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Your Legal Career Checklist

When was the last time you sat down and reviewed to what extent you are meeting your career objectives?

And I don’t mean your annual review with your line manager; I’m talking about your deeply personal career goals and intentions.

Wherever you are in your career journey, it is a good idea to periodically analyse your current position depending on where you want to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything on track and working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to meet your goals?

To help you measure if your legal career is progressing as you envisaged when you started out, we have created the following checklist to provide you with a snapshot of whether you’re on the right track.

When you work through this checklist, it is essential to remember the reasons you got into your current role in the first place.

What did you set out to achieve in your career – did you plan on making a certain amount of money in a specific timeframe?

Was your move into your current role related to what was going on in your personal life? For example, were you about to leave home, get married or were you saving for a deposit for a house?

And also, what is important to you about the company you work for? Do you fit in with your company’s culture? Do you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and managers?

If your current role or company is not fulfilling you in the way you had hoped, or if the pace has slowed down recently, it could be a sign that you need to start making some big career decisions – is it time to move organisations?

Read each statement below and decide on how much you agree, using the following scale –

1 – Strongly disagree

2 – Disagree

3 – Neutral

4 – Agree

5 – Strongly agree

So, let’s get started!

Career Checklist

1. I am progressing the way I want in my career.

2. I have achieved some of my career goals, and others are within reach.

3. I enjoy my work and look forward to going in each day.

4. The people I work with are very supportive and friendly.

5. I feel like a valued member of the team I work within.

6. My manager gives me the right balance between support/guidance and working under my initiative.

7. I feel I make a difference within the company I work for, rather than just being a number.

8. The company I work for really invests in supporting me to achieve my goals.

9. I can see a clear progression path within my current company.

10. I am happy with the level of training and personal development offered by my current employer.

11. The company I work for believes in me and trusts me to do my job well.

12. I feel that my company enables and supports my focus.

13. I am recognised and rewarded for my work.

14. The sector I work in really interests me.

15. I am happy with the location of and commute to my place of work.

16. I feel my company offer a fair and competitive commission structure (if applicable).

17. The monetary remuneration I receive has enabled me to achieve goals in my personal life (i.e. buy a house, go on my dream holiday, etc.)

18. I feel I have the right work/life balance working for my current company.

19. I am happy with the way my working day is structured.

20. I can see myself staying with this company for a long time.

What Did You Score?

Tally up what you scored and take a look below at some of the points you may want to consider when thinking about how you want your career to progress in the future:

 

20-40

Alarm Bells! This score says your career isn’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying your current role. We suggest thinking about why you aren’t enjoying your position or not achieving what you want. It might be time for you to move on or think about whether your current company or role is for you. Do you need a more supportive environment, better career progression, or even a change of sector?

 

41-60

Room for More A better score, which suggests you enjoy aspects of your job, but there’s lots of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but you feel you aren’t personally getting the support you need to achieve your career and personal goals. You need to consider if you can see changes happening in your current company by speaking to your manager, or if you feel working here has run its course and to progress, you need to move on.

 

61-80

Meeting Some Goals You’re neither very happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as completely engaged. Which means that if the right opportunity came your way, you would consider it. When you feel this way, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You need to decide if you want to move, why is this? Understand if it’s just a case of you only feel like this when you have a bad day or if it’s more often.

81+

Loving Life and Your Job You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy the place you work. There may be small elements that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough to make you think about working somewhere else. However, we suggest you don’t become complacent. Sometimes, being in a company for too long can demotivate you in the long run. If you’ve been working with the same company for a while, is it time for a fresh challenge with new people?

 

If this checklist has prompted you to think harder about what your current role and company are providing you with, and it has made you realise that now is time for a change, then get in touch with Clayton Legal today. We can help you in deciding what step to take next to further your Legal career.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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The 6 Reasons Why Your Personal Brand as a legal professional is Failing (And How to Rectify It)

  • November 5, 2019

As a legal professional, you take your career seriously.

You may well already have a personal brand that you’ve spent time developing. Mapping it out will have made you more self-aware and knowledgeable, as well as signalling to Senior Partners and Managers that you are the ideal candidate for the next promotion opportunity.

Establishing yourself as a go-to for specialist legal knowledge has made you the person everyone looks to for advice. Your brand indicates your strengths, capabilities and enables you to stand out above the competition.

In short, few things are more critical to building a successful legal career than having a strong personal brand.

So, what could go wrong?

Sometimes, your personal brand can slip and work against you, preventing you from moving forward in your career. So, it’s wise to look out for these tell-tale signs that your brand is failing – and how you can rectify it before any damage occurs.

1. Your Goals Are Too Vague

Why are you building your brand? What are your end goals?

A vague “I want to become a leader” isn’t clear enough. You need to have a definite goal in mind. Be it achieving a Senior Partnership, Managerial role or Senior Solicitor within your Law Firm, having a clear objective will help you focus and plan on how exactly you’re going to get there.

And understanding why you want to develop your personal brand will keep you on track too.

2. You’re Neglecting ‘Real’ Interactions

Blogging and vlogging may be all the rage, but are you neglecting the more traditional channels of communication?

It’s tempting to follow the herd, and there’s nothing wrong with having an online presence it’s essential (more on this later), but it’s also worth considering other ways to get your brand across.

Keynote speaking at law events, networking at conferences or writing a guest piece for a legal publication – all these can help establish your personal legal profile. Face to face interactions have a lot more impact than online relationships – so make sure you utilise both well for maximum impact.

3. You Don’t Practice What You Preach

While we’re talking about interactions, considering your interactions with your team in the workplace is crucial to maintaining your personal brand. Having one persona for the outside world and another in the office isn’t going to cut it.

How you treat your legal team is going to directly affect how they view you. Consistency in your communication, from important meetings to casual chats in the hallway, is crucial.

Be aware of your communication style, actively listen and make time for your staff. They are the ones who will bolster your position and recommend you to others, thus building your credibility.

4. It’s All About You

Hopefully, you don’t have any controversial tweeting habits, but when online it’s ideal to mix promotion of yourself with legal industry knowledge that conveys your expertise without it seeming as though you are endlessly indulging in ‘over the top’ self-promotion. In other words, the Goldilocks effect: not too much, not too little.

Ideally, 10 per cent of your posts should be about you (for example, recent achievements or awards) and the rest should highlight current legal news and trends, provoking discussion and sharing your perspective on things that are happening in the legal world.

And it goes without saying – keep your private life private, and your professional life professional online. Mixing the two is inviting trouble.

Be mindful that it may not be something you write on your personal feed that will damage your reputation, but it could be a controversial response from a friend; from political comments to excessive personal information – keep it off your professional profile.

5. You Don’t Stick to Your Promises

If you promised to appear as a speaker at an event, you wouldn’t not show up, would you?

Similarly, if you guarantee an in-depth article to your online followers every week, you need to ensure its there. If you fail to keep your promises, even at this level, you will lose the trust of followers and damage your brand.

So, think carefully before you promise articles, videos and twitter posts and ensure that you can fit them into your schedule.

6. You Don’t Follow Up

Credibility is built on consistency, so being constantly mindful of behaviour is critical.

Putting your brand ‘out there’ but failing to keep consistency is going to damage your brand. You’ve got your LinkedIn profile updated and your articles written for your blog posts – what else can you do?

Just as you would if you were marketing your law firm, you need a marketing strategy for your brand (remember the goals we talked about earlier?) Consistent messages and actions keep your sense of identity and credibility going and help power you towards those goals.

Maintaining your identity online and in-person will add value to your propositions and opinions.

That way, you will establish your professionalism and earn the trust of peers, colleagues and industry professionals to build authenticity and make the most of your personal brand.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

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 building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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How to Develop Your Personal Legal Brand This Year

  • April 20, 2019

If you want to succeed in your legal career, then you need to cultivate a personal brand.

An impressive personal brand doesn’t just signal to your senior leaders and colleagues that you’re someone on the way up; the very process of working on your personal brand also makes you more self-aware, more knowledgeable, and more disciplined, making you a clear choice for promotion.

With this in mind, here are some key strategies to build your legal brand this year.

Identify Your Strengths and Talents And How You Can Use Them

The first step is figuring out where your talents and strengths lie. Are you collaborative, inspirational, motivational, managerial, or transformational? Furthermore, what particular special skills do you have that will be attractive to this business when you become a leader? Do you have a large network? Are you particularly IT savvy, or are you good at digital strategy?

Once you’ve established what your personal brand’s strengths are, you’ll need to match them with your firm’s culture and business need. Once you have a clear idea of how your skills and style match the firm’s goals, you can develop them further and work on your ‘pitch’ for promotion.

In considering how you might best implement your talents, think about becoming ‘the person who helps.’ Certain people can influence the success of your promotion attempt—the most obvious being your direct manager. Consider how you can help that person in their role right now so that you are then perceived as an individual who really does add value.

Additionally, consider how you can help others in your team, as these people may well be consulted when it’s promotion time, and the more friends you have ‘on your side,’ the better.

Smarten Up Your Online Presence And Network

Nothing will diminish your professional power as much as an unprofessional online presence. Those rowdy facebook pictures need to be managed—either be exceedingly careful with your privacy settings, change your profile name to a nickname, or get rid of Facebook altogether.

Do an audit of your online presence by Googling yourself and doing damage control on anything that might be viewed as unprofessional by the senior leaders in your firm.

While you’re at it, get some professional headshots done and update your LinkedIn profile, so it reflects where you want to go. You could also join some relevant online groups that might prove professionally advantageous. Consider a website of your own, if you have something to say that builds your professional credibility.

Spend as much time as you can networking with competent and respected legal professionals in your field; the more connections you build with relevant people in your field, the more your reputation will grow. In addition to taking advantage of industry events and online networking platforms, you can also seek the guidance of a specialist recruitment company like Clayton Legal.

Increase Your Value Through Continued Education

One of the most crucial things to remember about your personal brand is that it’s continually evolving. As the legal sector evolves with new technology and trends, it’s up to you to make sure that you’re staying ahead of the curve if you want to stand out in your legal career.

A continued commitment to education and keeping up-to-date with the current trends will make sure that you’re always building a relevant personal brand. Part of your training might include soft skills, like working on your teamwork or communication strategies. Other times, you’ll need to evaluate your technical skills and decide whether they’re starting to go out of date.

A great way to make sure that you’re on track is to compare your CV to the job listings relevant to your interests. You’ll notice if specific requirements in those specs begin to change over time. For instance, most firms are now looking for legal secretaries who have experience with using digital dictation software in addition to having superb all-around IT skills.

Ongoing education will simultaneously keep your personal brand up-to-date and show both your current and potential employers that you’re committed to your legal career. An employee (or potential candidate) who is always signing up for seminars and networking events is far more valuable and compelling than someone who shows very little interest in actively developing their legal career.

Ask Where You Need To Be Developed

Sometimes, there might be a behaviour or skill gap you exhibit that is barring your way to promotion, and yet you may not even be aware of it. For example, you might be brilliant at managing multiple caseloads as a commercial property solicitor, but lack the necessary interpersonal skills required to effectively interview, advise or negotiate with clients or other professionals to secure agreed objectives.

Another consideration is that the leadership in your law firm might not even be aware that you want a promotion because you’ve never told them. Take an opportunity to sit down with them – perhaps at your next performance appraisal – and make your goals and ambitions clear. In stating your case, make sure that you ask them what they believe you could work on to achieve your goals. Be welcoming of any feedback – no matter how uncomfortable – and then start working on a plan to develop yourself (and your brand) accordingly.

Your manager will also walk away from the meeting clear on your ambitions and will be able to advise you on the steps you’ll need to take to help you move towards your stated goals.

The potential to build your personal brand is immense; the only limits are your own motivation and imagination. We hope these strategies have given you some food for thought and perhaps set you on the right path toward achieving your career goals.

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 building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

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