If you’re like me, you didn’t learn the most critical skills for success in law school. You learned the law, but not the laws needed to survive and thrive as a lawyer. Some lawyers began a career without fully understanding the challenges to be successful and satisfied in work and life. Some lack self-confidence or executive-level skills necessary to progress professionally. And some picked the wrong path to suit their personality, values, and preferences.
Not to worry. These things can all be addressed and improved.
In coaching, we will identify what’s important to you in your career and life. Once we know what success looks like, we collect data, assess the current situation, and create an action plan with specific steps and metrics to measure attainment. You implement the plan, build on your success, and we celebrate every small victory. Along the way, we may need to focus on some or all of these laws:
The laws you didn’t learn in law school
You’re an entrepreneur (whether you like it or not), if you’re a partner or associate. Making time for business development and networking is critical to success in private practice and in-house.
- In private practice, if you don’t make rain, you will not make equity partner. The saying about your network being your net worth is true.
- In-house, networking is equally important to ensure support for your initiatives by identifying and cultivating mentors, sponsors and champions.
The toughest judge you will argue before is yourself
- Confidence is key to success, often more important than talent, and required to be competent.
- Self-confidence is not always innate and can be developed and grown.
Well-being is crucial and self-care is the best defense
- Manage stress. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your clients, at least not for the duration of a career. Lack of self-care always catches up with you. Don’t wait for an illness to address your stress.
You must be a treasurer of time
- You juggle many demands to produce high-quality work, attend CLE, participate in non-billable activities at work and get new business. We can find pockets of time and create strategies to ensure your efforts are expended in the right places with the biggest impact.
You must engage in mindset management
- Lawyers are trained to find problems. In law school, they call it “issue spotting.” You mine for the negative. Being trained to find problems is helpful to clients, but not to life. Litigiousness as a lifestyle, arguing and fighting and finding discord wherever you look is not compatible with happiness. Finding ways to improve well-being and learning techniques to decrease repetitive negative thoughts provides benefits beyond how much better you’ll feel.
Leadership is important wherever you are
- Leadership skills are not inherent in most people, but they can be learned and lead to better outcomes.
- Understanding what success demands in your work environment and actively addressing it is crucial to your success.
- § If you want to make partner, learn the criteria, otherwise you’re on a journey without a map.
- Inspire and motivate.
Career transitions will happen to most lawyers, either by choice or necessity.
- Maintaining a robust network is important to maximize your options when you make your next move.