I am the guest poster that was introduced here last week. I am a partner at an Am Law top 10 firm. I know this is a very hard time for all of us, especially given the lay offs at many of the nation's top law firms. It is more important than ever for associates to stay focused on their performance and to continue to demonstrate their value to their respective firms. There are a lot of ways to do this - here are four quick pointers: (1) Communicate. Make sure that you are always on the same page with your partner regarding the scope of an assignment, the due date for that assignment and the form of the the assignment (email, or formal memo); (2) No Suprises. Make sure that your team members know where you are on the weekends and know in advance, if possible, when a vacation is planned. (3) Blackberry. Everyone should regularly check their messages and respond to them, but do not use your blackberry or your cell phone when you are in client meetings or meeting with your Partners. and (4) Legal Research. It is good to be thorough, but with Westlaw and Lexis it can come at a huge cost for the client and a surprise for the billing Partner. Always ask if you are going to use these expensive on-line research tools. Better yet, do not use them. Loislaw is free and just as good and there are others as well. Well those are my four pointers for this week, I hope they are helpful and I hope to be invited back again soon to offer suggestions. Have a great week.