Measuring Success

Success is much more than the money in your bank account. While it’s nice to be well compensated for your work, there are many other important variables in measuring your success as a professional. Is the work you do challenging? Do you find it engaging and do you get good results? Do you like your clients? Are you respected by your colleagues and lawyers in the legal community at large? Are your personal and professional lives in balance?

As a recruiter, I actually score pretty high with respect to these intangibles. But because some of the other recruiters in my organization generate larger fees than me, I often have to remind myself that I am also a success.

The other night, for example, I was talking to a lawyer at a party. I described what I do and then added that I’ll never be the most “successful” legal recruiter. (I further explained that there are headhunters who generate three to four times as much as me in any given year.) To this he responded “Well I guess that depends on how you measure success.” And he was right! While I could make more money as a recruiter if I spent more time on the phone with “hot” prospects, I choose to spend a portion of my time writing articles, speaking on career issues, blogging and even counseling lawyers who I cannot place. Earlier this Winter, the ABA Journal named this blog to its Blawg100 (the top 100 blogs by lawyers, for lawyers.) To me, that was a huge measure of success (though it didn’t generate any fees.)

So how “successful are you”? Aside from the compensation you earn, how much respect do you earn from other associates? From partners? From clients? Are you a “good” lawyer?

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