Having a well-paying job as a lawyer isn’t the surest guarantee to a happily ever after life. More than your six figure dream salary you’ll need the job to be just the right fit for you. Otherwise you will loathe your job for the rest of your career as a lawyer. This is the only way you can be a happy lawyer in a profession where at least a half of lawyers find their jobs miserable.
The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven or as near heaven as you can get. Without this, with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need – this life is hell. – William Du Bois
(1) Focus on your personal criteria
Don’t be overly concerned with what’s on offer in the real world, rather focus more on what is inside of you. Focus on your own personal criteria for what kind of job would satisfy you. Once you’ve got that right then you can research on what is available out there on the job market. The right kind of job for you should complement your interests.
(2) Know your values
At this point in time you should know your personal values and the things you stand for. A belief in what is important to you could be a respect for certain legal principles like the protection of businesses, the environment, the rights of others, and the family unit. The effect of knowing your values will be that you’ll know whether a taking a particular job would violate or further your values (this in turn can be a key determinant of job satisfaction). You should reconsider going into mergers and takeovers if your values have always been about protecting businesses since that would involve tearing businesses apart.
(3) Know your psychological needs.
Your psychological needs may range from the need to have a measure of autonomy over your job. If this is yours, then joining the bench might not seem that great an idea, since judges do everything by the book and have their hands tied. The fact they occupy sensitive positions within the legal system means they would live in seclusion to minimize the risk of bias which might arise where they mingle with the populace.
(4) Know your skill set.
Lawyers have different transferable skills that can often determine where they eventually end up in practice. These skills are not evenly distributed among lawyers. Lawyers are known for being very outspoken and if public speaking or oratory is your strong suit, then you could become a litigator or advocate. But if it is not, and you have a flair for writing, then you could become a legal writer or drafter.
(5) Know your career interests
Take the time to find out what substantive area of law you are attracted to. It could be tax, employment, real estate and more.
Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Law Student Hub. He is an LL.B. Law graduate from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He’s a life enthusiast, a budding writer and internet entrepreneur. Patrick is deeply passionate about law and research and has inspired many with his thought-provoking articles. To get in touch, follow him on social media.