End of stub year - still making mistakes

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End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:41 pm

I'm a year in and I still make mistakes.

I'm in transactional and looking to lateral for various reasons. However, I sort of get the sense that I'm incompetent (maybe imposter syndrome; maybe just highly self-aware).

Tbf, I do work at a very small firm with a heavy amount of responsibility that usually only 3rd or 4th year associates at other firms are involved in.

However, I still make mistakes/have many areas I can improve on. For example, I'll write an email to the client and the partner will say I should have said it differently. Or I'll take initiative and help a client on an assignment, only to have been told I should have done it differently (ie: I should have used agreement X instead of Y).

It's to the point where I feel like I don't feel comfortable lateraling or speaking myself up in interviews because I almost feel like I'm lying.


Is it normal to feel this way? How can I improve? I have a list of major mistakes I made but the list keeps growing.

QContinuum

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:44 pm

Partners editing emails is not at all uncommon at my firm and is def not a sign of someone being incompetent. Sometimes I've received edits that really do improve the email - I try to learn from those. Other times I receive edits that are less than impressive - I just thank the partner, incorporate their edits, and roll my eyes back in my office. :P

I wouldn't worry too much - at the end of your stub year, you're still very much expected to be in training. Law school doesn't really do a great job prepping folks for actual firm practice.

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kalvano

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby kalvano » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:03 pm

Are you making the same mistakes over and over again? Or is it something different each time?

SFSpartan

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby SFSpartan » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:40 pm

Having partners correct phrasing for you is part of the learning process - no reason to think you're incompetent because that's happening. Some of that is going to be stylistic as well - and you'll learn over time how to phrase emails differently depending on the partners you work with.

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:34 pm

kalvano wrote:Are you making the same mistakes over and over again? Or is it something different each time?


OP here

It's different each time.

I have a lot of responsibility at my firm (ie: handle certain client matters by myself) and I feel like other people in my situation would know what to do or wouldn't be making my mistakes. I sometimes feel at a loss or unsure (actually, most of the time), and have to keep following up with the partner whether I'm taking the right action.

I guess I'm unsure because I'm in a unique position.

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First Offense

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby First Offense » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:59 pm

Lol - of course you're still making mistakes. Partners edit your shit - everyone edits your shit. That's what lawyers do. If Ted Olson sent around a draft for people to look at, it would probably be redlined to hell and back because lawyers are annoying sticklers about everything.

I'm in BigLaw so it's a little different (nothing goes out of the door without someone looking over it), but generally these sound like mistakes that first years are expected to make. Any correction - just take it as a learning experience.

LockBox

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby LockBox » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:23 pm

In the alternative, do you presume that a 3/4th year attorney, let alone a 1st/2nd year NEVER makes any mistakes? Let's be frank, having a supervising attorney review/edit your work isn't tantamount to you making a mistake.

I'm only a first year myself, but I think the way to improve is to go in everyday and try to do it better.

SFSpartan

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby SFSpartan » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:Are you making the same mistakes over and over again? Or is it something different each time?


OP here

It's different each time.

I have a lot of responsibility at my firm (ie: handle certain client matters by myself) and I feel like other people in my situation would know what to do or wouldn't be making my mistakes. I sometimes feel at a loss or unsure (actually, most of the time), and have to keep following up with the partner whether I'm taking the right action.

I guess I'm unsure because I'm in a unique position.


It sounds like you're doing what you should be doing - if I'm handling a matter by myself, I'll generally check in with the partner before making big decisions (something like "hey, I want to do X for Y reason. Does that sound right to you?") to make sure I'm not committing malpractice. Nobody expects a junior attorney to know everything/be perfectly minted from the getgo.

silenttimer

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby silenttimer » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:47 pm

OP -- it appears that you care about your work, which is a good thing. As a senior associate, I typically expect mistakes and to rewrite first year's emails. So long as you keep learning and are not making the same mistakes, there is no reason to be concerned.

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kalvano

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Re: End of stub year - still making mistakes

Postby kalvano » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:39 am

I'm going to be a bit contrarian. I work at a small firm and associates have significant responsibility from day one. So long as they aren't the same basic mistake or "unforced errors" (meaning poor attention to detail errors) on a regular basis, that's one thing. Ours is a pretty technical practice, and no one expects everyone to be up and running from day one. But if you're constantly making grammatical errors, giving bad advice, or not grasping basic concepts, then I'd say there is some cause for concern.

We generally expect people to be vaguely functional by the end of a year - no need to have emails and documents fully reviewed in detail before sending, that sort of thing. I would look at what the changes are. For instance, is it simply re-wording things to match a partner preference, or is it a substantive change? For projects in which you take the initiative, are you checking with someone first to make sure it's cool?

If it's changing "will" to "shall," then you're fine. If it's being rewritten because of lack of understanding of essential concepts or because you aren't spending an extra 10 minutes to make sure everything is correct, then that sounds like issues that will persist no matter where you go.



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