Will the New Year Point Your Legal Career in a New Direction?

Whether you’re a recent law school graduate or a seasoned legal professional, it’s only natural for your legal career goals and priorities to change over time. As 2013 draws to a close, many lawyers and paralegals may find themselves looking to take advantage of new opportunities or achieve better balance between their work in the legal profession and their personal lives in the coming year. Here are four key steps to take when examining your legal career goals and assessing new opportunities:

  1. Ask yourself why. What is prompting you to make a legal career move? Examine the reasons behind your transition and try to visualize what your “ideal” position would look like.  

  2. Conduct a legal career audit. List your goals and the factors in your job that give you the greatest satisfaction. Identify aspects of recent projects you found most interesting or most stimulating, such as legal research, managing legal teams, training or mentoring, case management or intellectual challenges.
  3. Take an objective look. Examine your skills in the areas of legal expertise, technical knowledge, communication, interpersonal abilities, business acumen, and project management. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Study the market. Review industry research to understand the realities of today’s legal marketplace and how your interests and skills may intersect with recent developments. For example, Robert Half Legal's Future Law Office research indicates that law firms and corporate legal departments are seeking specialized talent, i.e., experienced legal professionals with high-demand practice area expertise (such as litigation and commercial law backgrounds), knowledge of particular industries or business sectors and long-term leadership potential. The more closely you can focus your career transition on emerging trends in the legal profession, the more successfully you can develop and implement proactive strategies to achieve your desired goals.

Download a complimentary copy of the report to learn more about recent developments that are affecting legal careers.