Are you Going All In on your Legal Career?

Are you going all in on your legal career, or are you not invested? Here’s the truth – most lawyers don’t want to be in their jobs. That’s depressing and stupid.  If you’re going to be a real lawyer with real passion – then you’ve got to stop playing, and go ALL IN.

Are you All In on your Legal Career?

Because in the 24 hours you have in a day, in the series of days you have in a week, in the series of weeks you have in a month, there is huge opportunity for you to invest in your career, to spend time learning things, to spend effort investing in people, to exert emotional labor with your job

Watch the video! You’ll see that I’ve done a little bit of decorating 🙂

We ended the last episode with the idea of going “all in”.

And, in my view, the failure to commit is a big part of the reason why law firms were not seeing any return on social media.

Today I decided to take that theme and run with it a big. But I wanted to niche it down into your particular circumstances, to ask you this question: Are you all in on your legal career?

The Depressing Statistics about Lawyers

Here are the statistics (and I’m making these up but they strike a very soft bell in my head, so I think they’re pretty close).

Lawyers are around 3.4 times more likely to suffer depression than the normal public. And I call them “normal” deliberately to highlight that we really… aren’t.

Meanwhile, about 70% of senior lawyers actually don’t recommend people should become lawyers.

70%! Seven out of ten. That’s a terrible, terrible statistic.

Around 50% of lawyers are leaving the profession before or at the five year mark. So by five years after admission, 50% of lawyers have left.

And the question is why?

Your Clients Need to Know – Are you Just Playing Around with your Legal Career?

The question is what are you doing in the profession right now? Are you all in? Are you invested?

Are you actually wanting to be a lawyer or are you just going through the motions until you’ve paid back your government debts and then you’re going to get out and do something else?

If you’re not invested, let me ask you this: if I’m your client and you’re not invested in your career, why would you be invested in me?

How do I know that you have the skills and the necessary tools at your disposal to ensure that you are going to serve my interests properly?

If you’re not all in, how do I know you’re staying up to date? How do I know whether you have sharpened your communication skills?

How do I know that you are investing in your skills so that you can deliver things better to me, in my interests, and do the job properly?

There are a lot of lawyers who are not all in because they don’t really enjoy their jobs. And they’re not enjoying their jobs because they’ve chosen not to enjoy their jobs.

Now, if you work for difficult people, then I sympathize. If you work in a rough environment, then I sympathize.

But it’s your choice how you respond to that. It’s your choice whether you are going to be all in on your career.

The Coffee Shop Barista

So let me ask you this, when you go to a coffee shop, there’s difference, isn’t there, between:

  1. the barista who just takes your order and then hands you a coffee; to
  2. the barista who learns your name and next time remembers the coffee you have and makes it without asking and takes a risk and says hello to you, engages with you.

There’s a difference between those two people.

What about the ones who smile and make eye contact, versus the ones who don’t?

There is a difference between a barista who is all in on their job and who is investing, emotionally, in their job and the one who is simply making coffee.

You still end up with a coffee at the end, but there is a big difference. And there’s a difference in their lives as well because they are investing in what they do.

Are you investing in what you do? Are you all in on what you do or are you just going through the motions?

What Does “All In” Even Look like for a Lawyer?

Maybe it looks like this: are you working the minimum hours required?

Are you simply turning up at the last possible moment and leaving at the first possible moment?

Now in legal circles, that’s a tough gig to get by with, so congratulations if you’ve managed to do that – but is that a sign that you’re not really invested in your career?

What about how you interact with your colleagues? Are you interacting with your colleagues in a positive way, to effect positive change, to impact positively on their lives?

Or are you just walking in, putting your head down, doing your work and then getting out again?

What about how you are treating your legal career and your skills?

Are you investing in yourself?

Are you spending time outside work learning the skills that you need?

Are you practising doing things in a unique and positive and different way?

Lawyers who are All In Look for Constant Improvement

Are you thinking about ways in which things could be improved? Are you investing in your career or are you just hoping that if you turn up often enough and do the same thing often enough, then you’ll get there in the end? Because the reality is that practice does not make perfect. It does not.

You cannot simply do the wrong thing over and over again and hope that you will get better at it.

If you are doing the wrong thing, that’s what you are practicing. If you are practicing the wrong thing every day, then you are going to learn to do the wrong thing and that goes for attitudes, it goes for skills, it goes for interactions, it goes for colleagues, it goes with the law. If you learn the wrong thing and do the wrong thing over and over again, then you will have practiced the wrong thing and you will perfect the wrong thing.

And if you are all in on your career, then you don’t want to perfect the wrong thing. You want to look at ways of doing it better and you’ll want to look at ways of improving yourself.

Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years – You Have Time

You want to look at ways of incrementally – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and hourly – going back to the start, finding ways that you can improve on what you were before.

Because in the 24 hours you have in a day, in the series of days you have in a week, in the series of weeks you have in a month, there is huge opportunity for you to invest in your career, to spend time learning things, to spend effort investing in people, to exert emotional labor with your job.

That is what “all in” for a lawyer looks like and, once again, my question for you is: are you all in on your legal career?

How do you Differentiate?

And if you are, or if you tell me you are, what does that actually look like? What do you do that is different from the people who are not invested in their careers?

And if you tell me you work 20 hours a day but you can’t point to any signals that you’re actually doing anything beyond merely what you’re told to do, day to day, then you’re still not all in.

You’re working hard, you’re working long hours, but that is different to being all in. That is different to investing emotional labour.

If I go and I stamp stamps on something for 20 hours a day, I’m working very hard – but I’m not necessarily going to enjoy it, I’m not going to invest in it, and I’m not going to skill up in that.

How are you all in and what are you going to do with those tools to improve the place around you? What opportunities are you taking? How are you investing in yourself and those around you so that you’re making your law firm, yourself, other people, and the world a better place to be?

Because that’s ultimately what all in is about. It is about improvement.

Let me know in the comments, let me know via an email.

Happy Lawyering!