This week, the ABA’s Young Lawyer Division released its latest entry in the Young Lawyer Rising podcast.
Hosted by Sonia Raichur Russo, panelists included Dani Borel, a partner at Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson (Baton Rouge, LA), Silvia Alexandria Mansoor, a litigator at Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip (Detroit, MI), and Jessica Arena, a government attorney (Northern Virginia). Each of the panelists graduated within the last seven years.
The topic of the podcast was “What I Wish I’d Known” and the panelists discussed the things they wish they knew to do or say as a young lawyer in their first few years of practice. Some highlights (plus my thoughts) are below.
- Don’t wait for work or cases to get handed to you; go after what you want.
- My thoughts: Yes! Always remember that you are responsible for your own career.
- It’s ok to not know what to do. Ask questions.
- My thoughts: This is so important. Don’t worry about feeling dumb. It’s natural to have questions and failing to ask the right questions is one of the most common mistakes junior lawyers make.
- Today’s opposing counsel might be tomorrow’s co-counsel. The legal world is small and relationships matter.
- My thoughts: This touches on a broader point you should keep in mind, which is that your reputation is so important as a lawyer, and how you treat colleagues and opposing counsel is a key component of your reputation. Staying pleasant and keeping a cool head are key characteristics of superstar young lawyers.
The panel also discussed setting boundaries, finding mentors, and making mistakes at work.
If you want to listen, the full podcast is available here and lasts about 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for more practical tips to help you succeed as a young lawyer in the office, check out Survive & Thrive, my online course. It’s self-paced and I’m always available to answer questions over email.