Struggling at new job

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L_William_W

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Struggling at new job

Postby L_William_W » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:16 am

Please, no sarcastic, facetious, or smartass remarks. If you don't have anything positive to contribute to this thread, don't post here

A few days ago, I began a job at this firm that does torts (auto accidents, slip and falls, etc.). At first, there was a good vibe. It seemed laid back and everyone was friendly. However, I wrote a few bills of particular and my boss found flaws in all of them. Some were major flaws. Others were trivial (i.e. writing that a Nissan NV 500 was involved in a crash when it was a Nissan NV 200). He get pissed off when I don't ask him for help. It's a catch-22 because if I'm always pestering him then he'll think I'm lazy and incompetent.

My boss reminds me of J. Jonah Jameson. I really don't want to get a pink slip, especially considering how hard it is to find a job in this field. How should I handle this situation?

Single Origin

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby Single Origin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:33 am

I'd make sure that your work product is as perfect as it can be (whether naming the wrong car model is a large or small error it's an error nonetheless) and ask questions when you need to (i.e., when you're unable to figure it out for yourself). Good luck!

ojala

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby ojala » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:35 am

Are there more junior attorneys you can run things by so that you do not have to go to your boss for every questions?

For the trivial things, I think it could just be a matter of checking and double checking your work before you hand it in, which I know sometimes isn't possible because of time. Hopefully as you get more familiar with the work and with his feedback you will be able to catch the small things on your own. As for the major things, aside from asking others I think maybe more exposure will also help. Is it an area you already had experience in or are learning fresh?

ClubberLang

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:33 am

Don't make the same mistake twice and if he wants you to ask him for help, ask him for help.

What is a bill of particular?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:57 am

You’ve only been there a few days. You need to give yourself more time.

Also has he said he thinks you’re incompetent/pestering him when you ask questions, or is that you extrapolating? Because if he gets pissed off when you don’t ask him for help, then ask him for help. Again, it’s only been a few days, he probably wants to make sure you know what you’re doing.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby PeanutsNJam » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:42 am

He doesn't want to have to redo and recheck your work. Hardly sounds like J. Jonah Jameson. If your wrote the wrong car model, what else could you have gotten wrong?

It sounds like you need to check your work and be a little more careful. Idk what a "bill of particular" is, but if you're writing about an auto accident, the model of the car involved seems to be a little more than "trivial."

As for questions, ask him questions you can't find the answer to via google or asking an assistant/another associate/etc. If you're asking him questions about the facts of a case (something you can look up) or about the law (something you can also look up), yes, that's lazy. As long as you can demonstrate a good faith effort in trying to find the answer yourself, you should be fine going to him with any questions you can't answer.

cavalier1138

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:47 am

ClubberLang wrote:What is a bill of particular?


(Since this question has come up more than once...)

I believe it's a name some states apply to interrogatories, usually filed by the defense to clarify claims in the complaint.

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mjb447

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:45 am

This is actually the best time to "pester" people because they expect you to do it, particularly because it doesn't sound like you're an experienced attorney who might be expected to hit the ground running. Like others have said, there are ways to be less of nuisance, like (1) don't always go to the same person for all your questions; (2) don't ask too many questions that you should be able to answer from your own research (templates or past drafts can also be useful for this); or (3) if you anticipate having lots of questions about a project and there's not a lot of time pressure, wait until you have a good list rather than repeatedly interrupting someone.

Really, though, unless there's something significant you're leaving out, it sounds like your boss wants you to come to him or others for help but you want him to think you're on top of everything. That wouldn't be much of an issue if you were giving him what he wanted, but it sounds like you're not yet great at anticipating what he's going to want or consider important (TBH, that error seems more than trivial to me as well), which is totally normal after just a few days. I'd just do what he says and come to him earlier.

umichman

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby umichman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:57 am

I have found that for more general questions liek formatting or other types of non-case specific information, going to someone you are not actually working for, whether that be another associate or even a paralegal first can be helpful. THen at least if you still have to ask the questino, you sound like you tried. " i think it is this, but just wanted to confirm..."

jhett

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby jhett » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:28 am

For errors like typos, you just have to be more careful and double-check your work.

For more substantive errors, you'll learn through experience. If there is something you don't know or understand, ask somebody. You'll learn something about law practice and prevent yourself from making the same mistake again. Better to ask and learn beforehand than get chewed out afterwards and maybe still not learn.

L_William_W

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby L_William_W » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:31 pm

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Hopefully I can get my shit together.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:54 pm

When I started, I made dumb mistakes like this all the time. I actually made a thread about that on here, and the general advice was to slow down and double check things. I can't emphasize how good of advice that is. When you're doing something, draft it, and then cross-reference it with the file a couple times, and review it again and again. Use control+F to find stuff in documents.

The other thing I would mention is to not be afraid to ask questions. Generally research first, but when I was on complicated matters at my old firm, I sometimes prefaced a conversation with "Sorry for asking another question," to which the usual response was, "I'd be scared if you weren't asking questions." Everyone kinda knows that what you learn in law school is a rough framework of ideas that doesn't translate well to actual practice, so don't be afraid to ask things when you're stumped.

Nebby

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby Nebby » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:57 pm

You'll make dumb mistakes your whole career. The real sin is repeating them.

shock259

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby shock259 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:59 pm

Give yourself some time, triple check everything, and try to find an older associate that you can ask dumb questions to.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:08 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:When I started, I made dumb mistakes like this all the time. I actually made a thread about that on here, and the general advice was to slow down and double check things. I can't emphasize how good of advice that is. When you're doing something, draft it, and then cross-reference it with the file a couple times, and review it again and again. Use control+F to find stuff in documents.

The other thing I would mention is to not be afraid to ask questions. Generally research first, but when I was on complicated matters at my old firm, I sometimes prefaced a conversation with "Sorry for asking another question," to which the usual response was, "I'd be scared if you weren't asking questions." Everyone kinda knows that what you learn in law school is a rough framework of ideas that doesn't translate well to actual practice, so don't be afraid to ask things when you're stumped.


Yep; I am a first year and have taken this advice to heart. I’m definitely not perfect (far from it), and I will undoubtedly make dumb mistakes in the future. But I have tremendously cut down on these mistakes simply by taking my time - even if that means billing more time, staying later, triple checking stuff, etc.

byrdscales

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby byrdscales » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:17 am

In terms of checking your work, there are a few things I recommend to make it easier. First, run spell check, don't just rely on red underlining. It's fast, and it can catch the sort of egregious typos that will make people question whether you proofed your work at all. Second, I recommend printing your work when you proof it. Better yet, print it, then go proof it somewhere outside of your office so it seems newer. I would also avoid sending anyone a first draft of anything. If you just wrote it, it probably needs to be reorganized at least a little so it flows cleanly. Finally, never send work product with a message explicitly telling the recipient you don't think it's your best work (e.g. "I think this sentence could be clearer, but I wasn't sure how lol") If that's how you feel, fix it before you send it on.

Hope that helps and good luck!

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sublime

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Re: Struggling at new job

Postby sublime » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:02 am

shock259 wrote:Give yourself some time, triple check everything, and try to find an older associate that you can ask dumb questions to.


This is absolutely correct. You’ll fuck up sometimes. It happens. But they shouldn’t be simple or proofing errors. I learned this the hard way too.



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