Are You Looking at Your Career Through the Right Lens?

A pervasive problem in the legal field today involves young attorneys -- predominantly millennials -- who are prone to being shortsighted. If you aren’t content with where you are in your career, then it’s possible you may be part of this group.

If you can correct your orientation at this point, you may enjoy a rosier future in this field.

Four Ways to Invest in the Future

We don’t mean this article to represent a knock on millennials, but the observation seems to be supported by considerable evidence. Many have noted that millennials tend to want everything “now.”

They’ve grown up in an on-demand world, where almost anything can be purchased or consumed almost immediately. From movies to food to online shopping, goods and services in society today can be ordered and delivered with a swiftness that was unimaginable for previous generations.

The drawback, as many young lawyers (perhaps including yourself) have discovered, is that careers take time to develop. You can’t go from law student to partner overnight. Whatever your career aspirations may be, it will take years and decades to realize them, which has always been the case in the past.

Unfortunately, when the long-term character of a career in the legal field becomes clear, some young attorneys grow frustrated and don’t care to undergo the process. They fall pretty to dissatisfaction and/or a perceived lack of success (both in the short and longer terms).

The solution is to adjust your expectations and start to plant seeds that will be harvested in the future. Here are some practical suggestions:

1. Create a 5-Year and 10-Year Plan

If your goal each week is to make it to the weekend, you probably have an unhealthy perspective. If your goal is to increase your income by 25 percent this year, that’s an equally unrewarding point of view.

Shortsighted goals breed only short-term success. What you need to do is devise a long-term vision for your career. This would entail developing a five-year and ten-year plan that can be reevaluated on a regular basis.

2. Develop an Online Audience (and Earn Their Trust)

In this field, there’s far too great a focus on nabbing clients, making a fast buck, and then stowing them in a file. If you crave true long-term success, you need to put more energy into developing an online audience that comes to you for advice and remembers your name/face in a time of need.

The best way to develop an online audience is to foster trust via content. This page from is an instructive example of what this can look like.

Notice how the page explains specific laws and rules, offers some guidance, and gently encourages readers to reach out if they have further questions. Creating content like this is far more effective than paying for digital ads that come and go.

3. Invest Your Time

If you’re a 27-year-old attorney and you’re constantly worried about the time you’re putting into various tasks, you’re operating out of shortsightedness. It can seem tedious and unrelenting, but the time you put in now will pay off over time. Invest your time wisely and you’ll be better off in the future.

4. Find a Mentor

You need someone who: (a) has been in your shoes, and (b) is where you want to be in 10 or 20 years from now. Find a mentor who understands the path you’re on and can help keep you motivated. The insights he or she provides will help you see the big picture in a tangible way.

Broaden Your Perspective

Perspective is everything in the legal field. It demands considerable time and effort to move ahead in such a competitive industry, so you would do well to discarded your shortsighted approach and broaden your perspective with the future in mind.

Seeds planted now will yield a healthy crop down the road.

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