Why making the right choices at the right time is key
September is the time of year when trainees have traditionally started at a law firm. I’m assuming that is still pretty much the case, as I have seen a number of posts from now-senior lawyers reminiscing about what it was like when they started and what’s changed in the many years that have gone by. I could do a similar piece, but I won’t (or at least not now).
What I do want to do is to make a point aimed at all lawyers, wherever they may be on the career path.
Time (as Mick Jagger said) is on my side – but….
…to echo the refrain, no it ain’t. The thing to realise is that time does fly and so being in control of your career is important. I appreciate that at the start of your legal journey the most critical thing will usually be the next hurdle to jump – qualifying, getting kept on, the right practice area, becoming a senior associate, a junior partner etc, but as you gain more experience, and a feel for what you like to do, then making sure that you make the right choices at the right times is going to be key.
Way back when there was a pretty simple choice to make between staying in private practice and going in house. There was definitely a fork in the road and whichever route you took, it was difficult to go back. Not impossible, just difficult. When I left one of the Magic Circle firms to go in house there was the distinct feeling that I was making a massive mistake. These days there is an increasing recognition that skills acquired in house – commercial awareness, business sensitivity, sector knowledge and understanding – are hugely helpful for a private practice lawyer.
The options in private practice are also many. Magic Circle, the US firms, the international firms, the boutique firms – and often the information that a lawyer has available when making a choice is anecdotal and out of date. Why does every law firm describe themselves as “entrepreneurial”, for example? I also suspect that there is a point on the journey when a lawyer realises that they need something else – the skills that got you to here are not going to get you to there. Being aware of the constant need to hone your soft skills – how to build relationships, give (and take) feedback, work as a part of a team – is something that the good lawyer is always doing.
You have to do all this at the same time as you are doing the day job or for some, it is the day and night job. That’s not even to mention the importance of having a life outside of work otherwise it is all too easy to come out the other side without ever having paused to think.
That’s where we come in.
Punter Southall Law is a law firm that has been created for lawyers whose professional satisfaction and success are founded upon strong and trusted client relationships. These relationships form the cornerstone of a legal practice over which our lawyers exercise full control and choice. They do so with the full support and infrastructure of a firm that sits within a well-established group of professional service companies that share the same philosophy of building success through valuing relationships, not transactions.
So, if time is still on your side, or even if you think it might not be, come and talk to us!