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ABA's 5 Best Tips for Baby Lawyers

For those new associates and young lawyers just starting off in their career, it can be a little bit tricky deciding what advice is good, and what advice should just flat-out be ignored.

And while you'll likely read a few blogs or advice columns from time to time to find some specific guidance for your specific conundrum, sometimes a little bit of general advice can be just what's needed. Below are the five most worthwhile tips courtesy of the ABA Journal (which, if you don't read, you should).

Take Ownership of Tasks

One solid piece of advice is to take ownership over every task you are assigned (and have the authority to take ownership over). Simply put, don't let things on your plate slide through the cracks or fall by the wayside. Simply put another way: Always follow through.

Take Ownership of Your Mistakes

If you're just starting out a firm, your reputation is paramount, and one of the easiest ways to tank it is to hide a mistake. Not only does it highlight the fact that you made a mistake, it calls into questions your reputation for honesty with your colleagues. Learn from your mistakes and don't hide them.

Look for Mentors

Building relationships with more senior attorneys is always a good idea. While the relationship may seem one-way to you, that'll change rather quickly if you pick a mentor who takes an interest in you (or finds a way to monetize the mentorship, i.e. grooming you to send you work).

Believe in Yourself

If you made it this point, you should have a little faith in yourself that you can actually do the job if you just apply yourself. Becoming a licensed lawyer isn't easy, so give yourself some credit, and don't be afraid to fail.

Everyone Is Special

When it comes right down to it, not all advice is good for everyone. You need to assess your own situation and decide whether or not the advice you read or receive is worth taking.

Protip: Be cautious about the not-so-fine line between your boss giving you advice and them just saying they're giving you advice when they are actually telling you exactly what you should be doing.

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