Plan and Manage Your Legal Career

Lawyers routinely spend a lot of time planning complex matters or cases, but very few devote much time to intentionally planning their own careers. This is a big mistake.

Know Where to Go In Your Career and How to Get There

You will face numerous choices throughout your career. These may include:

  • Re-energizing your current practice area
  • Refocusing on a new practice area
  • Switching to a new environment
  • Rebalancing your work, life and community obligations
  • Strategically positioning yourself for retirement

Do you know when to make these choices? Do you know which choices are the right ones for you? If your answer is “no,” don’t worry. That’s where I can help you.

I am a lawyer who has practiced more than 40 years in law firm, solo and corporate legal department settings, and an attorney coach who has worked with lawyers for the past 15 years. That background has given me the knowledge base to give you the pragmatic and realistic advice you need to stay on top of your career.

The Four Main Factors in Career Counseling

When working together as your lawyer coach, we consider these four important issues:

  • What is your reason for change (re-energizing, refocusing, rebalancing, planning ahead)?
  • What is your goal for change (assessment of aspirations and skills)?
  • Are your choices realistic (due diligence, networking and "sampling")?
  • What are the costs of your change (time, effort, money and emotion)?

From there, together we craft a strategic action plan to move forward.

Legal Career Counseling Case Studies

Case study #1: A junior partner felt discouraged about his ability to build a practice and succeed within a large firm environment. He wondered whether an in-house counsel role might be a better fit. As I have worked in both environments, I was able to provide this lawyer with useful insight into how each option—improving his private practice book of business or securing an in-house position—might meet his professional and personal needs. With me acting as an objective sounding board, the lawyer was able to make an informed choice.

Case study #2: A lawyer enjoyed the practice of law, but was at a firm that was not a good fit in terms of career advancement and personal satisfaction. I helped him understand his professional and personal priorities and develop the confidence to strike out on his own. Specifically, I guided him through the process of leaving the firm and developing a roadmap for his own solo practice—which has been very successful.

Case study #3: An attorney who practiced employment law at a law firm weighed her options and wanted to move into a human resources position at a local company. I helped her understand the consequences of leaving private practice so that she could make an informed decision—and then I helped her make the change. Part of this process involved helping the lawyer create a pitch to support her reasons for wanting to leave the practice of law. She found an HR position after a few months of searching.

Want more examples? Read these career choice coaching testimonials.

Learn More About Legal Career Counseling

I often speak at CLEs on the topic of making good career choices. I also write about it. If you’d like to learn more, read this article:

Read my posts on this topic on my blog as well.

Better Manage Your Legal Career

For more information on how lawyer coaching can help you make better career choices, please call me at (612) 524-5837 or send me, Roy Ginsburg, an email.