Selling yourself as a law firm associate

July 16, 2014

Lawyer CommunicationThere is no substitute for doing good work.  Full stop.  However, to be a successful associate, you also have to take the time to thoughtfully highlight your accomplishments, as discussed below.

1)      Produce excellent work.  This point is so important it deserves repeating.  You cannot tackle the items on this list below until you first produce excellent work.  Once you have, consider taking steps two through five below.

2)      Memorialize your successes big and small.  Write down your accomplishments contemporaneous with their occurrence so that the details are fresh.

3)      Talk to your sponsor.  Your sponsor likely will have good ideas about the most effective ways to market your successes within and outside the firm while following proper firm protocol and not appearing overeager.  Follow his or her advice when considering steps four and five below.

4)      Highlight your successes within the firm.  Suppose you are on a team for a client that wins a case, achieves settlement, completes a successful transaction, avoids suit, reaches favorable conclusion, etc.

Send a firm update to partners and associates outside your group.  First follow appropriate firm protocol here.  Consult policy manual, partner(s) with whom you are working, and perhaps your practice group leader before going rogue.  If approved, summarize the matter and highlight the firm’s success(es).  Remember to share credit to the extent possible.  Try not to get into the weeds but provide enough information so that other partners understand the firm’s capability in the area (and your involvement).

5)      Highlight your successes outside the firm.

  1. Get published.  Write an article about a novel issue you worked on or even if not novel how you and your team (the firm) secured a favorable solution for the client.  Again, jump through the appropriate hoops (which may require consent from the client) before taking this step.
  2. Speak.  Follow protocol and consider presenting to the ABA, local or Federal bar, trade association, etc.
  3. Use technology.  Consider what is most appropriate in your case (it may be multiple items or items not listed here).
    1. Start a LinkedIn group based on your issue or join one that is relevant.
    2. Start a Google chat based on your issue or join one that is relevant.
    3. Start a firm blog based on your issue or contribute to an existing firm blog.