By Tsion Chudnovsky • December 13, 2017•Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Nonprofits and the Public Interest, Politics and Government, Other Career Issues, Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job, Internships and Clerkships, •Other Law School Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life, Mentoring and Networking, Features, Myths & Truths, Superwomen JDs and What You Can Learn From Them
If you do good work and can promote yourself, career doors will open for you.
As a new female lawyer or soon to be lawyer, there are many things to learn as you develop who you are and what you will do in your career. One key facet to master is learning how to promote yourself at work and build a book of business. As a lawyer you will need to learn how to market yourself and communicate your expertise to clients early in your career. If you can do that effectively, you will be an asset to any firm.
If you can do good work and keep bringing in clients, doors will open for you. Once you start practicing law, it is important to get exposure by finding ways to publish your work, speak on panels and volunteer for key organizations that share your values and can also further your career. Find ways to devote a certain amount of time to activities that you enjoy and will further your personal brand and career goals. Do not let yourself just get buried in your work.
Relationships are a key component to developing your career. The legal world is often very small and you will see the same people often. Make an effort to get to know other lawyers, clients and key players in the industry. If you are still in law school, get to know as many of your peers as possible. Often you will find yourself working with them in the future or that relationship will open a key door.
Five Tips that have served me well:
1) Find a good mentor or sponsor.
Learning from the wisdom and experience of others can be invaluable when dealing with challenges or major career decisions. Since the legal profession is largely male dominated, a sponsor can be critical. You need a sponsor who is willing to devote the time to get to know you, assess you and give you feedback on whether you are doing good work, deserve a raise, or deserve to move to the next level to become partner. It is very useful to have a sponsor who will promote you when you are not in the room.
2) Constantly develop your skills.
From the beginning of your career, it is important to be really good at what you do. Be the best young lawyer wherever you are. Improve your writing skills, your argument skills if you are a litigator, your business skills if you are in-house. Scout out some people in the company who are intelligent and ingenious and say, "Hey, can you give me some more motions to work on so I can be a better writer."
3) Think of partners as clients.
If you are in a large law firm, you want to find a partner who is connected to power and a book of business, and who will place you on cases and give you leadership roles. When you get a good case opportunity, it is key that you deliver excellent work. Thinking of the partner as your client will drive you to be more polished and do better work.
4) Develop your brand and promote yourself.
One of the rules for success in male-dominated organizations is self-promotion. It is easy to get buried in work and lose sight of the big picture. It is important to step back and have a plan or story in your mind that guides your career. Ask yourself, how would I choose people to describe me if I was not in the room? Do you want to be known as an expert or skilled in a certain area of law or with certain types of clients? However you want to define yourself, make sure that you have it, and you are consistent, and you are steadily working to develop and improve your brand.
5) Discover and do what you love.
If at all possible, try to find those areas of law or types of clients with whom you love working and pursue them. If you can blend work with something for which you have a passion, you will do extraordinary things and find your place in the world.
About the Author
Tsion Chudnovsky is the founder of Chudnovsky Law, a California based law firm practicing in the areas of immigration, criminal defense and injury law. Her firm offers a rare team of experienced immigration and dui lawyers with criminal attorneys that specialize in serving international clients from offices in Los Angeles, Santa Monica & Orange County.
Tsion immigrated to the US and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. She is fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and Amharic and her passions include art and culture, children and women's issues, economic empowerment and human rights. You can connect with Tsion on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.