Junior Associate #5 - Speak up!
If you read my last post (Look for a fight!), my position is that as lawyers our job is to fight (on the right amount) everything on your day to day life. That is what we do, that is our thing.
While "fighting", this is, arguing, it is not uncommon to have younger associates take a step back and let the more experienced lawyers do all the talking. What is harder to see is that you are basically letting them do all the thinking too, and there is nothing more frustrating than leaving a meeting without being able to state your opinion.
I know that the holding back comes out of respect, out of intimidation, out of being afraid of saying something that doesn't make sense, and all that is totally understandable. All of us have gone through that same process.
However, if the firm, the company, the clinic where you are working chose YOU to work from them is because they think you can bring something to the table and they expect from you exactly that.
They expect you to go against the opinion of other associates and even against the partner. They expect you to state your opinion. They expect you to think and raise your voice.
As lawyers we have basically two ways of learning: studying and failing. Studying is the easy one because your only enemies are paper and ink. Failing is harder because you have to put everything into not failing and when you do, it is frustrating.
Studying every opinion about a matter, looking for hidden outcomes of a situation and showing your disagreement with something will make you learn 3 times more and, if you are wrong but it is a well argued position, you will learn a lesson when they explain it to you. If you are right, you will shine and strive.
This will prove that you are ready for battle not only to your colleagues and counterparties, but also to yourself, which will boost your confidence. There is nothing to lose.
So think, prepare and speak up!
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