Summer Associate: Learn From Your Mistakes

Before I get into this post I wanted to say that it’s a blessing to be alive. The disaster in Alabama and other Southern States this week is a reminder that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Let it also be a reminder to live your life today and to make sure you let your loved ones know that you care about them…and to let them know often. My prayers go out to all those affected by the tornadoes.

Thanks for indulging my need to say that first. Now back to the law posts….

You are a summer associate, so the attorneys expect that they will have to edit or correct some of your work. Don’t get too stressed or obsess over it if some of your work gets a ton of edits from the assigning attorneys. That’s no excuse for sloppiness. However, it’s a great opportunity to learn. Be sure to remember or log your mistakes or “highly suggested edits” (sounds better that way doesn’t it). While the attorneys are willing to deal with a few mistakes here and there, they are much less willing and unforgiving of repeated mistakes.

I kept a running log that I turned into a checklist. Before I turned in an assignment, I would make sure I did a quick run through my checklist to make sure I didn’t repeat any previous mistakes. It’s also important to remember that each attorney may have a different preferred style and format. As a result, a memo that is perfect for Partner A might receive a lot of edits from Partner B. It helps if your “edit list” is actually made up of two smaller lists. One list of general mistakes that you look for in everything you write and a second attorney specific list that logs preferences of each attorney.

Before you know it, you’ll have your “edit list” memorized and you won’t need it anymore because you’ll naturally incorporate the edits into an earlier draft of your writing. This summer, keep a positive attitude and take every opportunity to become a better law student.


About Dale-Esq

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