“Real” Legal Career Advice

Post-It note proho with the words 'real (legal) career advice' on it

What’s the “best” legal career advice you’ve ever received? Read insightful advice from colleagues about how they:

  • transitioned to in-house
  • secured a promotion
  • nailed a legal presentation
  • improved work-life balance
  • published an article

Here’s what we need from you:

  1. It has to have worked for you.
  2. It has to be a 200-word limit.
  3. You decide if you would like to have it in “printed with your name” (used on the PLSG website, newsletter or possible ebook) by adding the words: OK to Print, Name.

Please send your “post-its” to info@nullprincetonlegal.com.

Where’s the Balance? Earlier on in my career when my children were of elementary and middle school years and all hands on deck was required for school/life management, I felt overwhelmed walking in the door about 6:30 PM (knowing I had work to go back to after kids’ bedtime).

I felt like I could not get out from under the onslaught of multiple needs that all had a pressing deadline of NOW. Homework, school project purchases, forms signed and equipment cleaned and ready to go all for the following day.

A professional colleague gave me some of the best career advice; hire an extra set of hands from 4:30-7:30 pm (ish). I hired a college student (someone said to post it where the nursing students will see it). It changed my life. The laundry was done before I got home, forms for signatures were lined up for review and although HW may not have been completed. It was started or set up for completion.

This work-life balance advice freed me up to return to work in the evening with a fresh perspective, allowed me to sleep better and provided for a better state of mind particularly at the end of the week. I had more clarity of thought and energy.

What I learned from this experience was to buy as much help as I could afford during those years that were most logistically challenging. It was the best antidote for work stress.

— Anonymous

An asset (strength) in excess is a liability (weakness).
When answering the question, what are strengths (easy) and what are your weaknesses (not so easy), think about an asset that you have demonstrated (sometimes) in excess and present it. For example: Being A Perfectionist in excess is a weakness. It could also be labeled as annal, difficult to work with and or excessively critical. However, the upside to a perfectionist is someone who wants to succeed, wants to complete assignments accurately and on-time.

When asked about a weakness, the answer could be something like, I have been called a perfectionist and indeed it is true, I am proud of meeting legal deadlines and compliance requirements. I have learned to temper my need for perfectionism by creating timelines and communicating those timelines. You get the gist of the process being suggested.

It has allowed me to answer the question without feeling totally exposed and demonstrate how I have tempered the weakness. This question comes in many forms: tell me about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline, didn’t perform well on a team ect. Think about the question behind the question, what’s really being asked here?

— Anonymous