Firm Blog

Resolutions For The Young Lawyer

Posted by: Victoria Santoro


Ah, yes.  The obligatory New Year’s blog post on this year’s resolutions.  Luckily for you, I made these resolutions a few weeks back and have already tested them so I could honestly let you know what’s been working for me and what I’m taking with me into the future.

Educate.
In July, I attended the AAJ convention and on at least three separate occasions over three days, I had attorneys ask me “what books are you reading?”  Three times over three days, I adopted the “deer in the headlights” look.  I wasn’t reading any books…on lawyering at least, but I always love a great piece of fiction.  Too bad all those hours spent with my kindle weren’t doing much to push me towards legal success.  You may think reading about practicing law would be about as exciting as the textbooks we were force-fed in law school, but I assure you there are some fabulous, interesting and exciting books out there on all sorts of legal topics. Buy them now.  Not only will books provide you concrete examples of how to execute the task you’re currently struggling with but will also provide you with ideas of how to more fully approach cases, with strategy and perspective.  And through this process, I have learned just how incomplete my legal education is, and how important it is to keep learning throughout my life.
My recommendations: Rules of the Road, Sleights of Mind

Engage.
When I began at my beloved firm, MBBB, I began a journey in the footsteps of extremely accomplished leaders in our local, and national, bar associations.  I slowly got involved on committees and began to attend events.  As I’ve blogged about before, socializing is an absolutely crucial piece of practicing law.  But now that I’m on my feet (somewhat) legally, I have felt much more confident stepping into leadership roles in bar associations.  And I have already felt so rewarded.  I have made innumerable connections with people I respect and enjoy and feel much more a part of the larger legal community in Boston and Massachusetts.  Bar associations also involve themselves in meaningful community service, which I have found to be deeply personally fulfilling.  Leadership in a bar association provides you insight to ongoing political issues that will impact lawyers and clients, and provides a concrete pipeline to the issues facing lawyers in all disciplines.  Increasing my involvement in the community has proven to be both fun and important.

Eat.
With other lawyers.  When I made this resolution, it followed a conversation regarding the lack of face to face contact in the modern world.  It is unbelievable to me how much other lawyers (young, old and in between) truly appreciate the value of getting together.  I began this personal challenge hoping to eat lunch with a fellow lawyer once a week.  That hasn’t been possible so far, but I have succeeded in doing this at least a couple of times per month.  Again, this provides an opportunity for information exchange across practice areas and fosters a referral network, the most important issue facing many lawyers in this economy.  If eating lunch a few times a month with your fellow attorneys sounds like an investment of time and money, you are right.  But it has proven to be so worth it.  I’ve been able to make meaningful connections for new lawyers, recruit new members to my bar associations, and open up new referral networks in other parts of the state.

I’ll be bringing these three critical new habits with me into this new year and hope you too will educate, engage…and eat for success in 2013.  Happy New Year!

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