Are you a lawyer who’s feeling unfulfilled or under-appreciated in your current position? If so, you’re not alone. Most attorneys change firms at least once or twice during their first 3 to 5 years of practice (1). Some of the main reasons why include not enough work (2), being on the wrong side of office politics, or hearing about a more prestigious opportunity elsewhere.
But successfully getting from point A to point B in the highly competitive legal profession starts with developing a solid action plan. If you’re ready to reboot your legal career, here are some reliable strategies to make it happen.
Which Career Paths Interest You?
The first step is to compare what you’re currently doing with what’s out there. If it’s been a few years since you graduated law school, you may have forgotten about all the various career opportunities that are available to lawyers, including:
- Government Agencies
- Law Firms
- Legal Publishing
- Public Interest Organizations
- Private Practice
Once you’ve decided what area of the law you’d like pursue, it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Rekindle Your Passion
Like any other profession, it’s easy for lawyers to get caught up in a day-to-day rut, especially if they’re making a comfortable living doing so. Visualize causes you used to be passionate about, whether it’s defending the less-fortunate, cannabis legalization, teaching law, or starting your own practice. Read lots of material on practice areas that interest you and reach out to your old law school classmates about what they like, or don’t, about their current jobs. Compile a list of two or three specialties that would help you rekindle that inner passion again.
Refresh Your Goals
It’s never too late to set career goals, even if you’ve been practicing for 20 years. Sit down and write out your main professional objectives for the next five years. Although more money usually
tops everyone’s list, yours should also include other considerations, like:
- Relocating to another part of the country (or world)
- Assisting others that have been wronged by corporations
- Championing environmental causes
- Being a law firm partner
- Starting your own solo practice
- Getting into politics
- Helping get promising therapeutic drugs to market, like for cancer
Think about what it would take to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Do you need some additional schooling or training? Are your background and experience contingent with your professional goals and how you’re marketing yourself?
Boost Your Marketability
The best way to start your career makeover is to work harder at your current job, not less. Why is that important? The more valuable you are to your current employer, the less you’ll need the job. In other words, you’ll appear more attractive and marketable to others in the profession (3), which could open-up some very rewarding doors in a specialty you’re passionate about. Other ways to boost your marketability include:
- Reach out to old contacts. It’s not what you know, but who you know, right? Reach out to some of the influential legal contacts you’ve made over the years, like judges, politicians, and law school professors. Once you start thinking about it, you’ll probably be surprised about how many powerful people you really know.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Learn how to network online more effectively by beefing up your LinkedIn profile and contacts, and even consider making a marketing video of yourself to post on various social media platforms and hiring sites.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Conduct a realistic self-assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses that a potential employer might see. If you have trouble speaking publicly but are interested in teaching or becoming a trial lawyer, you may want to polish up your communication skills.
Consider Help from an Outside Source: Legal Recruiters
If you’re a lawyer who’s seeking a fresh career challenge, or you’re looking to hire one, another option you have is working with an experienced legal recruiter. Good legal recruiters excel at connecting talented attorneys (4) to potential employers seeking various attorney specialties. They have the marketing insight, networking connections, and candidate-screening capabilities to place gifted lawyers in prestigious nationwide positions no matter their career objectives. To search for a better legal recruiter in your area, visit the Legal Recruiter Directory today.
- Firm Hopping – FindLaw, https://careers.findlaw.com/legal-career-options/firm-hopping.html
- Working hard or hardly working: Survey says half of partners not busy – The Indiana Lawyer, https://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/47250-working-hard-or-hardly-working-survey-says-half-of-partners-not-busy
- 5 Cool Marketing Ideas for Lawyers – FindLaw, https://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2018/11/5-cool-marketing-ideas-for-lawyers.html
- How to Hire the Right Person (45 Tips Based on Science) – CareersWiki, https://careerswiki.com/publications/how-to-hire-the-right-person/