Working at a law firm is not a piece of cake! If you ever thought while studying law, life is going to be easier when you get a job, you, my friend, were terribly wrong. While most of the students, including myself, at law school are there because they didn’t know what to major in, some work so hard to get their dreams fulfilled. But when you get into the game, you realise that you won a pie-eating contest and the prize was more pie.
To the outside world, a law firm is divided into two main categories: the attorneys and the support staff which include the paralegals, secretaries, computer technicians, receptionists etc. But once you get into the world, you realise that there are hierarchical classifications within. So you have to mark your place when you join in.
Many firms have divisions which are called ‘teams’ but as aggressive as the colleagues might get in a sports game against a competitor firm team, the ‘team’ in the office is just for the team-leader to keep reminding you that you can be fired. So, better keep that in mind when joining a big firm.
Just a disclaimer that following statement is not asking for you to be toady (doesn’t matter even if you be) but try to be the nice guy who brings cakes and puddings. Attorneys like cakes with their tea.
They say “You’re free to choose but you’re not free of the consequences of your choice.” Again, not to scare you, but, you have chosen to be a part of this niche, so you’re destined to be overwhelmed. Remember to visit the photocopier’s office to take a breath sometimes. Be nice to them, don’t let the hierarchy get the best of you.
Be smart about the billing hours, set clear expectations before you set foot in the firm. May be learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ from a peer or a mentor.
Often, not only at the law firms, but in many workplaces, the ‘worker bees’ don’t get to see the big picture. They have no idea how much honey was made out of the tiny drop of nectar they brought back to the hive. So, it is better to get a knowledge of what your future prospects at the firm would be? While you adjust the decimal point to a correct place or count the infinite pages of the document wearing tiny condoms on your fingers, can you dream of a promotion?
Lastly, if you get an opportunity to empathise with a fresher, don’t make them walk the plank! Even if you did. Break the chain. Congratulations on your new job and happy Halloween if you have been in your job for
Joining a particularly big firm
And, although it would have been much easier, but no, you can’t pee around your desk to mark your territory and to let everyone realise you’re there with your pheromones. Because unless you make an effort to introduce yourself to as many colleagues as you can, you won’t be noticed.
If you’re joining a particularly big firm, for the salary, don’t feel guilty or ashamed. But do be prepared to forget the purpose of day and night. When someone asks ‘what’s your plan for the weekend?’ The accepted answer is ‘No’ because the question is just a context to the upcoming description of an assignment. The point is be prepared to work hard, if you want to grow.