Tiffany Farber is a solo practitioner who has been practicing law since 2008. As someone who has been through transition in her career, she understands the challenges lawyers in this situation face.
Another year is wrapping up. This is the time of year when we all reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to starting anew. As you write your resolutions for the year, try to first focus on the things you’ve accomplished in 2010, then jot down the things you would like to change in 2011. Although New Year resolutions are cliché, there is something comforting about them. We all have things we regret not doing. When we write resolutions, we get excited about accomplishing the things we didn’t get around to doing the previous year.
When you are crafting your job search resolutions for 2011, think about things that didn’t work for you during the past year. Did you apply to mostly online job postings and hear virtually nothing back? Did you drop the ball when it came to following up on opportunities? Did you get out and network enough? Perhaps next year you can make it a point to get out and meet more people. Networking is a highly effective way to job search. Through networking, a friend of mine was recently offered a job with a firm.
In 2011, don’t just say things like, “Well, I don’t know people so I’m not going to get the jobs.” Instead, go meet people and show them how impressive you are. This year I started a networking group for job seeking attorneys, and it has been a very fun way to connect with people. Don’t forget about non-law networking events as well. Remember, just because someone isn’t an attorney does not mean they do not have connections to attorneys.
Did you get practical legal experience this past year? If not, think about taking a pro bono case in 2011. There are tons of legal service organizations that would be happy to set you up with a client. Working on pro bono cases is an excellent way to get your feet wet and gives you the opportunity to really help someone who needs you. Another way to get hands-on experience is to do contract work or per diem work for an established attorney. Working with another attorney often allows you to learn new areas of law.
If you are thinking about starting your own practice in 2011, look into seminars and CLEs that are geared towards solo practitioners. I went to a CLE for solo practitioners the first week of January this year. While everyone is taking a time-out during the holidays, you can be outlining the steps you will take to start your practice in the new year. Sketch out a business plan or brainstorm some marketing ideas. The earlier you start, the sooner you can get rolling.
If you start making plans for 2011, you will start the year off with a bang. If you had a bad 2010, put it behind you and focus on the future. Take care of yourselves. This is Tiffany Farber signing out until 2011.