Associates Chat with Law360 on Habits of Effectiveness

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On October 9, Law360 published an article entitled "7 Habits Of Highly Effective Associates" (subscription applies). The article quotes Patrick Deyhle (New Brunswick), Eric Konecke and Tanya Mascarich (both in Madison), and Daniel Shim (New York).

  • Tanya makes it a point to ask partners or assigning attorneys upfront about deadlines and has, over time, learned to tell the difference between "soft" and "hard" deadlines depending on the attorney. "[B]ut until you do, treat everything as a hard deadline. Keep a list on a small pad by your computer or phone showing tasks that need to be done and their due dates, and update it regularly, such as every two weeks. Highlight ones that have to be done within the week and cross them off when completed. This helps to keep your focus on what needs to be done when you can be distracted by something that is more exciting but less time-sensitive," Mascarich said, adding that setting calendar reminders on a computer can also be helpful.
  • Eric said: "[Push] aside any fears of failing or of being perceived as uninformed and saying yes to tasks or projects that might seem daunting. Truly effective associates also never say 'I don't know.' By that I mean, when they are given an assignment, they search for answers independently to get the job done rather than asking for step-by-step directions or throwing up their hands and telling the partner 'I don't know.' ... Sure, it's okay to ask your colleagues' opinions, but learn how to solve problems yourself and take responsibility for your own decisions."
  • Daniel offered: "Remember that you are in a service industry. Just like a great waiter at a restaurant, the best associates will anticipate needs before they arise. For an associate, instead of refilling a glass before it is empty, we need to prepare for questions or issues a partner or client will raise before they are asked."
  • Patrick noted: "Make every effort to attend marketing events and internal firm functions. Getting your name and face out there are more important than you think and is not just for partners."