Corporate lawyers are a vital instrument for all business organizations globally. Successful corporate lawyers need exceptional negotiating and communication skills and analytical capacity and must be well-versed in corporate and commercial law. Unfortunately, corporate law is a notoriously difficult field because of the long hours and difficulty of working with clients from various industries.
There are no attributes that separate other lawyers from corporate lawyers. Effective communication is vital for everyone in law, especially with clients and colleagues. This entails both listening and talking skills. However, more than other legal workers, corporate attorneys often consult accountants, bankers, and the employees of companies they represent. Being in contact with so many types of people, corporate lawyers sometimes fear being too nice if they get pushed around.
Here’s how you can be nice and friendly and not get pushed around:
1. Know and respect the hierarchy
From the beginning, you will be aware that corporate law is a very hierarchical place at all levels. Try to understand these dynamics by picking up the nuances among the partners and associates. Once you understand the workings of your environment, take the initiative to do some of the menial tasks if you are more junior than others, and be firm.
2. Respect your subordinates
Be nice to other office staff like the paralegals, and keep their schedules in mind. If you know someone can’t work late one day of the week because of a previous commitment, respect that. If someone wants to work overtime for the extra money, accommodate them. Be strict about deadlines, but always keep your subordinates informed with regular updates, and be prepared to help if something unexpected comes in when they are about to leave.
3. Keep busy, but remember to relax
Even if your workday is more flexible, don’t use that as an excuse to hardly ever be in the office. A good corporate lawyer shows up and maintains a happy demeanor throughout the workday, helping wherever possible but always within reasonable limits.
Keep some friends outside of the law to see whenever you have some free time, and take some time to stay in shape. These small things are what keep your stamina and demeanor strong.
4. Make connections
You are as important as the non-attorney staff, so make sure you get to know everyone in the office, no matter what department they work in. These people can prove useful if you suddenly need information from their department to meet a deadline.
You will need both allies and friends in corporate law, so make sure everyone respects you. This respect will go a long way with your clients. Also, you will need someone to share meals with and vent if you have a difficult day at work, so find your people.
5. Stand firm to your ideals
You have your goals and ideas about how you want your career to develop. Stick to these, even if your dream is not to make it as a firm partner. Additionally, don’t compare yourself to the deals, billable hours, etc., of others.
It is not up to anyone else to dictate where you should be going, nor should you be hard on yourself. As you work toward your goals, each step achieved gives you the boost to keep your spirits and endurance up. The happier you are, the more it will reflect in your work and everyone around you, and the more difficult it becomes for others to push you around.
6. Avoid office gossip
Short office chats are often invaluable, but office gossip can be destructive and a waste of your precious time. The less you know about the latest office gossip, the better it is to carry on with your work.
Feeling in control and valued is vital to you as a corporate lawyer. You can put on a friendly face and treat people nicely without ever getting pushed around. It all boils down to your attitude and how much you respect yourself.