Starting Anew

by Meredith Miller on October 16, 2012

In my last two articles, I wrote about searching for a job in a challenging market and prioritizing job offers. This article will focus on several suggestions of what to do when starting a new job.

Prepare

Prior to starting your new job (time permitting) and in the first month or two at your job be sure to read the firm’s current marketing materials, including deal/matter lists, practice area brochures, etc. so you can understand more about the firm’s culture and practice areas.

Make Introductions within Your Department

As soon as you begin your new job make sure to introduce yourself to everyone within your department.  Consider making coffee or lunch meetings with colleagues so you can get to know them out of an office setting.  It is important to get to know everyone in your group: for example, even if you work solely for the corporate department it is important to meet the litigation focused team, because you will likely overlap on projects.

Meet with Key Partners

Depending on your new role in your department, there will likely be partners with which you will work on a regular basis.  Reach out to these key partners and introduce yourself. It may be appropriate to sit with them for an informational interview to find out more about his/her practice and what they want to achieve with your assistance.

Reach Out to Other Departments

Law firm administrative departments often work together on a variety of projects. It is beneficial to establish relationships with members of those departments (e.g. recruiting, conference services, etc.) when you first start at the firm.

Orientation

It is likely you will have orientation with the HR department regarding insurance, 401K and other plans, but it is also important to get training on any programs with which you are unfamiliar. Becoming familiar with new programs will make the transition into the new job more fluid.

Gradual Change

If you were hired to initiate change within a department, making changes gradually will make the transition easier for the group.  In addition, it is helpful to meet with a number of people in the group to hear their opinions before implementing.

Questions

Throughout your orientation and initial meetings with colleagues, be sure to keep a list of questions. The first few days/weeks have so much information that it’s hard to keep track of everything. Once you settle in, you can then make follow-up meetings with the individuals who can help answer your questions.

Meredith Miller is an Assistant Manager for Business Development at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. You can reach her at mmiller@stblaw.com.

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