Your Legal Career Checklist
- Posted by Lynn Sedgwick
- January 18, 2024
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 in light of where you aim to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to stay on track to meeting 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 where you stand at present career-wise and whether you’re on the right track.
When you work through this checklist, it is essential to bear in mind the reasons you are where you are in the first place.
What did you set out to achieve in your career – and what does doing so look like up to this point? Did you plan on meeting certain financial goals by this stage of your career or have your ambitions been driven by more personal goals?
An equally important point to consider is what you value most about the firm you work for. Do your values fit in with what the firm’s culture prioritises? Is there a synergy present in your working relationships with your colleagues and managers?
If you find that your current role or firm is not providing the satisfaction you had hoped it would, or that the pace of your progress has gradually petered out, then it could be a sign that some important decisions need to be made regarding your career sooner rather than later.
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!
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:
Things aren’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying life in your current role. We suggest taking some time to reflect on the possible reasons behind your dissatisfaction and what needs to change to have them resolved. This can be anything from your current workload and position within your team to your working environment and even your practice area.
Room for More
A better score, which suggests there are aspects of your job you enjoy but also a lot of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but feel that there is a lack of support present within management to help you meet medium or long-term career goals. You will need to find out if there is any commitment on the part of the management team to implement changes, and assess how concrete said plans for change are. Speak with your manager and outline your concerns as well as what plans they have in this regard. Whatever the outcome of the conversation, you will have either gotten a clearer picture of what your future at the firm looks like or a clear indication that your tenure there has run its course.
Meeting Some Goals
You’re neither happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as entirely satisfied. Meaning that if the right opportunity came your way, you would be weighing up your options. Whenever you feel this way it’s important to bear in mind that sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you’re leaning towards a move away from your firm, have a think of why this is your preferred option. What you want to be sure of is that there is no impulsivity driving your decision-making and that an exit is needed because of a bad career move, not a bad day at the office.
Loving Life and Your Job
You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy life where you work. There may be elements of your work life that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough of a negative to make you consider working elsewhere. However, we suggest you don’t let complacency set in, as being in your comfort zone for a certain period of time can sometimes lead to that and prove counterproductive to your progress in the long run. If you find that despite being happy with where you are in your career, you haven’t taken any major steps forward in the last year or two, then a fresh challenge could be the jumpstarter you need.
Hopefully this checklist has prompted you to think harder about your career goals – and whether or not you are on track to achieve those with your current employer. If the final score however has intimated a change may be afoot, your next wise move is to call on the expertise of a recruitment specialist who can further challenge those thoughts; find out exactly what you are looking for from an employer and uncover the potential reasons you are ready to look at new opportunities in the market.
At Clayton Legal, we have been committed for the past 20 plus years to helping legal professionals build a career they can be proud of, whatever stage of their journey they might be at. If you are at a point where that next step in your legal career is unclear going into the new year, then we can give you the guidance you need to make your start in 2024 the strongest possible one. Give our team a call today on 01772 259 121 or contact us here.