There is no gentle learning curve or methodical training for associates who are expected to hit the ground running, bringing business to the firm as early in their careers as possible. It's all about rainmaking. The ABA Journal notes that associates with partnership aspirations need to get on the business development fast track right away.
In today's upended legal landscape, new law firm associates are expected to be more productive, more business-savvy and more entrepreneurial than ever before. In fact, the timeline for associates to "get it"-to know how to make themselves valuable members of any legal team-has shrunk from a couple of years to a couple of months, according to a panel of senior lawyers and general counsel at the 1L Leadership Council on Legal Diversity scholar's retreat last summer.
The Journal recommends investing in yourself by taking advantage of mentoring programs and business skills training. "What time?" you may ask, with billable hours and demands on your time creating constant pressure. Keep both an active internal network to insure your advancement, while also building a strong external network. This will help give yourself options when you reach your fifth or sixth year as an associate and realize you may want to go in a different direction with your career. Many associates believe that working hard and proving themselves as dependable "doers" will be enough. In the current economic climate, the Journal explains, it is most important to be the rainmaker who brings in business, creating your own billable hours work. Good business connections will help at your current firm as well as any firm you may ultimately choose to move to later in your career.
The ABA Journal