September 2015 Bar Bulletin
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September 2015 Bar Bulletin

Adapting to a New Climate: Tips for Acclimating to a Different Workplace

By Kyler Danielson


A change in job or office can be daunting. Switching jobs usually requires changes in commute, colleagues, clients, projects and often lifestyle, especially for young attorneys. Everyone and everything is new.

Thankfully, there are several helpful strategies to maintain your composure during your transition. Successful transitions in the legal field require settling, goal-setting, jumping in, marketing and following up.

Make Yourself at Home

Attorneys often spend more time in their offices than at home. Add personal touches to your office to be more comfortable and efficient in your new environment. You can make yourself at home by getting to know your surroundings and personalizing your space.

Get to know your surroundings. If you are not given a tour of the office, take one anyway. Find the break room, the office supplies and the best route to the restroom. Find the printers, scanners and copy machines, and verify that your computer can print to those locations.

On your first day, everyone knows that you are new and getting comfortable in the office. However, after a week or two in a new office, it is embarrassing to ask for directions to basic office facilities. Learn the basics during your first week to save your future self from embarrassment.

Personalize your space. Once you know where the supplies cabinet is located, stock your desk with the necessary supplies. Remember to grab the essentials: pens, highlighters, legal pads, Post-It notes, more Post-It notes and file folders. Consider the less obvious. For example, grab extra staples to keep in your office. Ask if there is a set of Washington Court Rules for you. Do not forget to customize your voicemail message and email signature.

Most offices allow you to bring framed pictures of family, artwork or your diplomas from home. Bring artwork that helps you relax. Displaying your personal interests in your workspace can be a great conversation starter with your colleagues.

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