The program will provide attendees with advice on the ways to become practice-ready, professionally confident attorneys who are positioned to achieve important work-life goals.
“CareerAdvice LIVE! ”
Thursday, Aug. 8
Before this event, Morris answered questions about her background and about what is most important for young lawyers to do in order to be content and successful with their career track.
You have been an attorney since 1975. Can you tell us what your experience was like early in your career?
Early in my career, I practiced law, first in a law firm in Honolulu and then as both an appellate defender and a federal defender in Chicago. I knew it was important for me to represent clients in their high-stakes criminal cases early in my career, while I had the zeal of a young lawyer.
How has your career advice changed since you started advising?
I started advising law students and alumni at Northwestern Law School in 1985 as the director of placement and career services, and proceeded to open my legal career counseling practice, Under Advisement, in 1988. Since those early years, I am probably more direct in style, but my advice, as then, is optimistic and supportive. I have branched out to advise law students and lawyers not only about how to get jobs, but how to start them well, leaving bad habits behind and comporting with the confidence to succeed. I also now advise law firms as to stemming unwanted attrition and developing their lawyers’ highest performance.
What is the most common inquiry you receive from young lawyers asking for your advice?
Most young lawyers ask about how to fashion a résumé that will serve them well in a job search and whether it needs to remain in the format they were instructed to use while in law school. I call those the “law school look” résumés, and I advise young lawyers to move toward a format that is more individualized and thus more compelling.
What question do young lawyers neglect to ask you about that you think they should?
What a great question! If they don’t ask me about it, I ask them the difference between how much money they actually need to make and how much money they think they want to make. Often, young lawyers look past jobs they would really like to do in favor of finding the most lucrative opportunity they can. They overlook the high cost of doing a job they’re not really interested in and often need encouragement to build a career they really want, starting as soon as possible.
What should young lawyers keep in mind when they are thinking about the future of their careers?
Careers evolve in unpredictable ways. As lawyers, we like to know exactly where our careers are headed and how to get there. But legal careers are not always linear, and most involve a good number of job changes. I advise young lawyers that the long run is made up of a series of short runs, so what they need to do is make the best decision they can about their next role and about each one thereafter. It’s hard not to feel in control of your whole career at the outset, but going where life takes you is also part of the exciting ride of a JD.
The “Career LIVE!” series made its debut at the 2013 ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas with the “CareerLine LIVE!” event. The inaugural program invited participants to ask their questions about résumés, job applications, networking and more via phone or social media.
Designed for lawyers in their first six years of practice, “CareerAdvice LIVE!” will include large- and small-group discussions led by Morris and the other career counselors on topics such as effective interviewing strategies, networking, recovering from mistakes and personal branding. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with career counselors for individual guidance. The event is free of charge, and ABA members can register here. If unable to attend the ABA Annual Meeting in person, the Young Lawyers Division will host a free, live chat online featuring Morris immediately following the event.
The ABA Young Lawyers Division is the largest young lawyer organization in the world, with 130,000 members and 300 affiliated groups. Individual membership is open to ABA members under 36 years old or admitted to practice for five years or less. To see a full list of YLD activities at the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting, please click here.