In my job, I often get asked what “professionalism” means. The word is lengthy and so is the range of what it connotes. Professionalism as it relates to lawyers means being a competent, effective, respectful advocate for your client and the justice system. As we explain in our Professional Responsibility Education Guide, professionalism “calls us to be mindful of the lawyer’s roles as officer of the legal system, advocate, counselor, negotiator, and problem solver.” That involves respect, civility, proficiency and a recognition that the life of a lawyer is a life of continuous learning.
However as I travel the city and the state, I meet many young attorneys who want more specific, day-to-day professionalism advice. Their requests often boil down to this single question: how should I act in the workplace as a new lawyer not accustomed to the norms of the legal profession? In my years as a practicing lawyer and professional, I have learned many tips and tricks about how to succeed in this profession. I’ve also learned that when you need advice for an advice column, the best people to ask are your friends. So here, from myself and others, are 20 tips on how to be a professional young professional in today’s workplace.
If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Professionalism Committee, please email Kara Sikorski at email@example.com.