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New Associate Tips: How to Prepare for the First Day on the Job

'Let's do this! Let's do this!'

You gotta love the little guy's attitude in that Kia commercial, when he strides into the office like he's an NBA player walking onto the court. He reaches out to slap hands with his co-workers before he slaps the boss's butt.

So maybe that's a little over the top, but it's the attitude we love. It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog. This is about getting ready for the big game -- your first day on the new job as a lawyer.

Tips for Adapting to Law Firm Culture

Ever gone somewhere, like another country, and tried to adapt to a foreign culture?

Maybe you had to learn a language, or at least a few phrases, to get around. The food, the dress, the music -- everything that made it interesting also made it a challenge to fit in.

That's what it's like when you enter a new law firm culture. You want to get along with your co-workers, and the last thing you want to be is a tourist.

The law remains one of the most homogeneous professions in America. But when it comes to efforts to bring a little more diversity into the nation's biggest law firms, you'd expect strong support from those firms' junior lawyers, right? After all, Millennials aren't just the most diverse generation today, they're significantly more likely than their elders to view diversity and inclusion as an important factor when considering a job.

Yet, when it comes to diversifying the legal profession, Millennial associates' enthusiasm for diversity is significantly lower than their firm's partners', according to a new survey.

If Hollywood is to be believed, the typical lawyer's day is filled with crime solving, last minute deal making, dramatic closing arguments, and maybe some romance or political intrigue. Sadly, actual, real-life legal professionals know better. Our days are much more likely to be spent reviewing documents, making sure forms are properly filed, or researching obscure points of law. It's not exactly the stuff that gets your pulse racing.

And now the rest of world has found out our secret. Legal professionals are the most bored professionals, according to one recent survey.

For the first time ever, there are more women in law school than men, and women continue to make up an increasing percentage of the lawyers. But when it comes to making partner at many BigLaw firms, well, it's still very much a boys' club.

But some firms bucked that trend in 2016. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Big Law Business, 21 BigLaw firms had 2016 partnership classes that were 50 percent female or higher. Indeed, three firms promoted only women to partnership in 2016.

The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest gay civil rights organizations, has released its 2017 Corporate Equality Index, ranking major employers on their policies regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employee rights. Hundreds of companies participated, including 156 major law firms, and this year saw the highest ever amount of businesses earning a perfect score.

The law was the best of the best when it came to industry-wide performance, with the highest number of top scores. Almost every firm scored an 85 out of 100 or above -- except for a few firms who ranked low. Really low. What's up with that?

When Kirkland & Ellis sent a junior associate to a status conference, Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis had a bit of a fit. For the BigLaw firm to send an associate instead of a partner, for it to "think so little of this court," was "outrageous, irresponsible, and insulting," Garaufis said. Then he refused to continue the conference. "I've been a lawyer for 41 years and a judge for 16 years and I'm not having this discussion with you," he told the Kirkland associate, according to the New York Daily News.

But Garaufis may be the exception, not the rule. While young associates have been increasingly shut out of court in recent years, working more as glorified law clerks than litigators, some judges are making a point to demand fresher blood in the courtrooms.

If you want to make a good impression, dress better than everyone else. But just 25 percent better.

That's right, looking just a tad sharper and a bit more polished than everyone else around you could be the key to success, whether you're trying a case, interviewing for a job, or just looking to impress your peers.

The kids are out of school and you're still stuck working nights and weekends trying to make your billable hours. Sure, you'd much rather spend your days taking the little ones to the beach, instead of sitting through another status call or polishing off a memo, but that's not always possible.

So, lawyers with children, what exactly can you do to deal with the kids over the summer?

You've landed your dream legal job and you're ready to start your career as a superstar lawyer. But, unless you're starting off at the smallest of firms, you're not going to be entering the firm alone.

So how do you make yourself stand out from the rest of your associate cohort? To make an impression on the firm's partners? Here's how.