Five Reasons Why Your Legal Career Is Stalling

After so many years of study and hard work, it can be a surprise for many lawyers when their career starts to stall. But, it is not uncommon. While your legal qualifications prove you can handle the complexities of dealing with a court case, they don’t give you an automatic route to success.

It’s why many lawyers find themselves in a static position; their careers feel like they aren’t going anywhere, and they often start to lose enthusiasm for their work. If this sounds familiar, read on. I’ve pulled together a few of the common reasons why your legal career is stalling – and some suggestions to get back on track.

You are isolated… Like any other career, progress in your field is a lot about who you know, rather than what you know. And if you are isolated – whether due to heavy workloads or just lack of time – it will start to bite at some point. Start being communicative with your boss, or if you run a solo practice, get out and network more. You have to demonstrate to others that you are interested and involved – and people will start to notice.

Keep learning… Your education is never complete as a lawyer, and if you stop taking training in CLE, or stop reading the latest legal business books, you will soon find yourself out of the loop. Staying on top of new trends will mean you are more valuable to employers and clients alike, and you will find it gives your career a kick in the right direction.

You have lost sight of your strategy… Many lawyers have fantastic plans when they qualify, but it doesn’t take long for the pressures of real-world work to start getting in the way. After a few years, you might find that you have lost sight of your career strategy and that you don’t see any way of improving your current situation. Get things back on track by speaking to an executive coach for lawyers, who will help you focus on developing new goals and building your career.  

You don’t know how to lead… At some point, you will need to embrace leadership skills if you want your career to progress. There is only so far you can go without taking on managerial duties, either in the form of becoming a partner or just heading up a team. Don’t restrict it to your firm, either – look at becoming active in your local law association or speaking at legal industry events. You will find your profile starts to grow, and it can be an excellent refresher for your career.

You have stopped communicating with your boss… If you are working for a firm, when was the last time you had a heart to heart with your employer? If you are good enough, they will want to keep you on board and should do everything they can to improve your current mood. Not only will it show you are keen to progress, but it will also give you the opportunity to show you are ready to improve and grow for the firm’s benefit.


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