Dear Amicus Agony,
I am a junior lawyer and do not enjoy certain aspects of my work, particularly the need to develop business and network with clients. I definitely prefer to handle the transactions and workload allocated to me by my supervisor and cherish my personal time after work hours.
Do you have any tips for me?
Dear Introverted Associate,
This is a common feedback from associates but I would recommend that you keep an open-mind towards the business development aspects of practice. To become a well-rounded associate, it is essential that one is technically sound and also possesses the “soft skills” relating to client interaction typically required in this profession. Everyone would have his/her “likes” and “dislikes” and this is perfectly normal and natural.
The preference to avoid networking with clients might be due to this being new to you so perhaps give yourself a little more time to be accustomed to networking. However, the need to network and develop business will more likely than not increase with your seniority – if this remains not your cup-of-tea you could possibly also consider roles which do not place an emphasis on this requirement. This could entail an in-house role, professional support role or even a role outside of the legal profession.
In summary, do keep an open mind and be assured that many associates are feeling the same way as you are. If you have kept an open-mind and given it a genuine go, there is no shame in exploring roles which are more suited to your personality.
Dear Amicus Agony,
I am a newly qualified lawyer and very much enjoying the autonomy and freedom which comes from working from home arrangements which have been in place.
With the country slowly re-opening and workers being asked to go back to the office, I find myself dreading to go into the office. Should I look for a job which would allow me to work from home fully or at least the majority of the week?
Happy Newly Qualified Associate
Dear Happy Newly Qualified Associate,
Congratulations on your recent qualification!
I have no doubt a majority of the lawyers enjoy working from home permanently unless their homes are not conducive for such an endeavour. However, the downside of working from home permanently potentially entails a slower pace of learning from a lack of direct supervision by one’s mentors and poor work productivity, particularly so for young lawyers who are still in the process of mastering their practice area. The ability to discuss matters freely with your peers and supervisors would naturally be curtailed by work from home arrangements. Your supervisor might also not be able to spend as much time as he/she wants to guide and nurture you. You could also be encouraged by the prospects of getting to know better your peers who would be undergoing this long-haul journey in the legal profession with you.
If you ultimately still prefer working from home, you can consider having a candid conversation with your employers to agree on a semi-work from home arrangement (failing which you might need to explore your options elsewhere).