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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Help me help you: Do you have a tip for Limiting Interruptions? Just send an e-mail here or tweet to @babysharklaw. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: I find myself putting off boring tasks until the last minute – and then things get really stressful. Any suggestions for getting over procrastination? A: To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, “You can have results or excuses, but not both.” Granted, our topic is not weightlifting, but the maxim still rings true. Procrastination can be self-destructive – but we all know that. And while…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

As in the past, I am starting this column by asking you to help your peers. Send me your thoughts on how you know when to stop researching. Just send an e-mail here or tweet to @babysharklaw. Easy! I will share the responses in a future column. Thanks! Katie Larkin-Wong on Parenting, Lawyering and Staying Sane. Being a lawyer and a new parent involves innumerable challenges. For insights on juggling all the responsibilities, I interviewed Katherine Larkin-Wong. She is an associate at Latham & Watkins, a new mom, and the past President of Ms. JD. Her partner, Jono, also has…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Before we start – help me help you: Send your tips for bouncing back from work challenges. Tweet to @babysharklaw or send an e-mail. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. Thanks. Good goes around! Q: I know of times when lawyers have sugar-coated feedback and left people confused about how they are doing. And a senior associate recently joked that new lawyers need to learn how to “take a hint.” Do you have suggestions on this? A: Ah. The world would be so much less interesting if people always said what they meant and meant what…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Thanks for the great insights on the questions that start this column; here is another one: How do you manage stress? Just send an e-mail here, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: It is hard for me to track all my time. I can be in the office for long days, and I end up without much billable time. Do you have any time-tracking suggestions? A: Yes. Tracking time is one of the less fulfilling aspects of law…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Last month I started the column by asking a question to get your tips to help others. That worked well, so I am doing it again: Send me your thoughts on “how to take a hint.” Just send an e-mail, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! The responses should be interesting, and I will share them in a future column. Q: Our new billable year starts January 1. What is your advice for getting off to a good start? A: The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on your career (and other…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

To start this column, help me help you: Send me the tips you use to make sure you track all of your time. Just send an e-mail here, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: I hear the advice all the time that associates should not make the same mistake twice. But no one makes mistakes on purpose. Do you have any suggestions to make sure mistakes don’t happen again? A: I do. But remember that mistakes don’t just…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I have been told that I should try not turn down work, but I have also been told not to take on too much work. I am not sure when I should say, “no.” Do you have any suggestions about when and how I should decline work? A: You are in luck. Recently, in working with a prestigious firm on its new associate orientation, a secret and coveted text came into my possession. Written by Anonymous, the compendium is aptly named, The Little Book of No. More on that below. But first, some caveats. Someone has to do the…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I am a new lawyer, and I understand the need to keep my “filter” on. But it seems awkward to focus on that all the time. And I sometimes find that I have let my guard down before I know it. Any suggestions? A: Yes. But it takes practice and planning ahead. Here are some tips to help keep you from stepping in it: Pinpoint your vulnerabilities. Thankfully, we are all different. Some people tend to be more deliberative; others are more impulsive. And many external factors can affect what we say or do. Think about your natural tendencies…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I have just started having direct contact with a client. I need some information from the client to complete a project. But I have contacted the client several times, and I have not gotten any response. I'm concerned about telling the partner, because the partner may think I can’t handle the situation. Do you have any suggestions? A: Yes. The client is probably just busy. You can try some additional approaches, but if the project is languishing, you need to tell the partner. My answer below assumes, of course, that the information you requested is not something that your…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: If I am going to miss a deadline, does it help to tell the attorney who assigned the work the reason that I can’t make the deadline? A: Usually, no. Think of it this way: If you go to a restaurant and your food takes an eternity to arrive, are you less hungry because the “kitchen was backed-up”? Are you less annoyed? Probably not. You just decide the restaurant is mismanaged. There are some times that providing an explanation will soften the blow. For example, if you are working around the clock on a high-profile matter, you may get…

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