Best to avoid overcomplicating tasks early in law career

By Staff

Associates often face a myriad of expectations, responsibilities and challenges in their practices, which may lead some new lawyers to make matters more complicated than they need to be, St. Catharines family lawyer and mediator Sharon Silbert tells The Lawyers Weekly.

Now seven years into her career and running her own solo family law practice, Silbert, principal of Sharon B. Silbert Professional Corporation, can reflect back on her first experience as a junior associate in a demanding, high-intensity environment with a large Bay Street firm in Toronto. There, she says, she quickly learned to turn to colleagues from her cohort year and a couple of trusted, slightly more senior associates for advice or an opinion on a legal or strategic matter.

Of course, Silbert explains in the article, nearly everyone makes ‘rookie mistakes’ during this period.

“My problems with time management weren’t so much about being unable to meet deadlines but more about having a hard time knowing when to call it quits, determining how much time really was worth investing in a particular task,” she explains.

At the time, Silbert says, every task seemed important — and undoubtedly, every aspect of a file is important to a client. But, she adds, as she spent more time with clients, which is something she sought out by switching to family law, Silbert realized that what actually matters the most is the resolution achieved for the client.

“This relates back to new lawyers sometimes making things more complicated than they need to be,” Silbert says in the article.

“Thinking that every issue is a huge life or death issue — that may or may not be the case.”