Top Tasks When Beginning in a New Job

A lawyer contacted me after switching to a new firm. Eager to make a great first impression and to make the most of the first six months, he asked what he should be sure to do. Here’s my non-exhaustive list:

1. Do excellent work. First impressions are often lasting impressions and fumbling an early assignment creates great difficulty. If you make a mistake, you can recover, but so much better not to need to try.

2. Focus on internal networking. Get to know as many people as you can. You’ll be busy with work (we hope!) and it’s important to keep your “business social calendar” hopping as well.

3. Find a mentor within the firm. Especially for those who’ve made a lateral move, you must find someone who will tell you how your new firm’s culture operates.

4. Establish a fantastic working relationship with your assistant. You will likely need some time to get into the groove with someone new. Have regular meetings (they need not be long) to talk about what you need, what you assistant needs, and how you can work well together. Be sure to listen to your assistant’s input as well; he or she may have valuable input for you about how the firm operates.

5. Look for ways you can contribute beyond your work product. You’ll bring a new perspective and may have useful input on all sorts of situations. It’s impossible to list what they might be, so keep your eyes open.

Did I miss anything that you think belongs in the top 5? Please let me know if I did!

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