From Law School to Law Practice: The New Associate’s Guide, produced by the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, is a book aimed at fledgling attorneys starting out at larger law firms and in-house corporate legal departments. The book is broken up into four sections, and each one discusses certain expectations of firms and clients and how attorneys can meet such expectations. A copy of this resource is available in the Career Development Office.
The first section offers advice for meeting a client and establishing a relationship by describing some of the most common expectations of clients and how attorneys can succeed in fulfilling these expectations. This section begins with advice about identifying the client’s unique needs and how those needs may affect the particular role an attorney might have to play. Next, the book offers tips for lawyers about how to become accessible to clients and how to communicate effectively. Finally, this section rounds out with recommendations on how to apply legal skills to practical situations and concerns of clients.
The second section focuses on life at a law firm and expectations of supervising attorneys in such an environment. The first part of this section describes the kind of atmosphere new attorneys can expect in a law firm. The other part of this section provides attorneys with advice about how to develop skills crucial for work at a law firm, such as how to manage time, specific assignments, and the general workload.
The third section shifts the focus away from law firms and describes the prospects of working in a corporate legal department and the expectations of corporate clients. The book does a good job of directly comparing and contrasting the features of law firm work and in-house corporate work, including a description of the most common type of law encountered in corporate legal departments and the way it is practiced.
The final section of this book includes advice on career development, offering tips on how to set professional goals and how to advance in law firms and corporate legal departments.
Overall, this resource is well-organized and offers a great deal of practical advice. However, aside from the section on client expectations, this book is most useful for those who know they are interested in pursuing, or have already accepted, a career with a medium or large firm or with a corporate legal department.