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Ensuring career success in the legal profession in 2017

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

A month into the New Year, have lawyers upheld their aim for career success in the legal profession ? While there’s no doubt that professional development should be a year round commitment, research has found that only 8% of people are able to achieve their personal goals, 40% ditch them in just a month and more than 50% forget about them completely by April. However, research conducted by, has shown that legal professionals are ‘earnest about their plans, intending to improve their performances and the profession and to uphold the Rule of Law.’ When approached, this is what legal professionals have to say:

“To do whatever I can to remind us that we are a profession dedicated above all to the Rule of Law.”
William Lee, partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
 “I resolve to advance diversity by being more proactive among my colleagues, even when it sometimes feels uncomfortable to speak up.” - Jayne Conroy, named shareholder, Simmons Hanly Conroy
"I would resolve to resist more often demands for instant answers over email and the like, so that I can think more and discuss things with colleagues—part of the joy of being a lawyer.” - George Terwilliger, partner, McGuireWoods
"I work better with having daily resolutions. I take a few minutes each morning to pause, calibrate the changing landscape, and then engage with people to share notes and identify new opportunities. And hopefully we have a little fun along the way.” - Madeleine McDonough, chairwoman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon


So how can legal professionals be more successful in 2017, and more importantly, create a long term, year round plan?

Identify where you want to be

The first step to ensuring career success in the legal profession is, identifying where you want to be. Work out where you want to get to In the long term, and then where you want to be in a year and then six months. You’ll need to research into the different BPTC, CILEX training or PCD points and then identify exactly where you want to be and what you want to achieve.

Strengthen your network

A strong reliable network is a critical asset for career success in the legal profession so it's essential to nurture it. We suggest researching the different events held for legal professionals nationwide such as LegalEX and The Solicitors Group. Take the opportunity to connect with other legal professionals and recruiters - and engage in relevant conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn. A strong network can offer you opportunities to develop your skillset and build new relationships.

Enhance your CV

Chances are that if you’ve been in the same position for the last twelve months, or longer, your CV will be fairly outdated. Even if you haven’t changed roles it's likely that your responsibilities might have shifted or you may be working with on or have previously won national or regional legal cases. Make sure your CV lists all of your current responsibilities, new skills you’ve gained and that your profile still accurately portrays you and your values. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile, so that it matches up with your CV.

Develop your soft skills

While it's important to explain the value of your experience, it's also crucial to support your knowledge with a strong set of soft skills such as the ability to negotiate, build relationships and display potential leadership skills..

Have personal goals

Developing yourself professionally should be a year long commitment so set yourself both short and long term goals to ensure that you don't lose motivation. Try and manage your workload to achieve a sensible work life balance.

If you would like to make a change in your career this year or simply need guidance and advice, why don’t you get in touch? We would love to hear from you.

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