The traditional legal career model where a law grad went to work for an employer and stayed until retirement is long gone. Technology and globalization are partially responsible for that. And, while legal employment has rebounded somewhat after the Great Recession, today’s job market remains volatile. Attorneys who graduate from law school now should assume they will hold quite a few jobs during their career.
What does this mean for law students and recent graduates:
- You need to do a great deal of planning and research both while you are in law school and after graduation. Adjusting your legal career model throughout your working life helps you stay ahead of trends and unanticipated career “shocks.” It also positions you to grab opportunities when they arise.
- You need to accept you may not fall into your ideal legal job immediately after graduation. That may take time and one or more “transitional” positions.
- You need to evaluate a job offer in terms of how it will impact you long term career goals. Ask yourself, “Am I going to gain valuable knowledge and skills that will position me for the next job? Do I risk practicing in an area for which there is little demand? Does my practice area have staying power? Will it disappear because of technological innovations? Is it possible I will be “typecast” by future employers?”
- The more uncertain the legal job market, the more sweat equity and due diligence you need to invest in your future. You need to manage your career, not just let it happen!
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