Just as you can vaccinate against a particular disease, you can also vaccinate your legal career from harm. As a legal recruitment specialist, I would like to offer the following advice on how to build up your immunity levels – which will act as a buffer during your legal career. The good news is that this is a self-administered vaccine with no waiting in queues.
You can start by building up a network of supportive colleagues – a network built on trust and transparency. Remember to go out of your way to offer a helping hand to colleagues – your favours will be returned. A lawyer with a well-built network has a real career advantage in the job market. You will be referred to more interesting and rewarding career opportunities, build a more successful practice and enjoy greater recognition and reputation.
Work on developing a reputation of ethical integrity and excellent work quality. Learn how to interact with your partners, team leaders and practice administrators in such a way as to promote your brand of quality, excellence, integrity, and trust. By doing this you fill your “reservoir of good-will” – which can be drawn on, when needed, later in your career.
Whether it is learning new practice areas, improving your writing or attending professional development courses, you will continue to enhance your marketability – as well being an overall happier individual. So, as you move through your career ask yourself: What would I like to learn next? What interests me, but I’m afraid to pursue? How can I become a better lawyer/business partner/colleague? And how can I provide better service?
Communicate effectively and remember to think about the words, tone, judgment and messaging you use when speaking with or writing to a client or colleague. Both the words and tone are powerful and the skill a person possesses when using them can be the difference between getting the job or getting ditched, getting a raise or not, or keeping a client or losing them.
It is also important to keep up to date with current trends in the profession and adapt to change. The playing field of legal practice continues to evolve. This can be unnerving – you may feel like sticking your head in the sand and pretending like it’s 1999. However, it is important to be proactive in understanding the direction of this change so you can better prepare yourself to remain relevant, secure and marketable. How? Talk to recruiters, stay current on what’s happening within your firm and client industries, analyze the job boards, join local legal groups and stay connected with your network.
Lastly, don’t let fear govern your career choices. Constantly assessing risk is part of your legal training. Yet this often creates a fear-based mentality when considering career choices – and fear is the enemy of a good choice. A career vaccination will help you reduce those common fears and enable you to make good future choices.