What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do: Finding the Path Forward
By Sophie Dieckhaus
Joye Law Firm
I entered my professional legal career as an Intake Attorney for a prominent personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm that had a fairly new intake department. Before the makings of their intake department, intakes were screened by the attorneys with the assistance of their legal team. It was overwhelming to be a part of something so new, considering I was also so new to the legal profession. Navigating how to orchestrate a robust, efficient, and effective department and team that matched the prominence of the law firm was a daunting task. However, after almost a year of doing this, I realized everything we needed to succeed was right in front of us.
I think most people struggle with the question of, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” many times throughout the course of their lives. I thought this when I was studying for a final exam, when cleaning a very messy apartment, and, most recently, when structuring a new intake department. Our intake department is around five years old, so it was basically an unsteady toddler when I began working here. Before my time at the law firm, it was described as a revolving door of employees with fickle initiative and a shaky foundation.
Answering the question of what to do when you don’t know what should come next can feel impossibly daunting. It doesn’t have to be that way. By adopting a few simple strategies, you can develop the skill of navigation and be able to face the most intimidating conundrums with the ease and grace of someone who always knows the answer is just around the corner. These are the steps I have found to be useful on the journey to create a strong and successful newly made intake team within an older organization:
The short answer to the question is when you don’t know what to do, DO SOMETHING. In almost all circumstances, doing nothing breeds more problems than it fixes. Do not shy away from doing the hard work because the rewards will come – slowly but surely.
About Sophie Dieckhaus:
Sophie Dieckhaus is an attorney at Joye Law Firm in South Carolina. She works with the law firm’s Intake Department, which oftentimes is the first initial contact with prospective clients. “I’ve always wanted to be an attorney,” she says. “And watching other legal professionals in a courtroom setting is how I knew I made the right decision.” She was attracted to Joye Law Firm by the firm’s strong reputation for providing clients with attentive legal service.
Sophie grew up in a town outside of Chicago, Illinois. She attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Marketing. She graduated from the Charleston School of Law in May 2021 and focused her attention on leadership organizations like the Student Bar Association while she was studying law. She was published in her school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Journal and served as their Managing Editor. Her summer internship with U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel for the District of South Carolina was one of her favorite experiences during law school.
When not practicing law, Sophie enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and exploring Charleston’s many good restaurants and beautiful sites.