Being a graduate lawyer is a nerve-wracking experience. Graduates are expected to walk into a law firm and perform with little practical experience.
Graduate lawyers have to quickly learn how to work with senior lawyers, build strong relationships with clients and trustworthy working relationships with colleagues.
They have to learn to handle significant client-related tasks with little guidance. This means that having excellent written and oral communication skills and a high level of attention to detail are absolute musts. Memos, drafting, email, workloads, time sheets, deadlines, and reviews are all part of this new experience.
Trying to adapt to life in a modern law firm brings on stress, and this can undermine productivity and foster dissatisfaction in this new role.
Focus on learning and development
Law firms that place a large emphasis on learning and development will help graduate lawyers not only develop their professional and technical skills; this also helps them develop and refine their practical skills: dealing with clients, cultivating relationships, etc.
Practical skills are the things that are not found in textbooks, and they are not taught at law school. These learning skills are necessary to become an accomplished lawyer, many of these will be taught in PLT, but there are a lot of things that are best learned through the patience, guidance, and shared wisdom of an experienced lawyer.
Mentoring is essential for both their performance and helping them develop relationships; especially for younger lawyers because it provides a sounding board where they can discuss the difficulties that any junior lawyer faces. There's always something new to be learned and a mentor can share stories with these graduates. They can include the techniques that they have found to be successful, and also acknowledge any mistakes that they have made.
The range of mentoring can vary because every encounter doesn't have to be a formal arrangement. Sometimes, something as simple as a one-off coffee meeting can be very effective. The internet is also a great place for mentoring, with many platforms connecting mentors with graduate lawyers remotely.
Help them develop professional relationships
As was discussed before, mentors can be great as sounding boards for issues graduates are facing, but sometimes what graduate lawyers need is to discuss these issues with people who are going through the same situation as them. By helping them develop relationships with fellow or recent graduates, this can help them deal with the stress a lot better.
The practice of law is frequently a collaborative process, which means that developing these relationships will likely come naturally. Don't feel that you have to intervene directly, simply give your grads opportunities to work together and let them do the rest.
Tech Can Help Them Become More Confident in Their Work.
Graduate lawyers can tackle their new responsibilities with more confidence when you provide technology that is designed to maximise efficiency and productivity. Sure they'll need to learn how to use it, but with proper training this shouldn't take too long.
Today's graduates embrace technology. They adapt well, and law firms will need to adapt in order to motivate and retain them.
Transitioning into a law firm should be an enjoyable learning experience, and young lawyers, in particular, are looking for a tool kit that will help them succeed. These graduate lawyers are in the third phase of their journey. They've completed their degree, they've found a job, and now, they want to excel and impress. This is a nerve-wracking experience for them, and there is a lot of self-inflicted pressure.
A practice management solution offers many useful tools and it becomes the central nervous system of your entire law firm. Our all-in-one solution organises your practice and manages all matter related content across the firm. It keeps track of emails, documents, calendars, deadlines, time, contacts, billing, accounting, and much more. It streamlines daily tasks and workflows, and allows them to be stored and completed electronically.
All of your firm's activity will be visible in a single, centralised location. That's important because the easier it is for graduates to get the right information, the easier it is for them to do their jobs well.
Law firms can help them excel when they provide a working environment where there is genuine collaboration and support. This will help them learn and progress quickly. When law firms also harness the latest in technology, this makes these lawyers more productive and helps them complete their work faster.
These are the things that will give them confidence, and confidence is the most important characteristic any lawyer can have. Nothing is more important to their long-term success. Are you providing the right tool kit?