Starting your new role in law?
- September 15, 2018
The first 30 days are critical to any job. There’s a lot to take in, new names to remember and you’re still finding your feet and getting settled. On top of all of that, you’re keen to make a good impression, demonstrate your worth and integrate with colleagues. Not much to do then!
We’ve put together the essential tips to help any legal professional make it through their first thirty days. Follow our guide and you’ll not only survive the first month, you’ll be set up to thrive for a long time to come.
What to do in your first thirty days
The start of a new job is your chance to demonstrate to your new employer what a valuable asset you are. According to Forbes’ research, ‘professionalism’ is the number one trait that employers value. So how can you balance a high degree of professionalism with being focused, positive and enthusiastic?
There are three stages to bring all of these elements together:
1. Your first day: The most important thing you can do on your first day is to be on time. Lateness gives the impression of a lack of care. Be friendly and open when introduced to colleagues, but don’t overshare or be tempted to speak negatively about your former employer.
2. Your first week: Show enthusiasm when delegated work and don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something that you don’t understand. Continue to meet with management and partners. Show an interest in what your new employer tells you about the department, the firm and its vision. If relevant, relate this vision to your own experience as this may well benefit the firm.
3. Your first month: A new role, a new firm and new colleagues all take a little adjustment. Be sure to attend one-to-one meetings arranged by your manager, and if these are not forthcoming then you can request them. Be open to feedback and give feedback in a thoughtful, constructive way. Make your development goals known and work on a development plan with your manager.
Being proactive will put you in the driving seat of your new career and will help you feel more settled and secure. It’ll leave a good impression on your new employer too!
How to make a good impression in your new law job
Making a good impression at the start of your new job sets you up for success. Some of the most important attributes listed by Aspiring Solicitors include things like motivation, integrity, and teamwork. And while those are particularly important for people at the beginning of their career, they don’t go amiss at any stage.
A good impression is about demonstrating your value. You want to reinforce in your employer’s mind that they were right to hire you. The ability to work in a team shows that you’re interested in the collective success of colleagues and the firm. Listening, enthusiasm and a willingness to get stuck in show that you’re a good fit while showing off your skills. When meeting management and partners be open to what they are saying, especially if they are communicating their vision of what the firm is working towards. Show an interest and bring your experience to bear: your experience is valuable and if you have skills or knowledge that will help the firm achieve what they want, share it. This will impress leaders and demonstrate your skills and commitment.
Making sense of the firm’s culture
Getting to grips with a new job is one thing, making sense of the culture of a firm is another. There are several simple things you can do to help you get familiar with your new workplace.
1. Make use of your mentor – If you’ve been partnered with a mentor, they can prove invaluable in helping you understand the firm. If you have questions about how things work, potential office politics, or anything that’s not necessarily related to the work but the everyday ticking over of the place, your mentor will be able to give you the insider’s view.
2. Attend orientation, meetings and introductions – This will give you a good overview of the firm and how it works. Meeting key players and observing them in action in meetings will give you a good idea of the leadership style and how this influences the firm.
3. Pay attention to feedback – Whether feedback is delivered as an everyday drip-feed or in more formal one-to-ones, it gives you a good idea as to the culture. Keep your ears open to what’s being said and learn to understand what is expected of you. Being told what to adjust and how to make it better, helps you understand the firm’s values in a tangible way.
How to integrate with co-workers
It’s likely that you spend more time with your colleagues than anyone else, so it makes sense to have good relationships with those you work with. In order to integrate with colleagues in the first thirty days of your new job, there are a few steps you can take.
On your first day, be friendly and open. A smile and a firm handshake convey trust and create a good first impression. Take time to introduce yourself to your mentor and make sure that you go to lunch! Chatting with people away from your desks is much more likely to see you get along on a personal level which helps to enhance working relationships. Just beware of oversharing and don’t be tempted to talk negatively about your former employer: you’ll quickly destroy trust and be viewed as a gossip.
Over the coming weeks is when you can start to build and solidify working relationships. If your manager hasn’t arranged it, ask to be introduced to the department head. Being aware of who’s who will help you understand your work and build positive relations. If you’re invited to events or networking make sure to go along. Avoiding these kinds of situations gives the impression that you’re not a team player and can damage relations with colleagues.
Hit the ground running
Joining a new firm can be a challenging process. But by going through things in a logical and proactive way, you can make the best of your first month. Ensure you tie up your own goals with the goals of the firm, demonstrate your value and your senior colleagues will be thrilled that a talented legal professional has joined their firm.
Our guide on ‘How to excel in your first 30 days’ will give you more hints and tips on settling into your new role – download your complimentary copy or contact us on 01772 259 121. We’ve decades of experience working with legal professionals to place them in their ideal careers and we’d be happy to help with whatever challenges you’re facing.
And if you found this blog interesting take a look at our other blogs; ‘Secured a new role? Top tips for your first weeks’ and ‘The secret of success – sheer hard work’. You can also register your CV with us online.