Are you stuck?

Let’s face it, doing the job of a lawyer is bloody hard work.

  • Understanding the law.
  • Compliance.
  • Billing.
  • Billing (yes I have repeated myself).
  • Managing your clients’ (often) unreasonable expectations.
  • Playing political football.
  • Keeping the peace at home.
  • Trying to stay in love with the profession.
  • Making sure you you climb the greasy pole of promotion.

And I could go on.

You haven’t progressed your career nearly as fast as you would have liked.

You have got really bored with doing it, doing it (or should I say billing, billing?) each and every month.

And worst of all, you are stuck in a position that seems impossible to escape from.

Be honest, when was the last time you really enjoyed your job? Today, yesterday or last month?

I would wager that very few lawyers can really say that they love what they do. I should know I have worked with enough of them.

If you are glued to the spot then it is high time you started to focus on what really floats your boat. Yes, it might involve a bit of Blue Ocean thinking but more likely it will involve you asking yourself the fundamental question: “Is law for you?”

Assuming that you pass that point – a point of no return for a lot of people – then you need to consider:

(a) the work that inspires you; and

(b) the clients that make you go that extra mile – you can’t do enough for them.

You and I know both know that the focus on billing or filling that daily time sheet masks a whole slew of issues, not least the fact that you are driven to do work for the sake of it. But if you are serious, truly serious about your career, then you need to work on your career and not in it. Have the gumption to set aside one day a week (at least for the first few weeks) and reflect on the reasons why you went into law and what you want to be doing. Don’t kid yourself that you are doing it for the money. If you have connvinced yourself that that is the only reason you stay wedded to the profession then you are deluding yourself. No job is worth it just for the money. How much is enough to give only half or less of yourself? To see you miserable every day. To see you zombie like just going through the motions. No you have to have a much more deep rooted cause than that.

Spend this thinking time truly looking outside of your comfort zone. Don’t convince yourself in an instant that even though you really love or think you would love a new area of law or working with a different client cohort that your previous lack of experience will forever or even now guide your decision making. Have the belief in your ability. Don’t allow that voice inside your head to drive yourself backwards.

If you need to reach out for help to loosen the grip on your psyche and soul then do so. There are some wonderful people out there who can move you on. They will help to paint pictures of pure joy for you that you are unable to do. The image of you as a happy lawyer might be a start.

Summary

Don’t give in to that voice that says you can’t do it. If someone had said you couldn’t possibly practice as a lawyer when you started out, you would have used that as the inspiration to succeed. Likewise, don’t accept any excuse for not being happy and realise your potential. Don’t put any barriers like you haven’t got the time or you have been doing the job too long. No one was a born a lawyer and if you want to do something else or another facet of law then do it.

Don’t look back in 5 years time and regret your lack of spirit and willingness to change. Be proud that you leveraged your ability.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~

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