There are a number of skills that all litigators learn at the beginning of their careers: How to draft an initial round of discovery, how to take a deposition, how to work up a case without input from a partner. If you really want to shine, become an expert in one of those topics that litigators take up only after they've learned the basics. Here are some examples:
- Forum and venue issues;
- Removal and remand procedures;
- MDL procedures for complex federal cases;
- Trial procedures, including evidentiary issues.
The goal is to become "the person to ask" on any or all of these issues, which is guaranteed to set you apart from the pack. For another take on this topic, see "Your Time of Trial: The top 10 ways for young associates to thrive on the litigation team," by Steven C. Bennett (Legal Times, 10/11/04).