Big Law Associate Practice Tips

We asked senior associates in biglaw for advice and tips for junior associates in biglaw on how to maintain a sustainable work-life balance. Here are a few of the results.

Enter Your Time Daily

We know this is a hard one! But entering time bi-weekly or monthly is an absolute nightmare. This is one of the most common functional tips we received. It is so much easier if you can develop the habit of entering your time daily. When you delay entering time, it’s also likely that you’ll self-cut or fail to capture accurately all of the time spent on assignments. We all know your billing is important, so take 5 minutes each day and force this to become part of your daily routine. You will thank us later!

Work Early, Not Late

Sometimes it is inevitable that you’ll have to grind to complete an assignment. But would you rather work till 2 am or get up at 5 am? Studies show your brain is freshest in the morning. So if you can train yourself to be able to fall asleep with work hovering over you, knowing that you’ll be able to finish your assignment early in the morning , this can really save you from the late nights which cause so many associates to burn out. Part of this process is building up confidence in your work product, knowing that you can fall asleep with an unfinished brief but be confident you’ll efficiently finish it in the morning with fresh eyes.

Learn to Delegate Work Early in Your Career

As a junior associate, you may wonder how can you delegate work? Large law firms have numerous support options for their junior associates. First and foremost, it’s imperative to develop a good work relationship with your paralegals. Paralegals have one of the toughest and most important roles at a law firm. It is important to keep your paralegal looped into your matters, and consistently stay on them to keep your team files organized and all of your deadlines calendared. Many firms also have third party document services who can save you time on formatting. For example, say you have a 50 page complaint of 120 request for production to respond to? Contact document services to set up a shell response, then you can shoot through plugging in the actual substance. This can save you a ton of time.

Set Your Own Deadlines

A partner emails you Tuesday morning with a new assignment. Your instinct is to ask, when do you need this by? Well the partner most likely wants it as soon as possible, even if they don’t necessarily need it that quickly. Nobody knows your workload and capacity better than yourself. Rather than simply ask, consider responding with “I’m on it, I’ll have this to you by Friday COB.” Setting your own deadlines can be a great way to manage your schedule while also appearing confident and assertive to your partners.

We hope some of these tips can help you manage your workflow and create a sustainable work-life balance at your law firm. We know being a biglaw attorney is not an easy job, but with the proper guidance it can be an excellent and fulfilling career. Contact us with any additional tips, and we’ll post a follow up article soon!