The Difference Between a Good and Great Junior Attorney.

Law is competitive, and it can be difficult for young attorneys to stand out at their firms. However, junior associates can give themselves an edge by taking an active interest in their practice and their firm’s business. Here are some specific ways junior attorneys can separate themselves from the pack.

Know Your Practice Area

This goes without saying, but great junior attorneys don’t just clock in and clock out, they have a healthy intellectual curiosity about what is going on in their practice area. Great junior attorneys make themselves aware of the latest developments in their field. For example, great junior patent attorneys will stay current on recent federal circuit decisions and regularly checking popular patent sites, like Patently-O. These attorneys realize that understanding their practice landscape gives them context for the cases they are working on, and makes them more knowledgeable, competent attorneys.

Know Your Firm’s Business

While seemingly obvious, it is worth saying that great junior attorneys know what’s going on in their own backyard. They are aware of the major cases being handled by their firm, the status of those cases, they subject matter they deal with, and they key issues they cover. They are also on the look-out for potentially new cases. For example, if you are a copyright associate, and your firm has had Google for a client, it would be wise to setup alerts on their new copyright litigation. Great junior attorneys recognize that to move up in the firm, they have to take an ownership interest in not only in their own work, but also in the work of the firm as a whole.

Know Your Colleagues’ Business

Associates often work on teams. Good junior attorneys may think doing a competent job on their piece of a project is enough to rise to the top. Great junior attorneys recognize that they need to be knowledgeable about their colleagues’ work, in addition to their own. They skim briefs written and submitted by other attorneys at their firm and take an interest in the cases their peers are working on. This allows the junior attorney to quickly pick up cases where others leave off, and to become a resource of firm information that others look to.

Know Your Competition

Great junior attorneys also understand the competition as well as they understand their own firms. They are knowledgeable about who the major firms are that compete with their business, and the big cases those firms are handling. Great junior attorneys understand that one day they may end up sitting across the table or the isle from their competition, whether in negotiation or in court, and detailed knowledge about these firms goes into good preparation. Additionally, great junior attorneys understand that being aware of the competition’s strengths and weaknesses can help their firm differentiate itself in the quest for acquiring clients.

Docket Alarm is a useful piece of tech for junior associates to stay on top of cases in their field and their firm, and to stay competitive with other firms. Docket Alarm can find all the cases your firm is working on, setup alerts for those cases as needed, and track newly filed cases as they come in. Docket Alarm can help the good associates become great ones.

Docket Alarm is a comprehensive legal research and analytics platform helping attorneys enhance their practice. Sign up today at to start receiving litigation updates in your inbox.

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Docket Alarm is an advanced search and litigation tracking service for the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), the International Trade Commission (ITC), Bankruptcy Courts, and Federal Courts across the United States. Docket Alarm searches and tracks millions of dockets and documents for thousands of users.

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