Thinking back to the beginning of 2022, chances are that much of what you envisioned for your career and your practice has turned out differently twelve months later.
The pandemic and the resulting ‘Great Redefinition’ have created challenges for legal professionals as well as opportunities for change. Although some of these challenges are new, many have simply been magnified by our new normal. Though the economic outlook for 2023 is uncertain, one thing is for sure, the legal landscape is rapidly changing.
Attorneys who take concrete steps to adapt are more likely to thrive and create the fulfilling practice they envision. Setting goals that are measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound will help assure that you achieve success as you define it for 2023.
The Scale Community gathered this year in Denver for its firmwide attorney retreat to discuss what it would take to build, grow and thrive in 2023. Here are the top 3 goals from those discussions that can help the broader attorney community as we all look ahead to the year as it unfolds.
1. Build the network and necessary ‘toolkit’ for your continued success
Typically, building a successful legal practice requires a deep understanding of one area of law as well as a network of professional relationships. Assembling this ‘toolkit’ can seem daunting, but it all starts with the colleagues at your firm or in your community. So start reaching out. Identify other attorneys who have done the type of work that you want to do, and be proactive in developing relationships with those individuals.
Additionally, think of your colleagues and peers as your clients. Build a network around your personal brand, and work to clearly communicate your skill set, your goals, and the experience that you’re looking to develop.
Take Action to Build
- Build confidence in your legal skill set and discern how to achieve breadth and depth
- Craft your personal brand both internally and externally and make it known
- Identify client work and other attorneys who will expose you to the right opportunities
2. Grow the practice you want by communicating your legal skills and experience
Once you have assembled your ‘toolkit’ of experience, the next step is to cohesively translate it into career and business growth. This is an exercise in two things: confidence building and communication.
Communicating your expertise and personal brand will lead to an expansion of your professional network and greater opportunities over time. Be prepared to clearly and concisely communicate your strengths and the strengths of your firm or practice network. It’s essential to have the confidence to sell the value that you and your colleagues can provide to your ideal clients, because it’s always time to build your brand.
Take Action to Grow
- Organize with colleagues around common interests: crypto, ESG, fintech, startups, etc.
- Foster conversations about client needs
- Communicate your skill set and learn the skills of others
3. Thrive by visualizing how you want to work, then work to pursue that vision
Finally, if you are truly looking to thrive in your career (not just survive) you need to visualize how you want work to be a rewarding part of your life and make the time to pursue that vision.
Inward reflection is key to this goal – there is no one-size-fits-all for success. For one person, it may mean a certain amount of money. Another may want to be offline to enjoy family dinner every day. Knowing what success looks like for you requires time to reflect on what gives you a real sense of fulfillment.
Be mindful that thriving is not a solo enterprise, and reflecting on your outward community is also key to thriving professionally. Having a community of attorneys with varying practice areas and levels of seniority that you know and trust is crucial.
Take Action to Thrive
- Carve out time to reflect on what works for you with respect to your career and life
- Engage in planning and goal setting, note your emotional state and what’s working
- Set boundaries between work and personal life and communicate those boundaries
- Create community by reaching out, building relationships and giving to others
Tracking and following up on your goals is essential for any measure of success – whatever that may be for you. If the Great Redefinition taught us anything, it’s that things change and priorities shift, but with good planning, collaborative communication, and reflection you will lay good groundwork to build, grow, and thrive in your legal practice throughout the year.