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The Key To Being A Lawyer & Making Partner

In our professional development videos, I ask law firm partners to share their tips for associates on effective workplace communications, business development, and client communication. All of these topics are essential skills to master on your way to making partner.

Today, we put it all together with Adam Gropper, author of Making Partner: The Essential Guide to Negotiating the Law School Path and Beyond (buying via this link supports JDCOT). Adam’s story is great because he had to fight his way up to making partner in a BigLaw firm. Check out his advice in this video, then watch the related videos for more from Adam and other JDCOT guests:

Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.

Today’s Guest

Tax Attorney Adam GropperTax Attorney Adam Gropper
Title: Legislation Counsel, Joint Committee on Taxation
City: Washington, DC
Law School: The George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.
Grad School: Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL (MST in Taxation)
College: University of Florida in Gainesville, FL
Previous Careers: Adam practiced tax law as a law firm partner before going to Capitol Hill. He has written a book called Making Partner: The Essential Guide to Negotiating the Law School Path and Beyond, and shares career advice on his blog, Click here to see more of Adam’s Career Advice

*Buying via this Amazon link supports JDCOT.


This is a preview of the transcript on making partner.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career guidance video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone, today on JD Careers Out There, we’re talking to the author of a new book called Making Partner: The Essential Guide to Negotiating the Law School Path and Beyond. His book fits right in with the type of content we cover all the time to help you steer your career in the right direction, so I’m really happy he’s here with us.

As you may already know, at JDCOT we explore career paths both in and out of law to help you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree.

I’m your host Marc Luber, the founder of JDCOT. I’ve always used my law degree to work in alternative careers for lawyers – first in the music industry and then as a legal recruiter. I’ve been helping lawyers with their careers since 2003 and I’m excited for the opportunity to help you.

Today’s guest is Adam Gropper – and Adam’s a CPA and a lawyer who rose from being a tax associate to a partner in the big law world, and since 2009 he’s been working on Capitol Hill, where he’s an advisor to the United States Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, helping members develop and draft tax legislation.

Adam also runs a site called Legal Job where he shares advice on topics like what’s in his book and what we’ll be discussing today. Let’s meet Adam! Adam, welcome to JDCOT.

Adam Gropper: Thanks, Marc. I’m thrilled to be here, thanks for having me on.

Luber: So Adam, your book Making Partner has a lot of great advice in it – and it’s the kind of advice that young lawyers really need. As a legal recruiter, I saw it all the time that too often they would learn this stuff a little too late in their careers, so I’m really glad you wrote the book and I’m glad you’re here to share advice with our audience.

Let’s first talk about being a young associate, because obviously you gotta be a good associate to eventually make partner. So talk to us about that.

Adam Gropper: Alright, thanks Marc. I guess the first thing I would say is, at bottom, there’s no substitute for doing the work. You have to do work and you have to do good work, and you have to do lots of it, and you have to collect on your time.

So my book doesn’t have tricks about how you can skip all that and maybe take an easy path to making partner, to excelling as an associate. That’s sort of full-stop, you gotta do the work. What my book talks about a lot is soft skills, and kind of really refining the soft skills and how important soft skills are, kind of as a compliment to the substance. Can I talk about one of them?

Luber: Yeah, let’s talk about soft skills because those are really important things, it’s stuff we talk about on this site, the importance of being able to communicate like a human with other people. Tell us the importance of that.

Adam Gropper: I think it’s so important, as a junior associate, as a young associate, your clients, so to speak, are the partners. That’s who you’re getting the work from. And lots of partners have different personalities (they’re not all the same) and they have different expectations.

So you may be the most brilliant associate in the world, but if you’re not meeting their expectations, things aren’t gonna go well.

So the first thing I talk about in the book is how you have to communicate and understand expectations, understand exactly. “You want this project done, what is your time? What is the format you want? Do you want a memo, do you want an email? Do you want an executive summary?” And everyone’s going to be different, so you can’t assume anything.

Luber: That’s great advice. And you’ve been on both sides of that, as an associate and a partner – so I really hope everyone is taking your advice to heart. We’ll dig deeper into all of this in the full video! Lots more advice there from Adam, everyone.

You’ll want to join the JDCOT membership for access to the full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people are saying about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

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©2016 Careers Out There

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Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
100% Privacy. We never share your information.