Laying the Groundwork


Publish Date:
May 20, 2008
Publication Title:
The New Lawyer, May 20, 2008
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece
  • Susan Robinson, Laying the Groundwork, The New Lawyer, May 20, 2008.


Associate Dean for Career Services Susan Robinson writes about new associates at law firms and their need to plan for the future by positioning themselves to receive the type of work they want. She provides a five-step list to get started:

1. Figure Out What You Want – Be self-introspective and decide what course you want for your law career
2. Gain Experience – Do the work that will prepare you for the careers you want. “Similarly, if you specialize in construction law, you’re probably not going to be the top candidate for an in-house position at Google.” Getting relevant experience is important.
3. Develop a Reputation – Make sure that you are the “go-to” associate at the law firm. Doing so will increase the amount of relevant and engaging work that you do, and helps your future career greatly.
4. Build Your Network – The most important step in expanding your opportunities is spending time on meeting and developing relationships. “Seventy-five percent of all jobs are never formally advertised. Those that are rely heavily on recommendations from friends and colleagues in narrowing down the interview list. Fortunately, there are any number of ways to build your network while still at the firm.”
5. Attend Events – Both in the firm and outside of it, such as local meetings of the ABA or commission meetings