The Benefits Of Professional Development

Submitted By Jawwad-Hashir
Words: 1173
Pages: 5

Although most young lawyers found that success in law school was clear-cut, the transition to practice is significantly more challenging. As young lawyers plan, they often discover that, despite the fact that law firms and other legal employers provide some training, the attorneys themselves bear final responsibility for their own professional development. Many junior lawyers learn that developing the additional characteristics, skills, experiences, and competencies to produce success in private practice is considerably harder. Indeed, in the past, young lawyers relied on law firms to manage their legal careers. Now, career development squarely is in each associate’s hands. “In the past, relying on law firm professional development programs was effective, but now, strategies for success have changed,” Lexacount Search Legal Search Consultant Jacqueline Zaberer explains. Given this change in the playing field, what can a young lawyer do?
Below, there are six straightforward pointers that a young lawyer can implement to help themselves develop their own career path. Although some of these tips may seem obvious, they are invaluable. Associates who are prepared follow the advice below likely will have greater career success.
1. Plan Ahead
Creating your career is a long and involved process. The most important step to take in career development is to identify short (1-3 years), medium (3-5 years), and long (5-10 year) term goals. Put these aspirations down on paper and include specific targets and action items. As you come up with your goals, know yourself and your values! Think about what is important to you. And, dream big! Examine and evaluate what you like, what skills you have, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you want to be your ultimate goal to be. You should refer to your plan early and often, as you will need to revise it to reflect any progress you made or experiences you obtained and further to update it with changes in goals and your priorities.
2. Find a Mentor
All young lawyers should find a mentor. In fact, no matter where you are in your career, you should find a mentor. Mentors can help guide your way through institutional and professional obstacles and minefields. For example, a young attorney can seek constructive feedback from senior lawyers and/or can initiate a mentoring relationship. Lexacount Legal Search Consultant Jacqueline Zaberer clarifies further: “With all of the changes in the global economy and the legal industry, law firms and other legal employers expect more from their young hires. Young lawyers can use mentors to develop ideas about seeking work in a law firm, developing a brand in the community, and understanding the political playing field within their own organizations.”
3. Welcome New Opportunities
“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” Lucius Annaeus Senaca. As you make your career plans, be open to new opportunities that come your way through luck or serendipity. Even if a project seems to be a project that nobody wants or not up your alley, look for ways to make it better, showcase yourself, and expand your professional experiences. To recognize those opportunities, you must be present in the moment and always listening. Be cognizant of projects with senior lawyers that can exhibit skills that will increase competencies.
4. Develop a Relationships; Develop your Network
The most successful associates will have developed the deepest and broadest networks. For many, the question then becomes, how does one develop a network? It starts with relationships. A first step, make friends! Visit people on your floor. Meet with your peers in social settings. Meet new people in professional organizations. If you are able to make connections with your peers and colleagues, you will always have a friend to look out for you. As a second step, a young associate or a new person to an organization should get to know the office behind the scenes, especially, the key