Tips for Summer Clerks and New Attorneys

July 14, 2011

Tips for Summer Clerks & New Attorneys – How to Stand Out

The American Bar Association Section of Litigation recently released a podcast of “Advice for Young Lawyers” (also valuable for current law students) here.

Betsy Collins, a partner in the Mobile, Ala., office of Burr & Forman LLP, gives the following tips to help law clerks and new attorneys impress their supervisors:

– Turn in a draft that is as complete as possible;
– Think creatively and take initiative;
– “Don’t ever ask a partner a question that you could easily find out on your own.”
– “You need to read the case and know what the case says before you cite it.”
– Do not make inexcusable, careless mistakes such as citing overruled law. “This will get you into so much trouble in so many ways—with the partner you’re working for, with the client, with the court,” warns Collins. “The only thing you really have when starting out is your credibility, and if you lose it, it’s really hard to get back.”
– “Always understand the procedural posture of a case that you’re relying on. A decision may be less than meaningful if the procedural posture of a case is different than your own.”
– “Build rapport with the opposing counsel. Having a good relationship can make a difference if you find yourself in a lurch with a particular deadline or if you have a particular need.”

[Thanks to Legal Skills Prof Blog]

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