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Trying to Make a Difficult Change? Tell Everyone!

Date January 7, 2018 Comment Comments Off on Trying to Make a Difficult Change? Tell Everyone!

Trying to Make a Difficult Change?  Tell Everyone!

smallerThe New Year has just passed and if you are like most professionals, you probably made a few New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe you decided to make some personal changes in your life (lose weight, get in shape, visit your parents more often); or maybe you have some new professional goals (do a better job of meeting deadlines; give better feedback to junior associates, paralegals and support staff; start looking for an in-house job; or spend more time marketing your practice.)

Whatever new goals you have established, now the hard work comes:  sticking to your stated goals.

There are a lot of things you can do to increase the likelihood that you will stick to your agenda.  Setting aside planning time each day to make sure that you are actively working towards your goals is one good strategy. Putting notes in your calendar is also a good one (this past year, I increased my trips to the gym by one time a week simply by putting in a recurring appointment at 6:00 a.m. every Wednesday.)

One strategy that is particularly effective is to make “public commitments”.  If you want to make changes in your life, tell a lot of people.  The mere act of telling your goals to others is one way to hold yourself more accountable.

This past year, I decided that after thinking about it for 5 years, that I was finally going to launch a podcast.  So I started telling a lot of people.  As a result, I found myself getting a lot more focused on taking the steps I needed to make the podcast a reality.  Five months after I began putting together a guest list, I now have all the equipment and software I need along with theme music and over art!  I announced that the podcast will launch at the end of January and I am well on my way to finishing the first episode. CounseltoCounsel, the podcast, will be ready for “prime time” by the last week in January.

If for some reason I am unable to follow through, I’m not directly accountable to anyone. But by telling many people in my network about the project, I have created a much deeper commitment to achieving my goal.

So whatever your professional or personal goals may be for 2018, tell your colleagues, friends and family.  They won’t make you lose weight or spend more time marketing, but you will feel a greater obligation to follow through on your commitments.  And that can be just the right catalyst you need to achieve those goals.

A Career Audit for Law Firm Associates

Date December 12, 2017 Comment Comments Off on A Career Audit for Law Firm Associates

A Career Audit for Law Firm Associates

38aa58f1-d33c-4d64-9467-806b573db29bLanding a job as an associate in a good law firm was the goal during law school. For those who have achieved this goal, the next step seems much less clear. Do you want to continue on the path to partnership where you are? Are there some things you want to change about your situation? Is it time to start shopping for a new home? Take this audit to help you take stock in your current job. It is not meant to be a substitute for talking to a professional about your career. But it may help you start thinking about the next steps in your career.

Connecting With Your Tribe

Date November 30, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Connecting With Your Tribe

Connecting With  Your Tribe

thetribeLaw is a profession that attracts individuals who enjoy solitude (according to the ABA, as many as 60% of attorneys are introverts.) If you ask most lawyers how they feel about networking, you are likely to get a  lukewarm response.  Getting out and making small talk is simply not a high priority activity for a lot of attorneys.  But as I’ve written on many occasions, leaving your office and meeting other professionals is the best way to advance your career, position yourself for future job opportunities and build your law practice. Read more…

What I’ve Learned as In-House Counsel

Date November 19, 2017 Comment Comments Off on What I’ve Learned as In-House Counsel

What I’ve Learned as In-House Counsel

holygrailSuccessAssociates ask me almost daily to let them know if I hear of any in-house opportunities.  Given the fact that corporate law jobs remain in high demand, I thought it would be useful to put together some of the pros and cons of going in-house. Rather than giving my own two cents on what it takes to be successful on the inside, I wanted to share the voices of lawyers who are actually in the trenches. So, I wrote to about 150 in-house lawyers to ask them the question “What have you learned as in-house counsel?”

I received a lot of thoughtful responses and many were very nuanced.  While career satisfaction remains high amongst the in-house counsel I surveyed (at least the ones who responded!) there are definitely some trade-offs from private practice.  Click here to read the whole article on JD Supra.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Date November 11, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay? Should I Go? signpost drawn on a blackboard

I make my living by convincing lawyers to consider new career opportunities.  Join Smith & Jones and increase your partnership potential.  Make a lateral move and get the chance to work with cutting edge biotechnology clients.  Change firms and become a bigger fish in a smaller pond.  Get away from unpredictable hours.

While making a lateral move can certainly address core career concerns and help increase career satisfaction, a lateral move is not always the best option.  At the very least, if you are thinking that the grass may be greener somewhere else, it is worth taking the time to look critically at your current job. Are there things you can change about your present situation that will help you increase your career happiness? Read more…

Overcoming Fear of Networking

Date October 24, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Overcoming Fear of Networking

Not Feeling Well

For most lawyers, networking is right up there with getting root canal or spending time in a Porta Potty.  It’s a necessary and useful activity.  But it is not fun.

Attending networking functions can feel uncomfortable to many professionals.  What if you don’t know anyone?  What should you talk about? How do you find business leads or job opportunities in a large crowd?  But networking can help you increase your circle of business relationships.  It should be part of your overall marketing and career strategy.  Read more…

Documenting Your Networking

Date October 11, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Documenting Your Networking

Documenting Your Networking

business-cardWhile social media has become an important tool in building business and personal relationships, nothing can substitute for the bonds that are created through in person interactions.  Going to networking functions is still important whether you are looking for a new job or trying to build your law practice.  But how do you make the most of your interactions at a networking meeting?  What should you do with the business card that someone hands you?

Read more…

Flexibility and Urgency in Hiring

Date August 10, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Flexibility and Urgency in Hiring

Flexibility and Urgency in Hiring

It’s no longer 2009.  With unemployment rates hovering close to 4%, employers need to change their approach to recruiting talent.Workplace flexibility concept on the gearwheels

In the legal search business, we are seeing candidates who are being much more discriminating about what jobs they are willing to consider.  In certain areas of practice, notably corporate, real estate and IP, the attorneys and paralegals we are trying to recruit are commanding higher salaries than ever.

More importantly, some of the best talent we approach already have flexibility in their hours and they are not willing to give that up.  In 2017, the best talent wants and demands flexibility.  This is true for the attorneys and paralegals that we work with.

While most employers are not eager to have their employees coming and going, the reality is that our workforce is connected through smart phones and email.  In order to compete for the “best” talent, smart employers should be prepared to permit professional staff (and to the extent that it is consistent with the needs of the business, support staff) to spend a portion of their time working remotely.

I speak all the time to lawyers and paralegals who already have these arrangements.  If you thought hiring the “best and the brightest” was a challenge a couple of years ago, right now, it’s harder than ever to convince top talent to consider other opportunities.

Similarly, we are seeing that adding a sense of urgency to the hiring process is important in the war for talent.  When our law firm and corporate clients move quickly, they greatly increase their chances of getting the candidates they want.

While this has always been true, this seems more true than ever.  The Catch-22 is that most employers hire because they are too busy.  In the short run, the hiring process can exacerbate that problem.  But until the economy turns again, employers beware!  A long and drawn out hiring process may mean losing out on the chance to get the best talent.

Using Reference Checks to Build Your Network

Date February 9, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Using Reference Checks to Build Your Network

Using Reference Checks to Build Your Network

Reference ChecksIf you are a professional services provider and you want to grow your business, you know the importance of marketing.  Whether you are a lawyer seeking to represent startup technology companies, an agency recruiter like me who is looking to generate more search work from the life sciences industry or an accountant looking for individuals who need help with their tax returns, it is important to speak, write and participate in professional activities that enhance your reputation.

But marketing alone is generally insufficient to generate the work you want.  While branding and advertising may be enough to get customers to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, branding/marketing may not be enough to get a prospective client to pick up the phone and call a professional services provider. Read more…

Career Happiness Comes through Trial and Error

Date January 20, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Career Happiness Comes through Trial and Error

"The only thing to fear is fear itself"

“The only thing to fear is fear itself”

It is no secret that lawyers as a group are an unhappy lot.  I could give my own explanation for this but today, after we have just sworn in a President who is starting a new career, I thought I would share a few thoughts about career changes and career happiness (I’ll save my political comments for Facebook).

Once upon a time (i.e. back in the 1980’s when I was coming into the workforce), career professionals were quick to tell college students to follow their passions.  The idea was to identify a career that inspired you and that was consistent with your skills and vocational interests.  If you followed this path, career success was sure to follow.

Read more…