A recent issue of the ABA Law Practice Magazine includes an article by career coach and management consultant Wendy Werner entitled Staying on Track: Getting Attuned to the Firm’s Political Climate.
The article provides the following advice to students leaving law school unprepared to cope with and adapt to the political environment that exists at the typical law firm:
Use your observational skills - Learn who has informal as well as formal control at the firm (that includes staff as well as lawyers). Also learn what is really paid attention to and rewarded at your firm. You should spend more time asking questions than you do talking.
Know how success gets measured - While productivity (hours billed) is still important, other criteria like efficiency or non-billable contributions to the firm may also be used in determining levels of success.
Learn something your boss needs to know - Figuring out something that you can do that needs doing and isn’t being done can make a significant impact on your supervisor. Your area of knowledge doesn’t need to be complex, but it should focus on something that will make you stand out.
Promote your skills to partners - You must "sell" yourself and the good work you are doing. Strike the right tone and make sure you think about what you are saying with an eye on future opportunities.
For more, click here for the full article.