Staying Power: 4 Key Ingredients for Legal Career Longevity


Do you have what it takes to keep the momentum going in your legal career? These days, career longevity is no longer simply determined by the number of years you spend at one firm or company. It’s also about remaining relevant as a legal professional and being aware of developments that could spice up your legal career while keeping you enthused, engaged and in demand.

If you want to cook up a long-lasting career in the legal profession, you’ll need these four essential ingredients:

1. A pinch of mentoring

Early in your career, it’s extremely beneficial to work with a mentor. A seasoned legal professional can offer you invaluable advice and guidance and help you build a strong network of professional connections. If your law firm or legal department doesn’t offer a formal mentoring program, take the initiative and seek out a senior associate or another veteran legal professional to serve as your mentor.  

As you move up the ranks, consider becoming a mentor yourself. Not only is it extremely rewarding to show a rookie legal professional the ropes, but working with an intern or first-year associate can offer you a fresh perspective on the legal field. Whether it’s cutting-edge law office technology or a new application of a ruling, your protégé may open your eyes to an approach or strategy you’ve never considered.  

2. A dash of continuing education

If you want your legal career to have staying power, never stop learning. Sign up for continuing legal education classes and seminars. Not only can these courses help you stay on top of recent trends in your current practice area, they can help you learn about other areas of the law and technological advancements in the legal field. To top it off, these courses and seminars provide priceless opportunities to network with fellow legal professionals.

3. A sprinkle of risk-taking

Look around at the partners at your firm or the executives in your legal department. You’ll probably notice successful legal professionals have something in common: They don’t shy away from risk. Unless you want your legal career to go stale, it’s important to take smart risks along the way.

When you’re presented with a new career opportunity, for example, do some research on the firm or organization and evaluate the risks and benefits of accepting the position. If seizing the opportunity might revitalize your career, go ahead and take the leap. Taking risks forces you outside of your comfort zone, but in the long run, it can be well worth any temporary uncertainty.

4. A heaping helping of leadership

To make your legal career last, it’s important to develop your leadership skills. Get involved with a legal association and strive to take on a leadership role within the organization. Volunteer to speak at industry events or write articles for a blog or publication in your practice area. In the workplace, ask your boss if you can take the helm of or play a key role in important projects, cases or special teams. By taking these steps, not only will you discover your leadership potential, you’ll also keep your legal career fresh for years to come with new challenges and opportunities.

Decades of experience at the same company or firm certainly looks impressive on paper, but it’s no guarantee of ongoing career success. If you don’t want your legal career to go stale, you need to embrace change and making use of these four essential ingredients. By positioning yourself as an innovator and someone with a keen interest in the latest trends and advances in the legal field, a lasting and fulfilling career will naturally follow.

What other ingredients are essential to a long-lasting legal career? Share your thoughts below.