My 1 year work anniversary: what I've learned in my first "real" lawyer job
February 13th marked my 1 year work anniversary as an attorney for the Governor's Office and consequently my first full year as a "real" lawyer. It's been an exciting journey, beginning with having my own office:
Although it has transformed into a spa-ffice, I am too embarrassed to put an updated picture because there is a lot I need to declutter.
I still sometimes have to look at my diplomas and my state bar admission certificate to remind myself that I am qualified for my position, but overall I think I've grown professionally and personally from working at the Governor's Office this past year.
So what have I learned from work in the past year?
- No case will ever be exactly the same.
- This is oftentimes frustrating because some days I feel less competent at work than I was my first month in, but there's always nuances or details about the law to learn and life would be too boring/easy if the cases I worked on had the exact same fact patterns. My law professor said at commencement that it's called practicing law for a reason, and though it's intimidating to think that I may never be perfect at law, all I can do is strive to improve my practice.
- Treat others how they want to be treated.
- I grew up learning "treat others how you want to be treated," but this doesn't fare well in the field of law when I am retained to act as counsel for my client. My job is to give the best advice I can provide to one of the most powerful politicians in the country (and the world.) Even though empathy is not one of my strong suits, I am attempting to improve at understanding other people's perspectives [particularly my client.] What Atticus tells Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird about "putting yourself in other people's shoes" is truly one of life's most important lessons, and something that I hope to improve at day by day.
- No one accomplishes anything alone.
- First, I would not have gotten this position without my high school friend Anna-Karina, my past supervisor encouraging me to apply, support from friends and family to pass the bar and finish law school, and basically anyone who has influenced a decision in my life, so I am grateful to have positive people around me. Although most of my current day-to-day involves looking at a computer or reading on my own, my best work product is edited by my coworkers, and I feel more inspired after I chat with Adrian or Jamie or my other colleagues who somehow tolerate me 40+ hours a week. I've learned the most from all these strong personalities in my office, and they are the [older sisters I never asked for (thanks Annika for the phrase), and] real MVPs for being incredible mentors. So while having the best coworkers in the United States is the greatest gift of all, the cherry on top is Kelly Dodd (who started the same day as me) leaving some Chandon at my door.
Cheers to the last year of the administration!