Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorneyby Morten Lund
A new job is scary for anyone. A new job as an attorney is scary times two: the challenges are both substantive (as in actually knowing the law), as well as procedural (as in knowing how to act like an attorney). In this professional transition, many, many new attorneys fall by the wayside. This book is a guide to keep the new attorney on track. It includes advice for… See more details below
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A new job is scary for anyone. A new job as an attorney is scary times two: the challenges are both substantive (as in actually knowing the law), as well as procedural (as in knowing how to act like an attorney). In this professional transition, many, many new attorneys fall by the wayside. This book is a guide to keep the new attorney on track. It includes advice for the new law firm associate by a "biglaw" partner. Written in a first- and second-person tense and filled with no-nonsense guidance from someone actually in the mentorship role in a real-world law firm.
Two titles are available to the new attorney: The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book: A Survival Guide, which started the genre, and now Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney. These two companion books will make a difference--sometimes THE difference--for the new attorney. This book is written in a style that is direct and informative. While many guidebooks are filled with platitudes and generalities, there is a serious need for genuine professional guidance. That's where these two focused guides step in.
The author is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, where he practices law in financing transactions, energy projects (including wind energy and hydroelectric facilities), and international business. Born in Oslo, Norway, the author is a graduate of Yale Law School. The author was responsible for training of new associates at Foley & Lardner, LLP, and his mentorships were adapted for a broader audience in this book.
Two titles are available to the new attorney: The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book: A Survival Guide, which started the genre, and now Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney. These two companion books will make a difference--sometimes THE difference--for the new attorney. This book is written by a current law partner, in a style that is direct and informative. While many guidebooks are filled with platitudes and generalities, there is a serious need for genuine professional guidance. That's where these two focused guides step in.
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This book presents its advice in 21 clearly articulated rules. Even though these rules seem very simple and almost common sense, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the finer points and a useful reminder never hurts. The book frequently reminds the reader that they will be at the bottom of the totem pole in their new position and that they will need to tread lightly. For someone who has already been working for some time, this is already an accepted fact and one too often learned the hard way. Lund’s book tries to prevent that painful learning experience. While the book is geared towards new attorneys entering a big law firm, I think many of the rules it teaches are relevant to the working world in general. Without question those who have gone straight from college to law school will find this book invaluable, but I think for someone who has experience in an office setting prior to law school, the book offers little more than a re-articulation of how to know your place and perform effectively. -Diana
Jagged Rocks of Wisdom by Morten Lund is a very useful book for summer interns and new attorneys. Much of the advice the author provides is not only insightful but comes from real life experiences. The short stories in each chapter, allows the reader to put themselves in a similar situation and learn what to do or not to do. The author’s tone of voice is real and down to earth. I especially admired the author’s caution against being close minded. I realized that every professional setting will be filled with people of all backgrounds and it is important to respect each individual. The author really put the summer intern or new attorney’s role in the office into perspective. Advice about writing memos, proper etiquette, and how to confront a partner were few of the tips I will take from this book. I know that I will recommend this book to my legal colleagues. – Esther Noh, 2L Summer Intern
I've broken rules 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 19, and 21, just about half the rules in this book. Each and every time I broke one of these rules, I felt the consequences: loss of trust by my supervising partner, looking like an idiot, looking lazy, the list goes on and on. Had I read Lund's book, Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney, before starting work at the largest law firm I ever worked in, I would have undoubtedly been far more successful than I was. Lund writes from the perspective of a partner in a law firm, faced with associates who are variously ineducated, unskilled, eager to learn, forgetful, lazy, clueless, rude, stuck-up, arrogant and utterly unaware of their low place within the hierarchy of a law firm. He has to manage these associates, and he's got many other things to do each day besides manage associates. So by producing such a simple, clear set of rules for how the law firm works, he has essentially produced a book that if read and digested by associates, there should be no more of the stupid, timewasting, moneywasting, embarrassing, client-annoying, partner-annoying, and pointless mistakes that suck useful time out of each and every day. And when these mistakes are avoided, he's happier. So you'll be happier. Because if the partner isn't happy, you will definitely not be happy and you won't leave the office until the partner is happy! The book is a lunchtime read - it's short. There's no fluff in here, just 100% pure and serious advice. Some of it sounds like common sense, but for every reader (including me), there's important rules that are not common sense, but which are still highly important. For example, I would often be in a casual hallway discussion with a partner about a project, and realized that I had no yellow pad to write on. So I either tried to remember everything that I was being told (a bad move), or scribbled the information on whatever I had in my hands, which was generally the back side of an already-printed contract or envelope, sometimes the back of my hand itself. These techniques showed me as unprofessional, and this was noticed by partners who felt my record-keeping was a little too ephemeral for their liking. Just remember that every rule is in the book because someone (or some people) didn't know beforehand, and screwed something up. Read each and every rule, just to make sure you're not one of those people who screw up. If you're a law student nearing graduation or nearing a summer position working in a firm, buy it, read it, and take it all in. It will boost your chances of getting a favorable outcome from that summer placement or internship countless times. If you're a law professor looking for a good book to use for a short course on legal skills, buy twenty copies and use it as the class text. Bring in a guest lawyer each week and discuss one or two of the rules. If you're a hiring partner in a law firm, buy this book for each and every one of your new associates, and have a one hour meeting with a senior partner to go over the material so that each and every new associate knows the rules. This book shouldn't be limited to law students who want to become the best attorneys they can; employers can take a proactive step and make sure that each and every new attorney knows the rules by making sure the new associates have this book.