The bar exam is over, summer is winding down, and junior lawyers all over the country are gearing up to head to work. This is an exciting time, and I encourage you to enjoy your last bit of freedom before entering the workforce full-time. Here are a few tips to smooth your transition from law student to lawyer.
1. Get your home in order
Are you moving to start your new job? If so, make sure you unpack completely before you start work. You do not want to come home to rooms full of empty boxes after a long day at the office. Even if you worked full-time prior to entering law school, you may find it hard to get back into the 9-to-5 groove after three years of a flexible schedule, especially if your new groove is actually closer to 9-to-whenever the work is done.
2. Automate everything
This may seem extreme, but you should simplify your everyday life as much as possible before you start your job. You can set up automatic bill payment, housecleaning, laundry pick-up, DVR recording, and on – whatever makes sense for your life, schedule, and budget. Prepare for the worst case scenario: lots of work, all the time. Even if you are not super busy from the start, you may find yourself exhausted at the end of the work day from the stress of learning a new job. Save your brainpower for work.
3. Shop within reason
Dress codes vary widely by office, so I suggest you hold off on any major clothes shopping until after you’ve been at work for a couple of weeks to get a sense for your office norms. But at a minimum (and obviously), you need to make sure you are neat and presentable starting on day one. A good rule of thumb is to wear a suit your first day. Over time, you will probably dress more casually, as very few offices actually require formal business dress these days. And don’t be afraid to show your personality through your clothing if it makes you happy! But do keep a blazer in your office in case you get called into a formal meeting.