Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 43

THE LEARNING CURVE

START BY SHOWING UP
By Josephine Bahn

W

hether you're a partner, an
associate, a government or
nonprofit attorney, or a law
student, your practice - and your
life as you know it - very likely
changed because of COVID-19.
Big firms have shortened, canceled, or shifted
their summer associate programs. Associates
have been laid off or told that they won't be
starting this fall as expected. Bar exams have
been canceled, delayed, or even possibly
transitioned online. And you may have even
furloughed some of your own staff. We are
living in unprecedented times, especially those
of us who are in the early parts of our careers
or are still in law school. But there are still ways
to remain engaged with all that it means to
be an attorney.
As a young lawyer, I set goals for myself to
make sure that my self-marketing stays fresh
and that options for new roles, advancements
within my current job, or new opportunities
to lead remain available. During these times of
uncertainty, I evaluated how I can put my best
self out there.
The first for me is easy - being available and
ready to take on something new when an
opportunity presents itself. As screenwriter
Aaron Sorkin puts it, "Decisions are made by
those who show up." The opportunities I've
had mostly have come from my showing up
and reaching for something that wasn't necessarily in my wheelhouse or that I wasn't ready
for, but I went for it anyway.
Every so often I take a look at all my professional activities and the boards I sit on and ask
myself: Are they still (1) making me happy, or (2)
advancing some goal I am trying to achieve? If

they're not, then I know it is time to cut them.
These last few weeks I've been more deliberate
about finding time to take on an extra project
at work, write a new article, or focus on honing
my practice-specific skills. In fact, in these
"quarantimes" I've found that not venturing out
for evening activities or joining lunch meetings
has made me more discerning about how I
spend my time.
So, in the next few weeks, whether we find
ourselves still in lockdown or not, seek out a
new opportunity, be it writing, networking, or
job hunting. Explore opportunities with your
local, state, national, or affinity bar association.
Associations today are looking for a new generation of leaders - they're looking at you.
Your involvement will unlock a new opportunity, and it could be as small as getting published or being asked to speak on a panel, or
as big as getting hired.
Still not sure where to start? Consider joining
the D.C. Bar Communities for tons of opportunities to grow your network while developing
your career around your specific practice area.
By being part of one of these communities, you
can access writing opportunities, leadership
roles, and speaking engagements while networking with lawyers in the same practice area
as you. This is an easy first step for bar association involvement.
In addition to checking out the D.C. Bar
Communities, use this time that we're in quarantine to look for other ways to network with
like-minded practitioners. Reach out to your
mentors, even if it's been a little while since
you've recently chatted, for help to flesh out
your career goals, opportunities for leadership
roles, and ways to stay engaged. Then ask them
to recommend someone new to connect with
- oftentimes they will make the connection
for you - and you never know what fruit
may fall.

Aside from connecting with your established
network, take advantage of LinkedIn's great
resources. Using targeted searches, you can
connect and have virtual coffees with law
school alumni, leaders in the industry or
firm you might be eyeing, and attorneys in
your substantive practice area.
In my experience, leaders in bar associations,
including the D.C. Bar, and seasoned practitioners have been more than willing to meet folks
in all manner of ways to share career advice
and discuss next steps and opportunities for
advancement for young lawyers. You just need
to take that initial step, and using your personal
network and LinkedIn can really get you there.
These are some of the tools I've used to secure
new employment or opportunities. I've had
two jobs as an attorney - clerking in federal
court for a year, and now working for the government. I remember our judge reminding us
clerks on the day we started that we needed
to find employment. I applied and applied,
and then I applied some more. I legitimately
applied to close to a hundred jobs postclerkship, averaging five applications a day,
figuring that something had to stick. In the
end I got a whopping two interviews and
one offer.
So while the landscape looks different than
it did in fall 2016, the practices that worked
for me can likely work for you, too. Set small,
achievable goals every day and show up. Soon
enough you'll be a decision maker.

Josephine (Jo) Bahn is an attorney in consumer
enforcement at the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation. Bahn also works with the greater D.C.
community on pro bono cases involving small
claims, landlord-tenant, consumer, and family
law-related issues.

JULY/AUGUST 2020

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WASHINGTON LAWYER 43



Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Staying Afloat feature
Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Annual Report
Taking the Stand
The Learning Curve
On Further Review
Member Spotlight -
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Women's Suffrage special section
Speaking of Ethics
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Staying Afloat feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 38
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Member Spotlight -
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Women's Suffrage special section
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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