It may be a talent-driven market where the lateral hiring of star performers is a hot topic, but don’t rest on your laurels. The men and women at the top didn’t land there without dedicated effort, strategy, goal setting, and an open-minded embracing of game-changing technology, culture, and attitudes. Building your career in law is a challenging proposition, but for those who meet it, the rewards are great.
Determine your purpose. Why did you go to law school? What was the motivating factor? What do you want to gain for yourself – and for others – in your pursuit of the law? What is your end goal – the “when I retire and look back on my life, I want to have accomplished . . .” goal? Write out a mission statement that defines your purpose. This is the central pillar – your measuring stick, for all your decisions as you embark on career growth.
What are the milestones you need to accomplish to reach your end goal? Write these out on a projected timeline. Where do I want/need to be in two, five, and ten years? Where do I want to stake my flag in twenty-five years? Don’t make the mistake of limiting this to “business” goals. Include personal aspirations, such as marriage, children, and buying a home, as well as community and political goals such as running for a political office or serving on a national board.
Take time to break down your goals into steps. Align the steps you need to take for professional and personal objectives. Look for actions that will benefit more than one timeline. Pay attention to the potential conflict between goals. For example, if you estimate sixty-five-hour work weeks during the same time frame that is earmarked for the early days of parenting, one area may sabotage another.
These are the maneuvers that you make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis – to carry out your strategy, accomplish your goals, and serve your purpose! This is the work. Setting your vision, determining your goals and creating strategy came first, but now it’s time for action.
- Evaluate your character, skills, personality traits, and connections. Do you have what it takes? What ongoing education do you need? Which association memberships will benefit your journey? Which ones will bog you down? Which pro bono opportunities should you accept? Should you consider a change of location?
- Keep up with your legal industry. Pay attention to trends and game-changers. Test new ideas first, but don’t be afraid of innovation. Welcome technology and use it as a tool for your journey.
- Deliver world-class service. Listen to your clients. Communicate promptly and deliver on your promises. Growing your career involves building your clientele. Clients who are fully satisfied with your service return. They also share your name with their colleagues, family, and friends. Experienced attorneys will tell you that client service is ninety percent of the practice of law.
- Embrace diversity among your colleagues. Learn from different perspectives. Treat everyone with respect and courtesy.
As you ask yourself questions, make decisions, and enact your plan. Keep going back to your mission statement. It will help you choose the right course for your journey.
Connect with the experts in career development. At OnBoard Legal, we know that being on a successful path includes exploring career options. We offer our candidates strict confidentiality, market expertise, access to available opportunities, integrity, and sound advice. We have been doing this for more than 20 years. If you are ready to take the next step, or even consider it, let us put our experience and expertise to work for you. Contact us today.