Declan Young
Declan Young

Articles From the Team

Junior Lawyers - How to start 2022 with your best foot forward... 

Firstly, a happy New Year for 2022 and I wish you every success this year.

You’d be forgiven for feeling like 2022 feels somewhat like a false restart but we have in fact entered a new year, despite still working from home and things not quite back to normal as of yet! I thought it might be useful to gather my thoughts on starting the New Year with our best foot forward...

Reorganise Your Home/ Office Work space

Start with the things directly in front of you. Before make a start on any substantive work, tackle your working environment first. Clear out your folders, file any spare papers or shred the, figure out places for things to go and ensure your working environment allows you to make productive use of it.

If this seems like a big task, split it up into manageable sessions and do a section a day, or set some time aside at the weekend. Your best bet is to set up systems for yourself. Work out how you operate most effectively and tailor your working day around that.

Reorganise Your Inbox

Once you're done with the physical clean-up, it's time for the electronic version. As with the above, the best bet is to try out various systems and methods for around two months, to see if they suit you. After that, if there are things that aren't working well, you can change your inbox habits. The trick is not the organisational system itself but how well it actually delivers results for you.

As a junior lawyer, you're in a great position to start trying out different methods. Here are some popular strategies to consider:

  • Inbox zero - this system advocates for removing all emails from your inbox as soon as they come in or is reasonable to action them. When you receive a new email, you decide immediately: file it for later, take action, or delete.  It's a tough policy to stick to, but you could always try setting a zero-inbox target for the end of the day, or for the end of the week.
  • Read and review - in this system, you read and review every email that comes in, but leave the relevant ones in your inbox for future reference. The key with this technique is to be able to use your 'search' function really well, so that you can pick out relevant emails later and return to them.
  • Flagging and categorisation - this is for those who can handle a lot of emails in their inbox.  Using the flagging function, you can identify the most important emails to action in the future. And with categorisation, you can colour code your emails in order of priority or urgency if you wish to.

Arrange Regular Meetings with Your Supervisor

Take the time to craft a carefully written email and get in touch with your Supervisor, as your face-to-face communications with them may be limited do to the current pandemic circumstances. It could be as simple as asking for a five-minute chat to discuss something of interest, or to ask a particular question that you've been considering. Remember that mentoring relationships are built and developed over time – drop your immediate expectations, and approach mentoring with curiosity and openness.

Additionally, building your network is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a junior lawyer. Often these early professional relationships will last long into your legal career. Take the time to look through your contacts to see if there's anyone you should be catching up with.

Whether you're building up a first-time mentoring relationship, or developing an existing one, an important (and often overlooked) aspect is for you - the mentee - to add value. It might feel like the mentoring relationship is all about your personal development, but it's likely to be much more rewarding for you both if you can give something back. Have a think about what value you could add to allow this working relationship to flourish.

Here's to 2022 everyone! 

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