Legal Career Audits: When Was the Last Time You Did One?

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” as the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once said. And the unexamined career can have similarly negative effects.

If you haven’t assessed your legal career recently, now is an excellent time to do so. Auditing your career progress and performance can help you prepare for an upcoming performance review, plan your coming year for maximum performance and interest, and change your trajectory if you are uncomfortable with the current course.

Here’s a quick start guide to your legal career audit:

Review the previous year.

Start by looking at your major accomplishments over the past year. Include two types of “accomplishments” on the list:

  • Achievements for which you received some sort of public recognition, whether it was an award, a news write-up or simply a conference presentation.
  • Achievements that made you feel highly accomplished, productive or successful.

Some of these achievements may overlap, but others may not. For instance, you may feel prouder of your work on a tough case your law firm eventually won than you do of an award or profile in a legal journal.

Set goals for the year ahead.

As you create your list of accomplishments, other items may come to mind: things you haven’t accomplished yet, projects you wish had gone differently or items you want to work on but haven’t yet had the chance.

Make a separate list of these, and consider its possibilities. Which of these items can you set as goals for the coming year? Create a goals list.

Reconcile the lists and use them in your performance review.

The act of creating these two lists requires you to think about your current career position. It also helps you put into perspective options in your current role, as well as your level of satisfaction with your current career path. By comparing the two lists, you may begin to see places in which you’re missing opportunities you’d like to seize, or where your current job does not support your ideal role.

Bring both lists to your performance review, and prepare to talk about any issues you’ve spotted. Use your performance review as a chance to collaborate with your supervisor on ways to reach your goals.

  1. Seek additional perspectives.

In addition to discussing key points of your career audit during your performance review, don’t hesitate to talk to a recruiter about your findings. Your recruiter can help you spot opportunities to take your career in the direction you want to go.

At Kent Legal, our recruiters help legal support professionals build their careers in the greater Toronto area. Contact us today to learn more.

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