Justin Chu recently joined our office. I have asked Justin to periodically blog about his observations during his first year as an attorney. The following is a such blog:
A student transitioning from law school to first year attorney gets a sudden and unexpected lesson in physics – he learns about the relative value of time.
In law school, the amount of time a student spends on studying or working on a particular project is a badge of honor. Peers revere the library “weekend warrior,” whose battle wounds of baggy eyes, unkempt hair, and coffee stained teeth evidence their commitment to being the best in class. Indeed, even if the immense amount of time spent in preparation does not result in the top grade or a winning mock trial argument, the student finds some comfort in knowing despite being beaten, he was not outworked.
As I’ve transitioned from law school to law practice, I have learned that the way I work is different. While hard work is certainly expected, I have learned that there is no virtue on spending a time working on a project that yields little benefit to the client. Much like a poker player, who knows that having poker chips of high value is just as important as accumulating many of them, I am learning that the value of my work, and its contribution to the case at hand, is more important than simply accumulating billable hours.