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Planning Your Career Timeline

When it comes to managing and planning, many people shy away, and tend to go for a fluid path rather than something strict and set. There are a number of attorneys who did not and have not completely planned out how they want their legal careers to pan out over the years. A career is an investment, and should be treated and incorporated into your overall life plans as such. It only makes sense to manage this asset properly as you would any other monetary investment.

What do you want out of your life?

Since a career is a significant part of your life, it is important to find out how to incorporate it into your personal life in a healthy, stable manner. There are many questions you should ask yourself when planning:

  • Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15, 20 years?
  • Do I want to move domestically or internationally?
  • What goals outside of law do I want to achieve?
  • What do I want my legal career to mean?
  • How much money do I need to earn?

These are a few questions to consider when planning your legal career path. When we’re recruiting for legal positions, we make sure that our candidates have these questions answered. Since a legal career spans over many decades, figuring out long term life goals into your career plans are extremely important.

The second and fifth year are the charm years.

Planning on moving law firms is a significant part of planning your legal career. For associates looking to move firms, the time between the second and fifth year seems to be a sweet spot for many. By an associate’s second year, the needed skills and experience as an attorney have been gained. The second year has a nice balance of experience gained and lack of commitment that it is easy for you to move law firms. By this time, your networking circle is much larger and more opportunities are likely to open up. However, the fifth year is a bit trickier to get out of easily. By the fifth year, a law firm has invested much time in you, and may be considering moving you toward a partner role. Because of this, becoming partner at another law firm can be hindered due to being new in the firm.

You need more experience for in-house jobs. If you are planning on moving in-house, the fifth year is a great time for you. The general rule for many in-house jobs is to have at least five years of experience under your belt. There are some exceptions to this rule, but this is a general time frame for many in-house jobs. Before planning on moving in-house, check to see if the firm you are planning on moving to requires prior in-house experience; waiting to find out this information can put a damper on your future career plans.

It’s never too late

Whether you are starting out your legal career or you are an experienced attorney, it is never too late to come up with a set plan. Considering making a move mid-career is not a make or break decision. There are a number of attorneys who make career changes at various points in their lives, and succeed. The effort you invest in your career, and carefully managing the outcomes, will pay off in the end.

For more career advice & planning your future, contact us at The RMN Agency.

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