Through a collaboration between its Law School and Lawyer Professional Development Sections, NALP, The Association for Legal Career Professionals, has published an article to answer just that question. Here are some highlights of what law firms expect their entry-level associates to have learned before coming to them:
- Understand project management and process improvement concepts
- Build your professional network while in law school and keep in touch with fellow students - this is where your future business referrals will come from
- Have a client development plan as an entry-level associate
- Learn everything you can about the firm's clients
- Learn the theory of law but also the practice of law - gets hands on legal experience but also know practical skills such as responsiveness, timeliness, and how to respond to constructive criticism.
- Be involved in extracurricular activities - especially professional or industry organizations
- Know the soft skills - communication skills, presentation skills, ability to delegate, and the art of giving and receiving feedback, among others.
For more information about each of these, check out the full article.