Legal Career Resources

21 Pieces of Career Advice for Attorneys
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Summary: Attorneys often miss out on the best career advice, leading to simple mistakes that can ruin the chances of success in their career.

There is a lot of advice thrown out there to attorneys on how they can be better lawyers and advance their careers. In the article 21 Pieces of Career Advice No One Gives Attorneys, Harrison Barnes provides tips for attorneys that no one else bothers to give. Here are 11 tips to help you get off to the right start.


  1. Attitude Matters

Law firms demand that their attorneys produce quality work and have a good attitude while doing it. They know that not everyone will get along but they still expect their attorneys to find a way of making it work. A lawyer that has a bad attitude from getting assigned things they don’t want or from working with people they don’t want to will not have a future with their firm.

  1. Negativity Keeps Company

Attorneys that have negative friends will be presumed to be negative as well. If you find yourself in the midst of a group that causes problems for your law firm, the law firm will believe you are part of the problem. Attorneys should surround themselves with positive people so that people assume you are positive, plus it will likely make you more positive too.

  1. Do Unassigned Work

Attorneys get an idea that if they show up to work each day and do their job well that they will get promoted. Stay consistent with your work, not taking more than you can handle but if possible, try to take on additional work. Those that put in the most work often see the most success because their extra efforts get noticed.

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  1. Build Your Network

When someone leaves the law firm you work at, you should still stay in touch with them. Keep them as part of your network because you never know when your circumstances will change and you need your network as a resource to aid in finding a new job.

  1. Entitlement Is Not Accepted

An attorney should never feel entitled about their work, job, or abilities. The salary they receive, their clients, and their position with the law firm could change at any moment. Attorneys have to work hard and prove they are worth anything for any chance of being considered for a promotion, raise, or more.

  1. Keep Stress Under Control

An attorney’s job can be extremely stressful but it is critical that they don’t let it show. When a law firm notices an attorney that can’t handle the stress, they won’t assign that attorney more work.

  1. Interact Outside of Work

Get to know your colleagues outside of the office. When invited to attend things with fellow associates and partners, accept those invitations. Making stronger connections with the attorneys you work with will translate into better opportunities at work.

  1. Stay Off Your Phone

There is no need to be on your cell phone all day long. If a law firm sees that you are always on your phone, they won’t think you are committed to the job.

  1. Focus on Work

Law firms often monitor their attorneys’ computers and landlines. Work resources should be used for work and not for personal tasks. They may be able to read your secrets or plans to find a new job.

  1. Be Helpful

Not everything regarding your job is about competition. Be willing to help out fellow associates and partners even if you are not directly benefiting from the favor. Being out for yourself and secretive about your work will cause you to be alienated from those at your firm. Gaining a reputation as someone willing to help will travel and help you stand out.

  1. Focus on What You Are Good At

Avoid working in areas that you struggle with and instead spend time working on the things you excel in and enjoy. You may learn that you enjoy and do well with management tasks or that you do well working with clients. Sticking to the things that you are good at will help you succeed.

Read the other ten tips here.

Do you think law students are aware of how to be successful lawyers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about how to be a successful attorney, read these articles:




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