Value Lawyering, Part II.
How to conduct a professional assessment.
Because the need for and the fundamentals of law practice remain constant, this environment requires all lawyers to perform a rigorous self-assessment of their goals and their skills and to plot a career strategy:
1. Determine how your academic credentials stack up objectively (e.g., law school ranking, class rank, honors, clerkships) and how are lawyers with your experience and skill set faring in the current market.
2. Are you organized, analytical, and outgoing? What non-legal education and work experience and life skills do you have that will help you enhance or retool your practice?
3. Establish honestly your career goals and priorities, both near and long term. What is your dream job? Do you want to stay in the law? Do you want to maximize your compensation or your personal time? Do you prefer a more or less structured work environment? Do you want to be a “headliner” or a staffer? Do you like working with lawyers?
4. Stay informed-what jobs are available? How do they stack up against your current job and your dream job?
5. Do you have an interest and aptitude for client development? Map out a strategy for attracting clients.
A good career counselor or recruiter helps give you the tools to evaluate your situation and determine the way forward. That requires you to examine closely what you want to do, what you can do and what is available. You may decide to stay where you are, to test the market aggressively or to invest in yourself though education. Whatever you decide, a skills inventory is a wise investment in your career.
© 2011 David Bargman
President, Baum, Stevens