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How To Stand Out And Win The Legal Career Race

  • February 7, 2019

Are you ready to stand out and win the legal career race this year? A question you ‘should’ be asking if you want to develop your legal career.

The popular press is chattering away about the ‘skill shortage’ especially related to legal talent this year. However, don’t be fooled into thinking it will be easy to get any role you please and in the legal practice you want.

This scenario reminds me of a quote by Benjamin Mays, the American educator and civil rights leader.

“The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in living above our ability. But rather in our living below our capacities.”

A lesson for us all in not being complacent and assuming we can pick and choose the roles we want.

If you are a driven individual who loves the law, and the idea of going all in to get what you want resonates with you, we have some ideas, suggestions and nuggets in this week’s post.

Make It Important and Decide What You Want

The reason so many people don’t achieve their career and life goals for that matter is that they don’t truly decide what they want.

Human beings are success driven beings according to the bestselling author Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psych Cybernetics. His research and work with patients revealed that we are all wired for success provided we have a goal to focus on.

Therefore, decide what you truly want. If it’s to be a litigation assistant; great. Or if your goal is to be a commercial property fee earner that is OK too. It might take more time, effort and study though anything is possible with focus and application.

Goals and Milestones

We have eluded to this before in other posts but once you know what you want, set a goal.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will need to consider time frames and critical milestones along the way.

One of these milestones might involve a sideways move in a new firm for experience or investment in a coach or mentor.

Map out your plan and consider your next steps. At this point, it’s worth talking to a legal recruitment consultant. It’s part of our role to ‘consult’ with candidates. Our job is to help you with your career, a chat costs nothing, and our experience is that we can often stop our candidates taking the role that won’t help them in their longer-term plan.

Excel Where You Are

Become exceptional at what you do where you are, and people notice. They will either fight to hold onto you and strive to develop you in your current organisation, or you will have the pick of legal jobs.

It is one of the givens in life.

Neymar is the most expensive football player ever. I am sure this has a lot to do with his skills and his exceptional talent. After all, he was named as the South American footballer of the year two years in succession.

Though I am not the greatest football fan, my accountancy background gives me a financial lens into life and the pattern that plays out which links skill development and hard work to financial rewards.

This leads me onto something else.

Be Driven To Get Better: #AlwaysBeLearning

It’s common that the most skilled and well-read individuals do well in life. They are always looking for gaps in their abilities and how they might fill them.

Picture the scenario: Stephen, one candidate laments that because they haven’t got the best knowledge of leases and acquisitions, they will have to accept they will never be able to get that role as a commercial property solicitor.

The same conversation with Rachel goes very differently and instead she is willing to look at what additional study needs to happen and if there is an interim role she can move into?

Guess which one of these two individuals will win the longer-term career race?

Take Calculated Risks

Anyone reading this post understands that life will always include calculated risks.

Here is a fascinating fact.

Did you know that the planes we all use spend 99% of their time off course?

From the time you take off, you will be off course 99% of the time.

It is the same with all aeroplanes.

The purpose and role of the pilot and the avionics is to continually bring the plane back on course so that it arrives on schedule at its destination.

This is a great metaphor and a good way to consider your career development. So, in life, you are the pilot of your career path. To reach your destination, role model the pilot.

First, decide what you want through a clear goal with an attached action plan.

Then press ‘go’ and take off toward your destination with no guarantee of success.

Be willing to move out of your comfort zone and take a role that might be a horizontal move.

The final part and the real secret are to be OK making continual course corrections.

Like an aircraft faces headwinds, storm fronts, lightning and unexpected turbulence, you will experience the same in the pursuit of any worthwhile goal.

The key to success is for you to keep your mind fixed clearly on the goal but be flexible about the way of achievement. Be open to new inputs and ideas.

This way you will stand out above everyone else as you win the race to achieve the legal career you want.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would more help on preparing for your interview download our interview checklist here.

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