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Ideal Legal Career Essay

2140 words - 9 pages

"Who Are You

"Discovering Your Ideal Practice"

Karen Summerville

Legal Career Management

206.224-7608

kjsummer@comcast.net

www.legalcareermanagement.com

The Puget Sound Business Journal featured Ms. Summerville: "She now has a reputation in Seattle as the career counselor for counselors. And the years she spent practicing law now help her empathize with the attorneys who seek her advice." She is also featured in the September 2005 issue of Seattle Woman magazine.

Karen Summerville has extensive experience in the Seattle legal community, including over ten years providing career counseling and outplacement to attorneys. She was a partner in the law firm Betts, Patterson & Mines, where she specialized in commercial litigation and was active in associate hiring and training. She was an associate with Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, where she was also a member of the hiring committee. Prior to forming Legal Career Management, she was Vice President, Client Relations with Lee Hecht Harrison, one of the largest outplacement and career consulting firms in the United States.

Karen is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, where she was Managing Editor of the Washington Law Review. Ms. Summerville also served as the Interim Director, Career Services in 1995.

She presents frequent workshops on career management for lawyers and law students. Her column, "Managing Your Legal Career," is featured in the King County Bar Bulletin.

� Legal Career Management 2001-2005

"Discovering Your Ideal Practice"

Karen Summerville

Legal Career Management

Introduction

One of the major challenges facing newer attorneys is balancing your need for career satisfaction with the demands of your employer and its clients. If you consistently put your clients' needs ahead of your own and do not give careful consideration to your own career development, you may find yourself experiencing early burnout. But if you put your own, personal needs above everything else, you may find yourself unemployed and the subject of a bar complaint. Unless you make conscious, well-informed decisions, you will find that your career is defined for you -- not by you.

Making well-informed decisions about your ideal practice requires that you know who you are and what you want. The best place to start getting to know yourself is through self-assessment.

What are your skills, talents, motivations and values?

A thoughtful self-assessment will reveal not only your skills and talents, but also your motivations and values. Because lawyers are well educated and highly capable, they often find that they have become adept at tasks they do not particularly enjoy. They may also find that over time they have developed expertise in specialty areas from which they derive little satisfaction. Ideally, your...

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