Adding value to your firm
One of the biggest things that employers gripe about when hiring new associates is the cost. There is cost associated with training, educating and generally teaching new attorneys how to practice law in that specific area. In speaking with partners of firms in different areas, it can often be several years before an associate begins to actually pay for himself/herself. In many scenarios new associates’ time is marked down or not charged in order to provide an appropriate value to a client. The best way to help overcome the cost of training you, as a new associate, is to help to add value in other ways at your firm. Here are some ideas:
Law Clerks: Does your firm hire law clerks? If so, find out who is in charge and ask to help. Hiring law clerks and interviewing can be a very time-consuming process, as time-consuming as hiring a new associate. You may be able to help with reviewing résumés and eliminating candidates in order to limit the amount of résumés that your partner needs to review. Ask to sit in on some interviews and let the partner know that you are willing to conduct first-round interviews to help in the process.
Holiday parties: Does your firm throw a summer party or a holiday party? Not all firms have the resources to delegate tasks such as these to paralegals or secretaries. Oftentimes this task falls on the partner’s shoulders to find a venue and organize the party. This is a very time-consuming task and volunteering to help with this project can relieve some of the stress of your boss while adding value to yourself as an associate. Your effort will make the firm a more enjoyable place to work at and by helping make that happen it will only help your career at the firm.
Administrative tasks: Again, not all firms have the resources to have staff to cover all of the administrative tasks at a firm. No project is too small to help complete. You want to make yourself a valuable member of the team and you should do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Community involvement: Organize members of your firm to volunteer or to compete in events such as Race Judicata. By spearheading this initiative it will show that you are a team player and you are working to improve the firm’s community presence. This is not billable hours, but the end result will be positive for you and your firm.
CLE: All lawyers have Continued Legal Education requirements. Not all lawyers know where to satisfy these requirements. Find seminars that the firm can attend as a group or invite speakers to come to the firm to speak on topics that satisfy these requirements. This is a lot of work and while other associates may grumble about having to attend, the partners appreciate any attempt to increase the education of their employees.
There are many ways to add value to your firm and these are only some examples. Remember, you want to make yourself an integral part of the firm. You want to ensure that when the partners at your firm are conducting your review or looking back on the year that you have put your imprint on the firm in as many ways as possible. ■