I had a couple other thoughts after writing last night's post:
1) Everyone screws up. I made a few huge mistakes my first year. Everyone does it, and partners expect it. The difference will be how you handle it. Some people get very defensive, or shift blame, the best way is to own up, take responsibility, but always have a plan to fix it. If presented in that way "I screwed up, but here's what I can do..." I think partners will respect that. And if it has your name on it, you have responsibility for it, even if there are many other names on it too. You may think this is common sense, but it's definitely not from what I've seen. People blame their assistants for not typing something in correctly, which may be true, but that's definitely not an excuse.
2) Your mindset should be that your job is solely to make your partner look good (and as long as you have an ethical partner that will never conflict with your duties to your client). I spoke with some 1st years this year who were making some huge mistakes (after the partner gave them a talking to), and they really didn't have that focus before I spoke with them. A lot of the problems could have been avoided if they just thought "Will this make my partner look good or bad in front of either the other partners on the case or the client?" And it would have improved their work product.
Noble wrote:Thanks for the info.
1.) What type of personalities "make it rain"? Do you ever see timid, unlikeable, or boring people make partner? Or do they all have good personalities? I know this is poorly written but im typing this from my phone.
2.) How much does being personable/having a good sense of humor/good speaking ability/charisma help in a. OCI's and b. your ability to succeed in a firm?
3.) You've mentioned the value of "writing ability". What does this mean exactly? And do your reading/writing skills improve considerably in law school?
1.) All sorts, I've seen very unlikeable people make partner, but how they act around the client is anyone's guess. I think for the most part, you have to be able to relate with your client and vice versa, but remember that all sorts of unlikeable people are in charge of companies.
2.) A lot, if people like being around you and you do good work, you'll get chosen over someone they don't like being around who does good work. However, if your work sucks, it doesn't matter.
3.) I think my reading/writing skills have improved a ton since law school, but mostly from doing a lot of it repeatedly. By writing skills I mean your ability to take a case, dissect it, analyze it, and write a persuasive memorandum incorporating it.
What kind of writing are you doing? Meaning: are you writing blunt, factual statements or fanciful and articulate explanations? Do partners like verboseness or are they looking for concise, bullet pointed style writing (Im sure this is different for everyone but in your experience)? How long before you get to showcase some "real" writing ability i.e. not plugging words into a template?
Depends on the audience. If you think verbose = "real" writing ability, then you better do appellate work. In my experience district court judges don't really appreciate verbose fanciful language. I mean concise, coherent, and persuasive writing. I think that most trial level (district court) judges don't want to wade through the language, they want to see what the issues are, what the case law is, and why they should rule for you as quickly as possible. It's not bullet pointed, but it's definitely not flowery. I have worked for partners who like flowery language, and I usually give them the framework/arguments to build on, and that's worked for me thus far. Nothing that I've written has been template work, but it may not be the type of writing you're thinking of.