My Advice To The Newbies.

Fresh Pepper has some advice for new attorneys is his office and beyond.

So do I. But rather than make a list, I'll just focus on one thing today.

Be nice to the more senior attorneys. I'm not saying kiss their asses, and I'm not just saying it because I am one of those more senior attorneys who wants my ass kissed.

But, in an office where you start on your first day with a group of people, it's easy to stay clique-ish with those other new people and not make much of an effort to get to know the people who have been around awhile.

But it's so valuable! They can teach you stuff, they can give you advice, they can look out for you, and then, when they have an interesting case, they can say to you, "Hey, want to help me out with this case and second seat me if it goes to trial?" or "Hey, I've got this great misdemeanor, it looks like it'll go to trial, and I'm too senior to try misdemeanors anymore, do you want it?" And you can end up with so much more experience, and with so much more depth to your experience then you would've if you just hung out in your office with the new attorneys.

And, like I said, you don't have to kiss ass. Just be friendly. Say hello, ask how they're doing. (You might be surprised how many people don't make an effort to just be friendly.) You can ask for advice on your cases - but I would warn new attorneys to put some thought into who they're going to for advice and why (and what you want to know). You don't need to go to the most senior felony attorney who specializes in murders for the most basic advice on a shoplifting case. In fact, an attorney who is fairly new might know more about handling shoplifts, because they see them more often. Likewise, when you go to an attorney for advice, come prepared. Know something about your case.

It's annoying when someone comes to your office and says, "Um, I have this trespass case, what should I do?" And you say, "Well, does he have a record?" "Um, I don't know." "Well, is he on parole or probation?" "Um, I'm not sure." "Is he a kid? Is he eligible for any of the juvenile programs? Does he have a drug problem? What's going on? Why was he trespassing there? What's the story? Did you do any investigation to the place where he was trespassing?" "Uh, I don't know." I don't mind helping out with a case, but if you couldn't be bothered to take a look at your file, why should I?

And that's my advice for today.

Oh, ok, one more piece of advice, because I'm feeling generous: Be really careful with the work email system. It's not the same as the college or even law school email system. You don't want to be known as the guy who accidently CCs the entire office on your stupid jokes, or worse.

1 comment:

  1. Jeez...A guy accidentally sends everyone in the office pictures of the famous smoking chimp in China and all of a sudden I'm the big jerk...sheesh!