Whether it’s a summer law clerk position, intern- or externship, or your first job as an attorney, meetings will be an important part of your work life. There are many spoken and unspoken rules of etiquette that should be understood and followed. Law associates and interns are always looking for a way to distinguish themselves. Your professionalism during meetings is a good way to be noticed.
- Be punctual – Arrive a few minutes early, find a seat, and get yourself situated before the meeting begins. This shows respect and organization. If you know you are going to be late due to a previous appointment, let the organizer of the meeting know in advance why you will be arriving late. Enter as quietly as possible and select a seat that will cause the least disruption.
- Be prepared – Before the meeting, read any documents relating to the agenda, and bring any materials needed. This will allow you to contribute and be an active participant.
- Take notes – Be prepared to take notes by bringing a notepad and pen. This shows you are serious about your role in the meeting. Tablet computers like iPads are convenient for taking notes, but just make sure that you only use the device to take notes as you do not want to appear inattentive. Checking email and instant messaging on your phone or any other device is considered rude.
- Actively participate – When asked for feedback and you have something to contribute, speak up. Be careful not to interrupt someone while they are speaking. Ask questions when appropriate, this will show you are engaged.
- Be attentive – Avoid side conversations, not only are they distracting but they could indicate that you are not paying attention. Leave your cell phone in your office or make sure it is silenced and avoid checking it throughout the meeting. Be courteous to the speaker and be an active listener.
- Follow through – If a course of action is agreed upon, you are assigned a task or project, or given a deadline or details regarding an ongoing assignment, take careful notes in the meeting, so that you will remember what was discussed and can follow through with any assignments you agreed to do.
- Thank the organizer – When leaving the meeting, thank the organizer for the meeting. This is a sign of respect and good manners.
Meetings are a great opportunity to let people know that you are serious and committed. If you display proper etiquette and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding, you will be noticed.