Recession-proof Your Legal Career, Starting Now

While economists may debate whether we are in the midst of a recession, law firms will need to plan their staffing accordingly. Fortunately, the legal business model is a malleable one.

So, in the face of this uncertainty, now is the time to recession-proof your career. My advice will help advance your career, in good times as well as bad.

Show up. In the wake of the pandemic, many firms have moved to a hybrid structure, with attorneys encouraged or required to attend work, in person, on certain weekdays. Make sure you are present and visible. Bond with senior lawyers, your team or department. Contribute, ask questions, and always exceed expectations. It’s much easier to lay off a face only seen on Zoom, no matter how much work you produce remotely.

Blur your boundaries. While family comes first, be sure you are available on weekends and off-cycle hours to take charge with client emergencies and exigencies. Exude a positive and can-do spirit, even when you had otherwise planned a “lazy Sunday.” Be sure to check and respond to emails, texts, and Slack, especially after hours and when on vacation.

Build Your Skill Set. Know your specialty, inside and out. Volunteer for challenging assignments. Inspire confidence in senior partners and clients with meticulous work, legal acumen, and critical thinking skills.

Raise your profile, inside and outside the firm. Identify rainmaking partners and seek to work on their matters and with their teams. Attend and speak at conferences. Expand your network through joining and contributing to professional and pro bono organizations. Get involved in your law school’s alumni activities, committees, and functions.

Polish and update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Take the time to think strategically about your career. Identify your strengths to optimize your next move. Don’t just list skills; describe your leadership roles and accomplishments using active, dynamic language and provide concrete, illustrative examples.

Don’t panic. Keep your ear to the ground about your firm’s financial health and prospects. Remain, calm and strategic about your career and prospects.

The most important advice? Invest in your future. With my years of experience and expertise in coaching, advising, and assisting lawyers at all levels with career advancement and transitions, I can teach you invaluable skills and help you devise plans to reach your top potential – even in uncertain times. I look forward to hearing from you.

Published by Sheryl Odentz on LinkedIn on August 17, 2022.  Sheryl is the founder of Progress in Work LLC, an award-winning career management firm.  Sheryl helps lawyers and other types of professionals with a wide range of career issues such as career transitions, business development and leadership.