of you doing the best job is really the most important thing. So thank you for being on this webinar today. I will have, we have a much more exciting webinar next week. I let me just see. We'll work in there. I'll just answer one more question here.
Cause it's a pretty good question that says I get one second. I don't know finished, but I do like this question, so I want to make sure I answer it. And if you have extra questions, I'll try to answer them next week, but I just have to get, I go a little early today. Okay. So I want to stay in a large law firm to continue practicing law as far as I can.
How can I get boy getting burned out into moralized while working there? I think the big thing about getting burned out [00:44:00] is you do have the ability to turn down work so you don't need to some people can be very good about turning down work. I think that if you're able to turn down work, that means just saying you don't want to do certain things and leaving it at that.
People will also get many times demoralized by Worrying about things outside their control, then that can also hurt you. So to the extent you get demoralized again, my advice would be to focus on the work. If you are feel like you're getting burned out, you should try to use your vacation time or time off.
You should try to get out of the office. If you're working in an office, you're not working on an office, you should try to do things like exercise. You should try to really. Be the best person you can be. And and what that means is just avoid taking on too much work, avoid taking things too seriously and maintain some perspective.
And I think most people are fundamentally good people and even working in the worst law firm there, they're good people. They're probably, and and you really do want to avoid being around bad people and and and try to put yourself [00:45:00] around good people and do the best work you possibly can for those people.
Okay. Thank you very much. Again, I apologize for having to end this webinar a little bit early. I appreciated all the questions and let me see here. Good. Thank you.