By Nadia Ennaji • August 31, 2018•Writers in Residence, Careers
As a new associate, what I found the most difficult to handle is my time. Especially when I am confronted with something that I am unfamiliar with, I often find myself spending hours of research. Most of the time, those hours spend on research can’t be billed back to the Client, because it will be unreasonable. And if you are a type A like me (and I suspect you are) this makes it even more difficult to put a time limit on the assignment.
What I found helpful is to give myself a time window by which I will stop the research and actually start the draft. When it comes to drafting pleadings or motions for example, I will start the draft within an hour of having started the legal research. By forcing myself to write, even if I feel uncomfortable or not ready for it, I am actually starting the task which is a step closer than just being stuck in continuous research mode. This comes handy, because unless you actually start drafting, you cannot know how to distinguish the cases and how to apply it to the facts of your Client. By starting to write and continue the research in parallel, it naturally guides you to a finish product. In a sense, the draft becomes your guide for your research, and not the other way around.
When you actually begin advancing in your work, you quickly get to the core of the issues, to separate what you don’t know from what you do, which brings into focus the specific information you need to complete the task. Not only will the clearer focus help you research more effectively, it will help you become more productive too.