eDiscovery Careers: Achieving Success as a Non-Attorney in a Law Firm: Master Some Good Habits
June 12, 2012
In this blog series, I’ve presented a step-by-step approach for achieving success as a non-attorney in a law firm. We’ve talked about finding or making the right environment, knowing what you need to know to advance, making yourself well known, making yourself critical, and expanding what you do. In addition to these steps, here are some habits and practices that you should develop and incorporate into all the steps you take along the way:
Talk the talk and walk the walk: To be viewed by senior attorneys as a peer, you need to look and act like they do. They need to sense that you are a good fit in their professional environment. Take a look at how you dress. Is it consistent with how the attorneys do? If the dress code at the firm is business casual, observe how senior attorneys interpret that, and be consistent with them.
Don’t horde information: Some people believe that if they are the only one who knows how to do something, they are indispensable. They see this as the ticket to job security. They are just plain wrong. This tactic doesn’t help anyone. First of all, it will be evident to others and it is not attractive. Second, it just doesn’t work. If you figured something out, others can too. It won’t protect your job. And third, it’s counterproductive to getting promoted. Think about it: you’ve got to make sure that others can step into your shoes so that you can move up to a more senior position.
Stay calm: Regardless of what’s happening around you, stay calm. Staying calm in the face of problems – especially crises – instills confidence in others. I believe that it’s one of the most significant traits of a good leader. In addition to the positive affect it has on others, it will keep you in a state where you are more likely to solve a problem.
Be well organized: Learn good organizational skills and always appear to be well organized. If you appear organized, you appear to be in control. This too instills confidence in others.
Be proactive rather than reactive: This applies to helping clients with their problems, finding more work for your department, and to expanding your services and your area of responsibility. Constantly putting out fires is no fun at all. Do what’s necessary to put an operation and procedures in place that prevent – or at least minimize – the fires.
We’ll continue discussing good habits and practices in next week’s issue So, what do you think? Can you share with us habits and practices that you’ve developed that you think serve you well? And, as always, please let us know if you’d like to know more about a topic.
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