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CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER

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Managing Your Time at Work. [by Danielle D. Hansen]] This week, we look at ways for you to manage your time. It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems, as long as you prepare and actively do what it takes. Without precaution, your job will turn into a stress-filled endeavor that will make Law School seem like child’s play.

Most major law schools have policies that

seniors and supervisors that you not only

torneys, try to do so early in the day or when

limit the amount of hours students can work

have the skills and ambition to flourish as an

they don’t look so busy. Remember to respect

at outside employment, especially first-year

attorney but also that you’re willing to put in

the fact that they are probably just as busy as

students, who are sometimes prohibited

those long hours.

you, if not more. If you have a question and no

from working. The policies are in writing,

one is available to answer it, your time will be

sometimes in great detail, and they generally

Unless you’re working in the mailroom, there

wasted if you wait by someone’s office until

state the same thing: We want our students

are no time clocks at law firms. When five

that person can assist you. It’s unproduc-

dedicated to their legal studies, and for this

o’clock rolls around and you’re in the middle

tive and frustrating. Instead, be a polite pest.

reason, we do not allow these students to

of writing a brief or researching some case

Emphasize how important it is that he/she

work more than X (usually 20) hours per week.

law, you will be expected to finish your work.

address your question so that you can return

That means canceling your six o’clock dinner

to your work. You’re paid to produce, not wait

The real world has no such policy. You’d be

date, alerting your child’s daycare center,

around for answers. So if you get your answer

lucky to have a 20-hour work week. This is

and/or having to miss the latest episode of

early, you can resume working and theoreti-

magnified greatly in the legal profession,

Survivor (unless you remembered to set your

cally leave on time.

where 60-hour work weeks are not uncom-

VCR). Make your breaks count.

mon, where billable hours sometimes provide the only way for you to earn your keep, where

This is a part of legal firm life that you must

If you need a break, take one. Don’t bring

holidays are merely workdays with less traffic.

accept. You must have a plan to contend with

your papers with you when you go out for a

the inherent stress; otherwise, it will affect

walk. Clear your head, and your work won’t

Working long hours can prove to be a daunting

you greatly. Here are some suggestions for

be as daunting when you have to return to it.

task, especially for newly hired attorneys. The

battling this stress.

Of course, taking breaks too frequently will kill your productivity and will probably get you

bottom line is that you simply must adapt your lifestyle to working longer hours if you’re go-

Plan for a 10-hour day.

fired. Instead, make the quality of your breaks

ing to thrive in the legal world.

When you wake up in the morning, don’t fool

count, not the quantity.

yourself into thinking that you’ll only be there Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have

eight hours. Be realistic. If you plan for eight

Delegate.

to slave away for decades of your life with

hours and you start working past five o’clock,

Most younger associates do not have a staff

no time for friends or family. It does mean,

you’ll invariably begin to feel the stress. Your

to which they can delegate work. However,

however, that you may need to plan your time

personal issues and concerns about your

this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for

more efficiently in order to get the most from

evening plans will dominate your thoughts,

help. Depending on your particular job, your

it.

and this is not good for your concentration.

superiors might actually respect the fact that

Instead,. go to work knowing you’ll be there

you’ve asked for help. Time management

Let’s look at some time-management tips

until seven. That way, if you get off at six,

is part of your job. If you’re going to miss a

for attorneys who work in larger firms or

you’ll feel like you’re escaping an hour early.

deadline, they need to know immediately. They

corporations.

This is preferable to planning to leave at five

do not want you to miss a deadline - ever.

o’clock and then realizing you’re leaving an

Correspondingly, asking for help five hours

hour late.

before that deadline is infinitely better than 5

If you join a firm as a new associate, you will

minutes before.

be expected to work long hours. Many contend that this is the only way to succeed. In order

Get your answers ASAP.

to make partner, you will need to show your

When you need to consult with fellow at-

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These are just a few tips to help you cope in a

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CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER

legal job. Some of these may not be applicable to your particular job. For example, if you work at a firm where delegation is frowned upon, you are expected to do your own work. However, most employers aren’t that stringent. So take a deep breath occasionally and realize the end of the day is only as far away as you want it to be. You’ve entered a well-respected, high-paying profession with room for advancement, provided you work hard and pay your dues. That corner office awaits you as long as you continue to strive for it and manage your time expeditiously.

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Managing Your Time at Work.