Training comes to those who seek it out.
Orientation and training manuals cannot possible identify all of the pitfalls inherent in going to work in a new environment. Law students and lawyers need clues and roadmaps to uncover the minefields and decode the otherwise unintelligible signals that employers and co-workers send out every day. Every new job is as much of an opportunity to succeed as it is to memorably blunder or spectacularly fail.
Large organizations: How will I get training?
In most medium-to-large private practices and large public offices there is an expensive and labor intensive Professional Development infrastructure. Employers take this seriously, and you should expect to spend a substantial amount non-billable time during your first years of practice and into your years as a partner or senior attorney on training and professional development.
Expect substantial coursework and practical training in Legal Writing and Analysis; the Substantive Law that you are practicing; Time Management; Office Structure and Business Practices; Practice Management; Client Development; Lawyering Skills, and Professional Ethics.
Do not complain if this is required. It is better for you than vegetables.
Telepathy is not a career management tool.
What if “professional development” is optional? Even if PD is billed as “optional,” you would be short-sighted in the extreme to ignore it. Example: One international firm has an enormous-but-not-mandatory PD Infrastructure. A third year associate complained to the PD Director that he hadn’t been asked to take depositions, but that others at his level had done a number of them. The PD Director noted that he had never attended a deposition training session, demonstrated no interest in depositions, and, thus was offered no opportunities to take them.
How will I be trained in a small organization? Small organizations without PD infrastructure may rely on commercial continuing legal education (CLE) courses for training. In most states with CLE requirements, you must take 45 credits during a three-year reporting period. This is not enough training to begin to be technically competent in anything, so you will have to take charge of your own professional development. Expect to create an old-fashioned but highly effective scheme that will have you researching, observing, asking questions of experienced lawyers, making mistakes which you must correct immediately, and taking pride in learning something new every day. Start with these resources: www.lawyerist.com, relevant national, state and local bar associations, other lawyers in your practice area, and the clinical faculty at your law school.