“Pro Bono: The New Associate’s Compass To Success”
Fall is a time of change: school resumes, leaves turn, temperatures drop … and new associates arrive. Welcome first years! As you’re settling in, you’ll probably notice numerous helpful articles in the legal press about how to succeed at a law firm. These articles are filled with useful insights from experienced practitioners. In case you don’t get to them all, here are some of the most common refrains:
- Find a mentor — but be yourself
- Focus on skills — especially client skills
- Don’t get siloed — engage with the world
- Prepare for partnership — build a network
- Don’t burn out — stay happy
These are all good paths to follow, but also a lot to take in at once. I want to suggest a handy compass. Not a shortcut (because there are none), but a compass — one that can guide you to a single nexus for each of these paths, yet is not given nearly enough prominence in advice columns for new associates. The compass is pro bono publico. Delving into pro bono legal work upon arrival at your new firm will put you on sound footing in all these areas, and a step ahead of your colleagues who don’t. Sounds too good to be true? Using the list above, let’s take a look and see if a pro bono compass can’t guide you to success.