Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Positioning For Your Future

Several of my lawyer clients want to work as in-house counsel some day. A few others would like to be a judge. Most of my clients want to stay where they are and continue expanding their practice. Regardless of their personal goals, all of these lawyers are thinking about how to best position themselves for the future.

No matter your end goal, here are a few basic keys to your future.

1. Start now. It is never too soon or too late to position yourself for a better future as a lawyer. If you don’t have many contacts in your desired field, figure out a way to make them and get started. If you notice that most corporate positions require experience you lack, find a way to fill that gap or demonstrate the same skills in a different setting. If you want to be a judge, start developing name recognition with either the people who could elect you or those who could appoint you.

2. Build on your strengths. Assess your professional and personal strengths and capitalize on them. Rather than spending most of your time trying to fix your weaknesses, spend more time developing your natural strengths. For more on this approach, check out various books on strengths identification and development by Marcus Buckingham, Donald Clifton and Tom Rath.

3. Be the lawyer you would want to hire. A potential interview question is: “How would your co-workers describe you?” Regardless of your future goals, make sure you really are living up to how you would want your clients or co-workers to describe you. Acknowledge this and start aligning your behaviors with your values. If you are behind on entering your time, you keep breaking promises to clients, or you have trouble staying focused on projects until completion, chances are you aren’t being the lawyer you would want to hire.

You can wait for your future to happen to you or you can control what you can and start positioning yourself. String together a series of small steps to make these changes and then keep going. It’s your future.

If you would like lawyer coaching to help position yourself for your future, please contact me.