Senior Associate at Legalite, Marija Dukadinovska explores the various ways to design and develop a successful legal career in today’s evolving world.
When I started my law career 8 years ago, the career pathways were limited, with higher emphasis on going down the mid-top tier commercial law firm route.
If the traditional path doesn’t appeal to you, the great news is that the post-pandemic shift has opened doors to more pathways and opportunities in the legal profession.
It’s exciting to have more opportunities available, however the first few years of your legal career can still feel challenging to navigate, as you work out what you want to do and which path you want to take.
In this article I provide you with practical tips and tools you can implement right away to start designing and developing a career that feels aligned for you. Let’s get into it!
TIP 1 – SEEK OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
As you start your career, it can feel like you don’t have much of a say in how you get to shape your career. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth because this is the time in your career where you get to seek opportunities for growth, get involved in different matters or projects, seek exposure to different types of work and develop new skills.
Get to know your organisation and the different departments and speak to your colleagues about the work they do. This will help you get exposed to different areas or types of work that may take your interest. Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities outside your job description as a lawyer. The skills you develop outside of your technical legal skills will help you to be a better lawyer and service your clients in a holistic way. Or if you don’t want to practice law in the long run, learning different skills outside of your legal role will help you transition into a different career with ease.
When you ask for opportunities, don’t be afraid if the answer is no. Build a business case for what you’re seeking to achieve and present it to your organisation. If the answer is still no, it doesn’t matter because you’ve learnt how to identity gaps in the business, you sought a solution, you backed that solution with a business case and you learnt how to communicate that to your organisation. These are all invaluable skills that will support you in your career and are the building blocks for your next path. See everything as an opportunity for learning and growth. With that mindset you’ll intentionally design a very successful career for yourself.
TIP 2 – BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND & CONNECTIONS
Think about your personal brand and the reputation you want to build. It’s never too early to start building your reputation. You don’t necessarily have to start creating content on social media if that doesn’t interest you. However, engaging in meaningful discussions in the comments section of LinkedIn posts can go a long way to developing your thought-leadership and online presence. Before you know it, you’ll start expanding your professional network and connect with people that uplift your thinking. It’s important to build your network inside and outside the legal profession. There’s so much you can learn from experts and thought-leaders in different industries that can expand the way you approach your legal career.
TIP 3 – ADOPT A LEADERSHIP MINDSET
You get to be the leader of yourself and your career, even as a junior lawyer. A leadership mindset is believing in yourself, creating opportunities, taking personal responsibility over how you show up, being solution focused and thinking outside the box. Think about the leaders that inspire you and ask yourself how you can embed some of their key qualities into your day-to-day. What type of leader do you want to be and how do you want to show up each day? Adopting a leadership mindset will help you stand out in your role as someone that takes initiative and seeks opportunities.
The tips and tools I’ve provided in this article will support you to design and develop your career in the modern world of law and help you find an environment that enables you to build the career you want. The more support you have from your organisation, the more you can flourish and shape your career in a way that’s aligned to you. No matter which direction you take your career, it’s important to always be purposeful and intentional about the role you play.
Marija Dukadinovska is a Senior Associate at Legalite, with both in-house and private practice experience, having worked for renowned Australian brands like Kookai. She’s also a career coach helping driven lawyers create fulfilling and purposeful careers, and the host of The Career Confidence Podcast. Marija is a shining example of someone who has designed her own unique career path, her way.
You can connect with Marija on LinkedIn.
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