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Challenges Every Lawyer Will Face When They Begin a New Job

So, you landed the job - congratulations! No doubt you’re feeling excited, and a little bit nervous about what to expect. You’ll have to negotiate all manner of hurdles, covering everything from getting to grips with your role to finding out where the toilets are (very important indeed) so you’ll need to ensure that you’re ready to learn as much as possible.
Before you get yourself into a flap, just remember- we’ve all been there. While you might not be able to even turn your computer on right now, things will get easier with time, and you’ll receive support from the rest of your team if you need help. Here’s a few useful tips to get you settled in.

Familiarise yourself with your environment

The worst part of starting a job is the worrying beforehand. Once you’ve arrived, take a deep breath and try and get used to the layout of the office and where things are. No doubt you’ll be introduced to the entire team in one go, so the likelihood that you will remember any names will be relatively low. But that’s completely normal- everyone only has to remember you.
Whether you’re in firm that’s small or large, it takes time to get your bearings, find your daily rhythm and know who you’re working with. Start slowly with your immediate team by making light conversation with people if you can - this will help you identify your place within the practice. At this stage, don’t worry about the intricacies of office politics, or who likes or dislikes who; this will come with time and personal experience.

Overwhelming performance anxiety

Once you’ve been given your first assignment, or a dozen all at once, try your best to keep a clear head. Whether you have any idea about what you’re doing or not at this stage, the urge to panic can take over, especially if you have an upcoming deadline.  
First things first: make sure you prioritise as much as possible. If your company has an online calendar system, ask a member of your team to help you with setting up tasks and deadlines, so you can structure your work accordingly. It’s also a good idea to ask you trainer/mentor as many questions as possible to get to grips with company expectations, as well as providing you with a detailed insight into negotiating the firm’s processes and systems. 
You can then create a plan before you start your assignments and find out who you need to speak to regarding specific tasks. Making a check list of what you want to achieve each day will also stand you in good stead.

Accept that you don’t know everything

Despite your relevant experiences and qualifications, you won’t necessarily understand how the firm goes about its day to day business; every practice and every principal within it has their own way of working. One way to get a handle on the methods and styles of your new firm is to get permission to review old files like the ones on which you are working with. In time, and with repeated reviews and readings, you will add your own unique perspective to your team, but first you need to learn the basics.
It’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself in these early beginnings - you won’t be able to adapt to your new office overnight, so be patient. Keep your notebook handy, as you’ll need to refer to some of your training as you progress. If there are quiet periods, revise your notes or company handbook so you can build up your knowledge of company practice - if you demonstrate that you’re keen to learn, you’re on the right track to making a great impression.

Ask for help

Of course, you want to demonstrate your competence to your colleagues and prove your worth. But if you don’t have a clue where you are going with a case, it’s foolhardy to proceed with a task without consulting anyone.  
As such, if colleagues offer to collaborate or discuss some ideas, accept! Having been through it themselves, they’ll understand what you’re going through. If you’re not inundated with offers of help straight away, be sure to have a chat with your superior to see what they can do. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness- if anything, it shows that you’re confident in approaching others and solving problems.
Remember, becoming a great lawyer is all about your practice, and practice ultimately makes perfect.

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