July 2019

Letter from the Chair of the New Lawyer Division

By Mellania E. Safarian

Clark Hill PLC

Hello New Lawyer Division:

I want to begin by thanking everyone for their support thus far. We are halfway through the year and the New Lawyer Division (“NLD”) has already accomplished so much. From monthly meet-ups to quarterly CLE’s, the NLD has shown that New Lawyers are a fundamental part of the San Diego legal community and a force to be reckoned with. None of this success would be possible without your continued support and for that we are incredibly grateful. As we move into the second half of the year, I want to share three of the most important tips and strategies for success as a new lawyer that I’ve learned in my role as Chair of the NLD.

First, learn from the talent around you. Whether you’re in law school or just started your first job, you are surrounded by incredible legal talent. The individuals around you are undoubtedly diverse in their styles, habits, and approaches. Recognize this and harness the power it provides by analyzing what they do and how they do it. When you see someone do something in a way you find effective, learn from them and make it your own. Take bits and pieces from individual lawyers to create a composite of skills and styles that works best for you. Take the time to see how different people attack the same task, identify which is best suited for you, improve on it, and make it your own. Every great lawyer has learned from other great lawyers.

Second, be professional in everything that you do. Everyone you meet, from the most senior partner to the temporary support staff, deserves respect. This also applies to your interactions with opposing counsel and even your attire on casual Fridays. Being professional does not just apply to what you do or say, it also applies equally to what you wear. Adjusting to the stress and pressure of working in the legal field will not be easy, and even the greatest attorneys have made mistakes. But above all else, it is your professionalism in those particularly challenging moments that will shape and define you. Use these moments to develop the perspective and judgment necessary to become the great attorney you have always wanted to be.

Third, engage, volunteer, lead, and pursue opportunities available to you. Often times, we are so busy juggling our time and the countless other things we have to do that we miss out on opportunities to engage with the legal community. Great lawyers do not accept missed opportunities and you will not learn what you do not see. As you emerge into the profession, you will find that many great lawyers have deepened their knowledge and network by joining bar associations and volunteering on committees. Put simply, you need to get out of your office and pursue these opportunities and see these great lawyers in action – the sooner the better.

On that note, I hope to see you all at our annual Signature Event on Friday, August 16th at the Guild Hotel. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at www.sdcba.org/whiteparty.

As always, I hope that you will continue to network with us and be sure to look out for future emails with events, programming and our monthly publication, For the Record.


Mellania E. Safarian

Chair of the New Lawyer Division