Five Critical Steps to Better Manage Your Career (Right Now):

March 30, 2020

Since joining The Counsel Network in 1998, I’ve seen the legal community weather several economic downturns, all of which had some similar features. ‘But this one is different’, they said about the Dot-Com Crash and the 2008/9 Financial Crisis. This time, however, it is different: health and lives are at stake, and the impacts are felt far beyond major financial markets. The wellbeing of everyone, not only our loved ones, should always be of utmost importance.


What things will look like at the end is difficult to say, but we will get through this. Every day we look for a glimmer of hope: news the curve is flattening, a vaccine is progressing to clinical trials, and governments are providing assistance to help us through. Nonetheless, we can overwhelm ourselves with staying on top of work, looking after children and aging parents, keeping ourselves healthy, the list is endless.


Over the years, I’ve discussed the importance of taking a step back and evaluating your career at many conferences, presentations, and one-on-one meetings. This topic is just as important today, if not more than ever before. This week, we’ve been inundated with countless calls and emails about what’s happening in the market: Are firms busy? Should I be worried about my position? As always, we will be answering all your questions (and more) as things change, so stay tuned.


Right now, to prepare for every possibility, we recommend following core principles of career management to figure out where you are in your career, what you want to do, and how to get there.


  1. Put current events out of your mind, even just for an hour. It’s easy for us to make rash decisions based on fear or incomplete information.
  2. Take a step back and evaluate where you are in your career. Critically assess your personal and work-related skills and interests, as well as consider what’s missing and what you want to do more of.
  3. Ask yourself – What’s your ‘Why’? Why do you do what you do? What’s your cause? What’s your purpose? What do you believe? These things make you who you are. Simon Sinek’s TED talk ‘Start with Why’ is just as much applicable to individuals as it is Corporations.
  4. Write a plan that sets out your overall vision and how you will achieve it. List your objectives and career goals. For example, if you need to upskill, what courses should you take and when?
  5. Ensure you have accurate information on the market so you can better contextualize your career goals. There’s a lot of information out there – you need to decipher it, speak to experts, and advise yourself in a way similar to the way you advise clients.


How many times have you looked at someone and thought, ‘they seem happy’ or ‘they’re passionate about their work’, followed by, ‘they must’ve been in the right place at the right time’. Yes, luck and timing may help, but when it comes down to it, what you do is crucial. You must position yourself for the perfect opportunity.


The legal profession has undergone significant change over the past decade. Recent events have added further uncertainty.  As a result, active career management is imperative. It will not only enhance your current career, but it will also ensure you successfully navigate through these times and better position yourself, for now and in the future.


If you need any career related advice, please do not hesitate to contact a team member at The Counsel Network for a confidential discussion. We are here to answer any questions you may have.


Dal Bhathal, Managing Partner


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