Starting out in your law career is exciting. Take the time now to determine what your career goals are and what you most want from an employer.
Graduating from law school is an exciting time! It’s the culmination of years and years of hard work and it’s definitely a time for celebration. It can also be a time of deep apprehension for many. With the structure of school behind you, the career options in front of you can feel overwhelming. If you find yourself at the first crossroads of your law career, here are 5 things that seasoned lawyers want you to know.
Know What You Want In an Employer
There is a lot to consider when choosing a place to work. You may find yourself googling a lot of different things such as how to become a court reporter in Hawaii or the state you’re located in, how to polish your resume, or how to find job openings that’ll be the right fit. Once you find something that looks perfect, you should interview a potential employer as much as they interview you. Think about what you value the most. Are you looking for a job with flexible hours? One that offers room for advancement? A place that puts customers first? Once you know what you want, don’t be shy about asking for it. You may have to search for a while, but it’s better than being stuck at a bad workplace.
Know That Your Definition of Success May Change
You may have a very clear definition of success in mind as you embark on your career. Maybe that’s making a lot of money, or defending the clients who need it most, or quickly climbing the ladder and opening your own firm one day. Whatever your current dream is, many experienced lawyers will tell you that what they consider a success has changed at least once in their career. If that happens to you, remember that change isn’t always a bad thing. It can be a sign of maturity and flexibility.
Know That You May Need to Completely Pivot Your Career
Sometimes it won’t just be your definition of success that changes- it’ll be everything. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to experience a mid-career change. That may mean switching specialties or career paths entirely. Just like it’s OK to change your definition of success, it’s OK to make bigger changes too. Gone are the days when a lawyer would start and end their career with the same firm. Most employees now aren’t afraid to move to a new employer and explore new challenges. That may or may not be in the cards for you, but don’t rule it out if the chance comes along.
Know What Tools You Have at Your Disposal
It’s a digital world out there. More and more workplaces are incorporating virtual elements into their practice. Taking advantage of these can turn into a huge career boost. Start with mastering video-conferencing to make it easier to meet with clients on a schedule that works for both of you. This will also let you expand your client base. Then, look into using cloud-based software to help your practice grow. From file storage to payment processing to secure client communications, there are software options out there that are specifically designed for legal use.
Know That It’s Important to Keep Growing
No one wants to end up stagnant in their career. Just because you’ve graduated with a degree doesn’t mean that the learning is over. Seek out professional development opportunities as you move through your career. Focus on your networking and ask an experienced lawyer that you trust to mentor you as you start out. If your goal is to run your own firm one day, take the time to learn what all is involved with that. And don’t forget about the lesser-known skills that will serve you well- marketing, client relations, and staff management.
Starting out in your law career is exciting. Take the time now to determine what your career goals are and what you most want from an employer. Seek out new options in the virtual realm and keep pushing yourself professionally. Balance all of that with the knowledge that it’s OK to change your mind and redefine your career goals and metrics. Move forward and be bold, and see what the road ahead holds for you.