What makes a legal career satisfying? Representing the most sophisticated clients? Making a great living? Getting the brass ring at a large law firm? Or is it giving back? If you ask Rich Johnston, Chief Legal Counsel for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, it’s the latter. Rich spent almost four decades as a partner at WilmerHale (originally Hale and Dorr). While he did get to work on great cases as a commercial litigator, it was his public service and pro bono work that brought him the highest levels of satisfaction.
While I usually sit in the interviewer seat during podcasts, I was very pleased to be a guest on Steve Fretzin’s podcast, Be That Lawyer. Steve and I discus:
*The importance of relationship building in selling professional services
*The challenges and issues that lawyers face in making career transitions or in growing a law practice, and,
*The Next Stage, my new coaching program for senior lawyers who are thinking about What Comes Next.
If this is the year that you plan to make a significant career change, then figure out the bridge you need to take to get you where you want to go. Employers generally hire candidates who already have specific experience. Most firms and most corporations are not looking to train lateral hires.
That doesn’t mean you are eternally trapped doing the same kind of legal work you have been doing for the past five years. I’ve seen many lawyers make dramatic shifts
Josh Rissmiller, is now a partner at a corporate boutique in Boston. But he started his legal career at one of the top firms in New York and lateraled to an international firm in Boston. What was it like to leave a large firm, what did he gain by starting out as an associate at a big New York firm and how is his life different (and better) at a boutique.
For many lawyers, travel is something to do for a business trip or on vacation. But for Robert Finkel, travel was a way for his family to live abroad and experience a new culture. For two years, Bob lived in Israel with his wife and three children while continuing to work for his law firm in Boston. In my latest podcast, Bob tells his story and discusses how he leveraged his expertise in tax to make this adventure become a reality.
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.
In my last post, I suggested that changing industries is easier said than done for many professionals. I also suggested 2 ways to overcome industry bias: 1) find opportunities through networking and 2) when it is feasible, accept positions on a contract basis. For attorneys who work in a law firm environment, there are several … Read more
Right now, many parts of the country are enjoying relatively low unemployment rates. In my home state Massachusetts, for example, the rate is 3.3 percent, the lowest in 15 years. For anyone contemplating a career move, this should come as good news. As workers get harder to find, employers need to be more creative in … Read more
On this 80th Anniversary of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, I am pleased to host Blawg Review and dedicate Blawg Review #235 to The Great Recession. How has our current crisis changed the practice of law and affected our careers as attorneys? Fortunately for me, there was no shortage of reading material on the … Read more
Knowing that you want to make a change in your life (professional or personal) is a good first step in making the change you want; but it is only a first step. Change requires us to get out of our comfort zone, build new habits and leave behind the old. Along the way, there is … Read more