Month: November 2016

“Biglaw Basics”: Precedents

“What the heck is a ‘precedent’?”, I remember thinking on my first day when I heard corporate colleauges—who clearly weren’t invoking the caselaw principle every law student knows and loves—refer to them.  I quickly learned, however, what most of you already know:  a “precedent,” in firm jargon, simply means a past example.  A similar work product that can be a guide, a roadmap, or—in many cases—a first draft for whatever you’re working on (as we talked a bit about in our “Staffing Meeting” post). I remember being surprised—and, I’ll admit, a bit disappointed—when I learned how heavily Biglaw lawyers...

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Explain It to Someone

Biglaw life can often seem like one big exercise in trying to get your mind around new and complicated concepts.  It starts immediately—on your first deal, on your first case—and it never stops.  You’re constantly challenged to take on more responsibility and tackle more complex challenges. Fortunately, most Biglaw lawyers are good at research and figuring things out.  They tend to pick new concepts up quickly and easily—which can be a huge asset, given Biglaw workloads and timelines.  But when you have a facility for picking things up quickly and easily, and you’re also under intense time pressure, you...

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Just Get Started

I hate not understanding things.  It’s the main reason I became a lawyer.  And when I’m confronted with something I don’t know or understand—like when I used to get new assignments at the firm or new cases in my clerkship—I dive headfirst into background-research mode.  My instinct is to try to learn everything—to try to get my mind fully around every part of a question or task—before I begin working, so that every single step is 100% right from the very beginning.  I suspect many of you are the same.  Biglaw lawyers are Type A, perfectionist types.  But in...

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“Biglaw Basics”: Creating Mark-ups

Last week, we talked about turning the mark-ups of others and taking advantage of the related development opportunity.  But mark-ups will also be a big part of your life because you’ll be creating them.  Constantly.  So it’s important to learn how to do it right. For the junior associate crowd, my first word of advice on creating mark-ups is this:  whenever possible, don’t.  At least, be judicious about when you decide to mark a document up by hand, as opposed to editing it directly on your computer.  Why?  Whenever Possible, Don’t In my experience, juniors love to begin marking...

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