YourABA: June 2013
YourABA September 2013 Masthead

Legal career counselors share 10 tips
on how to achieve work-life goals

A panel of 10 experienced legal career coaches revealed to young lawyers concrete tips and strategies for successful career advancement at the program “CareerLine LIVE!” during the Annual Meeting.

“We want to give you hope that there are plenty of ways to make yourselves a wonderful and long career in the law,” said Kathy Morris of Under Advisement Ltd., who conceived the idea for the program.

Related video: Experts share career guidance with young lawyers at ABA Annual Meeting

Sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division, the event featured a full-group session where each panelist presented a piece of advice to the entire audience, followed by small group discussions to strategize about how to become practice-ready and professionally confident attorneys.

The panelists' tips to achieve work-life goals include:

  1. Make a positive first impression. Morris guided young lawyers on how to create a first positive impression and encouraged them to “Step up and speak!” She emphasized the importance of facilitating conversation with others during a first encounter and warned them to avoid interrogations during introductions.

  2. Interview wisely in a challenging market. Sari Zimmerman, assistant dean for the office of career and professional development at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, offered specific tips on how to interview wisely in a challenging market. “You want to show the connection between the work of the employer and your background,” she said. “You want to serve as the translator of your experience.”

  3. Craft a career plan to become the “GC of Me Inc.” “Start building your reputation the moment you start law school,” said Stacy Miller Azcarate of Miller Sabino & Lee Inc., a legal placement recruiter, who spoke about crafting career plans and jokingly cheered attendees to become “the general counsel of Me Inc.”

  4. Apply your strengths for optimal productivity and flow. “Make sure there is some kind of alignment between what you say is important … and how you actually spend your time,” said Cameron Powell of Feroce Coaching, who emphasized applying personal strengths for optimal productivity and flow.

  5. Network internally and externally. Erin Trenda of Cooley LLP discussed the value of meeting people and building professional and personal networks for career growth. “Think about networking as business development and lateral opportunity,” she said.

  6. Get effective feedback from your supervisor. “Don't be afraid to ask your supervisor for feedback,” said Nina Pan of Naomi Beard & Associates, a coach and consultant to attorneys and law firms. She stressed the importance of getting the most effective feedback from supervisors.

  7. Recover from a mistake with credibility and confidence. Liz Stone of The Dubin Group shared three practical steps on how to amend mistakes and re-establish credibility with ownership, responsibility and responsiveness.

  8. Deal with difficult people. “You may actually play a role in dealing with difficult people,” said Robert White, director of alumni career services at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law. Identifying the pattern of difficult people in your life can help you deal with difficult people in your professional career, he said.

  9. Brand yourself and market your practice. Daniel Roberts of recommended creating a brand for yourself and learning how to best market your practice.

  10. Reinvent yourself in a law-related or alternative career context. Marc Luber, founder of JD Careers Out There, provided perspective on how to address career changes and how to make the best out of unexpected opportunities.

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