8 Quick pieces of advice for career growth

22 Aug 2014

1 – Know more and do the research: at some point it will pay off

Trawling the industry press might seem like hard work, but knowing exactly what is going on with the industry, regulation, firms near to you and more, could have a big impact at some future date. You never know when something you read is going to come up in an interview, or have been read by an important potential client. Being ‘clued up’ isn’t just good practice: it can be the difference between winning and losing business, or getting that new position you really wanted.

2 – To grow, a law firm needs access to adequate capital and the right people: has your current firm got both?

When we look at law firms, the above two elements are almost always vital to that firm’s growth. They need capital to invest in their own progress and the right people to make that progress happen. Has your current firm got both of those things? If it hasn’t, then are you still confident you are in the right position?

3 – Due diligence isn’t something that just happens to firms

Review your C.V. regularly and any coverage you or your firm receive in the press or industry publications. This is vital because clients and potential employers will be doing the same. Anything that stands out on your C.V. is an invitation for a question, as is anything your firm has done within full view of the industry. Have your answers prepared, because the questions will be asked.

4 – Boutique or large corporate?

Lawyers young and old will often pursue high-paying opportunities at large city centre firms, as well they should. But by doing so, are you limiting your chances of a dream job, where you could be just as successful, if not more so? Many boutique firms, specialising in specific industries or types of law, have spectacular opportunities for growth and for the right candidates to grow with them.

5 – The ‘old boys network’ is not always everything

For those aiming for the highest jobs in the legal profession, bear in mind that mining your own network is only one route to success. There are many reasons why Chambers, for example, will need to recruit barristers, rather than simply usher them in through personal connections. Keep your options open and talk to experts, if these are the positions you really want. Also remember that your own network, in comparison to others you could access, will almost certainly be a very small part of the whole.

6 – You have 5-10 minutes, at most, to impress

Several studies have concluded that first judgements are made and solidified during meetings within 5-10 minutes, whilst the rest of the time is spent reinforcing or testing that judgement. If you’re at an interview, that could mean the difference between getting the job and not. If you’re meeting a potential new client, that could mean the difference between winning the business and not. Initial impressions count. Make sure you have something of substance to contribute early on.

7 – Business strategy is not just something for businesses

What is your firm’s business strategy? Do you actively contribute to it? Are you confident it will work? Knowing where your firm is going and how it plans to get there is important, because it’s the strategy that will govern this part of your career. Their strategy is your strategy and if it’s not, then it might be time to look for somewhere more in-tune with your career goals.

8 – Missing something? What, and how far could you go with it?

Honestly appraising your own knowledge and performance is tough but it is a must if you want to progress your career. What are you missing that is holding you back? How much further could you go with it? Whether it is a new job for the experience or a key piece of knowledge or training, filling in the gaps can have a big impact on your career path and how quickly you can move along it.

For more quick insights and pieces of advice on the legal market and your career, why not visit the Jepson Holt YouTube channel?