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You've tried your hardest, but in spite of your best efforts, your client still got convicted. What is there to do? What did you do wrong? What could you have done better?

Cheer up, that's what. Losing is a part of being a lawyer; no one wins all the time. Take solace in your defeat, though. It's a learning experience, and hey, it might not even be a defeat for long.

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

The billable hour is one of the defining characteristics of working at a firm. Like the Socratic method in law school, it's often hated, often criticized and yet remarkably intransigent. If you're starting as a new associate, get ready to start organizing your day, and your life, around the billable hour.

Don't worry, though -- the billable hour isn't always as fearsome as it's made out to be. With some skill and finesse, you can learn to master the system, maximizing your billables so you're not stuck in the office twelve hours a day. Here's some tips:

Lawyers aren't generally known for our soft hearts and boundless sense of appreciation for others, but if there's one person who can crack our jaded, Scotch-soaked exterior, it's Mom.

As James Joyce so elegantly wrote nearly a century ago, "Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother's love is not." So, as Mother's Day approaches once again, make sure you're prepared to say thanks for all she's done.

When it comes to signs of affection, a card is fine, a phone call is better, a bouquet of roses does quite nicely. But if you're really looking for something special, consider these three tips to help express your Mother's Day appreciation:

Lawyers are often married to their jobs. Some are also married to other people. There's no reason either marriage should be unhappy, though they are often at odds. Divorce rates among skilled professionals such as lawyers are high, though thankfully lawyers are nowhere near to top of the list, according to Bloomberg -- sorry paper-hangers and nurses.

So how are you supposed to keep winning in the courtroom while also winning in love? We've got a few ideas.

There are plenty of activities outside the firm door that most lawyers are great at -- and they're not just drinking and golf! Lawyers can use their analytical minds, competitive nature and creative thinking to thrive in all sorts of endeavors, from coaching little league to setting up a hobby winery.

So, what new world of leisure time activities might be available to you? Here are three non-law activities that lawyers will be great at:

We've talked before about the importance of mentors. They give you advice, they give you experience, and hey, if you play your cards right, they just might point you toward a job opening.

The reality, though, is that once you're out of law school, your mentors will be practitioners, and they're very busy -- too busy, it would seem, to take a green lawyer under their wing. As it turns out, though, you can even get those busy lawyers to pay attention to you.

It can be hard enough just to get courts to release opinions in a timely manner, but to have them tweet out their every move? Instant gratification.

And there's no need to go searching around for every court's Twitter account either. Twitter lets you organize Twitter users into groups, making it easy to manage what how you see tweets -- and making it easy to follow whole groups at once. To help you out, FindLaw has assembled a number of Twitter lists, including Courts That Tweet, featuring the best of the legal Twittersphere.

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

Finally land the firm job you've been dreaming of? Congrats! You've taken the first steps to fame and fortune in the law world. But there's still work to be done. Let's start with the start: how to make a good first impression.

If you're lucky, then you'll soon be going somewhere for spring break (and if you live basically anywhere except out west, you're long overdue for a sunny beach somewhere). It's an opportunity to unwind, but it's also an opportunity to read something that's not a deposition transcript or case law.

Hopefully you've already gone through our suggestions for books to read in the new year, meaning you're ready for some more guidance. As it happens, we coincidentally have some ideas for books you should read on spring break:

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and it's time to start thinking about what to get the special lawyer in your life. (You could also wait until the last minute and get a Whitman's Sampler from Walgreen's, but all that says is "I forgot about Valentine's Day.")

Hopefully, your BigLaw associate significant other doesn't have to work late into the night. And even if he or she does, here are some gift ideas that will making coming home at 1 a.m. all the better: