How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

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Anonymous User
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How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 12:41 pm

I'm an intern. In between 1L and 2L. One week in. I can't stop second guessing myself. Any advice on how to control my nerves better?

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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 12:46 pm

Xanax

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Nammertat
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Nammertat » Fri May 31, 2013 2:24 pm

Honestly, you just need to change your attitude about it. I have tried to take every mistake as a learning opportunity. When a partner takes the time to rip apart my memo, I get excited at the opportunity to get better at this. (also shows that they actually care about training you) Grow some thick skin and learn to love criticism, because this type of career is full of it!

lolwat
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby lolwat » Fri May 31, 2013 2:26 pm

Just be confident about your work.

Ask as many questions as you can without being annoying, do your best, submit the end product, and deal with it when you get it back from your supervisor/partner/whatever.

Lateral2013
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Lateral2013 » Fri May 31, 2013 2:30 pm

It's totally normal to be nervous and on edge, it will get better as the summer goes along, but I'm sure you feel like your whole life is riding on this summer (which is not the case).

Focus on the positives, that will help your confidence. You have a job as a 1L, so you obviously impressed somebody.

Don't be so busy apologizing for your mistakes that you forget to learn from them. When a mistake is made (assuming it's not careless error), make sure you understand why it is a mistake so you can learn from it. Associates will then focus on your great attitude and desire to learn and forget about the mistake.

Leave nothing on the field. Meaning do your 100% best on everything. If there are mistakes that happen, at least you know it's not because you half assed it and you'll have no regrets.

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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 3:08 pm

Lateral2013 wrote: but I'm sure you feel like your whole life is riding on this summer (which is not the case).

This is exactly how I'm feeling. I'm glad to hear that it's not riding on it. Thank you!

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thesealocust
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby thesealocust » Fri May 31, 2013 7:03 pm

Just wait until you're a first year, a/k/a a finely tuned machine of mistake making.

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vissidarte27
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby vissidarte27 » Fri May 31, 2013 9:58 pm

Oh man, I'm glad it's not just me. I did really well during 1L, but I feel completely incompetent at work.

hiima3L
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby hiima3L » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Just remember: nothing you are working on matters at all.

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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:39 pm

I'm in the same boat. I fear that I'm working under a microscope where everything I say and do is being judged.

I've been getting some positive feedback from associates, and am getting to know them at a social level. I haven't noticed any red-flags so far.

But my grades fall semester are drastically better than my spring grades. I'm worried that the firm will take the recent drop into their return offer consideration.

That's why I'm planning on working extremely hard and turning in the best possible work product. I'm also going to try and socialize whenever possible.

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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:58 am

My previous supervisor told me that I needed to "speak up" more and be confident enough to contribute my ideas. I could tell he was disappointed in me, but the problem was, I never really knew what the hell I was talking about, so I thought the best thing I could do was listen and then speak up if I really thought something was wrong. The thing is, we were never in a situation where I thought, "He's totally wrong." Now I'm in my summer internship, and I don't want to make the same mistake. Does anyone have any tips for being confident enough to just "speak up" no matter how you think the situation is (bad/good)? I think my coworkers are good at saying what's on their mind the minute the idea comes to them, but I have alwyas been the person in class who needs to mull over an idea before saying something, so I think this translates into my professional performance, which apparently needs improvement.

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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:12 am

There's no bright line for how to do well in an internship, I don't think. I make mistakes every single day. I admit them, as needed, and I fix them. No one bats an eyelash. It's expected.

Shrug past mistakes. Everyone makes them. Everyone. I promise you, that partner you're so worried about messing up in front of has made plenty of embarrassing mistakes. So has every attorney in that office. What's important is not that you make them (assuming you aren't halfassing things) but what you do when you make them. If you catch a mistake before your boss does, fix it without telling anyone. If a mistake slips past your guard, don't just tell them, give them a solution. Don't make them clean up your dirty work if you can avoid it at all.

Example: your brief is on whether a summary judgment motion is appealable. After you send your final draft to the partner, you realize that you only wrote on what happens when a summary judgment motion is granted. You haven't written anything about what to do if summary judgment is denied. When you send an email, don't just apologize; send the partner a new version of the draft with information on denial of summary judgment motions. This builds your credibility, and that partner will likely trust you with more assignments.

Also: Get good at asking questions. I never realized how carefully I had to phrase my questions to elicit answers until I had to start asking about an area of law I had no experience in. It's a minefield for the uninitiated. Don't be afraid to go hunt down the firm library and sweet-talk the librarian into letting you borrow a nutshell, either. It might save you a big headache later on.

rad lulz
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:15 am

hiima3L wrote:Just remember: nothing you are working on matters at all.

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stillwater
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby stillwater » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:16 am

some dude walked in on me talking a piss awkwardly in a bathroom that apparently didnt lock at my 1L gig. you shake it off by not talking and good timing on a friday.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:22 am

rad lulz wrote:Just remember: nothing you are working on matters at all.


This is the general rule, but it is not always true. And definitely do NOT use it as an excuse to blow off an assignment. I'm watching a guy in my office do that. An attorney came by and took work away from him last week because they needed it done quicker. You do NOT want to be that person.

hiima3L
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Re: How to shake off little mistakes in an internship?

Postby hiima3L » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:52 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Just remember: nothing you are working on matters at all.


This is the general rule, but it is not always true. And definitely do NOT use it as an excuse to blow off an assignment. I'm watching a guy in my office do that. An attorney came by and took work away from him last week because they needed it done quicker. You do NOT want to be that person.


Of course not. But the worst thing that can happen is you don't get a good reference. (I think references are extremely important, so it's a good idea to go into every job keeping that on your mind, but that's a different issue.) For 1L internships, unless you completely shart the bed on your work or just don't get along with your superiors, you'll get the same "Yeah, he/she was a nice person, hard worker, did pretty good work" reference.

Anyone who is giving a summer 1L work that truly matters is doing something seriously wrong.




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