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THE LEGAL 500 > ADVICE TO MY YOUNGER SELF > KEY THEMES FROM THE REPORT

KEY THEMES FROM THE REPORT






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Mentors and Sponsors

Actively seek out mentors and role models. You are right to seek guidance from colleagues … especially when making career decisions.

Mentors and sponsors are indispensible. Don’t sell yourself short; get a good support system and use it.

Opportunity is the best gift a mentor can give, such as by assigning difficult work.

At all stages of your career, so much depends on your networks. You reap what you sow – it is important to invest at least as much as you take.

Look for sponsors as well as mentors. Sponsors put their skin in the game of advancing your career.

Be vocal and visible; make your presence felt; develop your internal network.

Push the boundaries: Give it a go!

I remember the shiver in my voice the first time I spoke up – but then saw positive looks across the table, which encouraged me. In those moments, my career progressed.

Work on your confidence. To get over my shyness, I raised my hand for every public speaking opportunity. Now it’s easier.

Try to do one brave thing every day. Don’t avoid challenges; get involved.

Setbacks often turn out to be just the opposite. Being flexible allowed me to discover the firm as a vessel for my professional adventure.

Enjoy your career, and make the most of it. Opportunity abounds in firms that are meritocratic and diverse. Be up for it.

If you’re not just a little bit uncomfortable, then you are not learning and achieving.

Networking/business development

I go into every business development meeting utterly convinced that what I’m selling is fantastic. It’s infectious.

Play to your own strengths – be self-aware and be yourself. If you watch others, you’ll see that people achieve great things in different ways.

Business development should not be a chore. Get comfortable with it so you can enjoy the process.

You can be the best technical lawyer, but if you can’t sell your skills – your unique selling points – you’re not going to attract clients.

Treat your career as any entrepreneur would treat her business.

In business development, you need courage. Bite the bullet, reach out and do something that puts you outside of your comfort zone.

Embrace opportunity

Get exposure to different practice areas, which will round you out and provide a better sense of where you truly wish to concentrate down the road.

Keep an open mind and go with the flow. What you are good at when you’re 22 years old might not be the same later in life.

Be open to opportunities, and position yourself to take advantage of them; make sure you have the keys to open the doors you find.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

I decided to get in on the ground floor of a new practice. Taking that chance was the best decision I’ve made so far.

Grow and evolve with your career; where you start isn’t necessarily where you will finish.

Find your balance

Ultimately, being part-time mattered far less than the business I was bringing in. Flexibility allowed me to focus on business development, which then freed me from having to log so many billable hours.

Be confident but also know what you don’t know. It’s better to ask for help than to forge ahead unprepared. Not only will you make mistakes but you will lose respect.

If you do great work and generate business, you can expect flexibility in other areas.

If technology gives you opportunities to spend time with your family, then do it! Being happy and well balanced will make you more successful at work and at home.

Keep calm. There’s a solution to every problem, and nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Nurture your resilience and accept the flaws in life – perfection is a myth.

Be true to yourself

Let your passion inspire your career. My interest in diversity helped me build my network while doing something really important.

I chose my firm because everyone seemed happy, and there was a straight-up atmosphere.

Do things with desire. Define your passion … what is it that fascinates you?

Find your own style, and find the practice and clients your style is best suited to. Your style won’t appeal to everyone. That’s true for all of us.

Some of our strongest attributes come very naturally: being authentic, open and honest and a good listener.

While we become lawyers at our jobs, we also grow as individuals. Be true to yourself. Find your space and keep it safe.


Volunteering

Whether you get involved in fostering diversity in the workplace or providing life-changing pro bono services, the stories in this book reflect both the personal nature of this work and the professional benefits of volunteering in boosting your career along the way.

Learn how to say “yes” to opportunities that speak to your passion, facilitate networking and allow you to demonstrate substantive and leadership skills. It’s okay to gracefully say “no” to opportunities that are not ideal for you. Taking a thoughtful approach can help advance your career while fulfilling your desire to serve those in need.

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