Law clerks are frequently tasked with strategic planning, or laying out the goals and methods by which projects will be completed – and then ensuring that everyone involved completes their assigned steps on time.
Strategic planning isn’t an easy task, but law clerks who can do it well expand their career opportunities. Here’s how to improve your strategic planning skills in your legal support career:
1. Think in Terms of Goals
When planning a meeting or project, start with the question “What is the goal?” Don’t begin planning until you have a clear answer to this question in mind.
When goals are clearly defined, content and processes will be relevant, clearly communicated and understood more effectively by participants. Think of strategic planning as the art of making a defined goal into reality.
2. Don’t Confuse Goals With Strategy
The goal is the overall result your plan needs to achieve, but it isn’t the method by which you’ll achieve that result. That method is your strategy. The goal is the “what,” and the strategy is the “how.”
Clarify the difference early, so you can ensure that your “how” drives toward your “what” at each step.
3. Get The Right People On Board
Law clerks can often plan effectively, but they can’t carry out each step of the plan alone. Talk to other stakeholders at every step to ensure the goal is appropriate and that the strategic steps to reach it are aligned with that goal and with your firm’s mission, vision, and values.
4. Encourage Divergent Ideas
While working with others to create and implement a strategic plan, encourage people to put forth differing ideas, even if they diverge greatly from your team or firm’s normal approach to similar projects. Seek open and honest input from the team, and encourage the sharing of ideas even if they aren’t implemented.
5. Get Quantitative
Know how you’ll measure success before you begin. Whenever possible, place a quantitative measure of success to make it more concrete. For instance, “This brief will be completed, free of typos and ready to be submitted by 3 p.m. Friday” is more concrete than “We will write a brief.”
Grow Your Career With Kent Legal
At Kent Legal, our recruiters help law clerks and other legal support professionals connect to some of the best available job opportunities in the greater Toronto area. To find your next job or plan your career trajectory, contact us today.