This is the second of a three-part series of articles with tips on How Women Lawyers Can Chart a Different Course by Kimberly Alford Rice. Read the first part here.
Despite disappointing reports we hear on gender equality, the pay gap and other concerning issues for women lawyers, I’ve outlined tips below for staying on track along your professional journey (read tips 1 through 4 here):
- Become a masterful time manager. Yep, as women, we often wear too many hats. To stay focused and invest the requisite time to create the professional experience you crave, you must assess and evaluate on an ongoing basis, “is this worth my time”. Often, we can outsource some of the tedious tasks such as personal errands and car pools.
There are plenty of virtual personal assistants who would take your errand and shopping lists right off your hands. There is literally a service for almost everything you can imagine: online grocery ordering; pick-up/drop off dry cleaning and shoe repair services; housekeepers who offer cooking/chef services; lawn services and landscapers, etc.
Do not cling to the “I can do it all” or “I really need to do that” mentality if you are committed to creating your dream professional life which likely includes building a prosperous client base. Tough decisions need to be made and you are the one to make them.
- Delegate like a “Big Girl”. Referring to the popular phrase “put on your Big Girl panties and just deal with it.” My version is “put on your Big Girl panties, and delegate it.”
Similar to item #5, there is no crown for those who feel they must control every aspect of their lives. Let’s get real for a moment. Something has to go if you are intent on charting a different course for your life. Take a hard look at where your time goes, and find sources to which to delegate.
Nearly every day in my work with women lawyers, I listen to how much discontentment there is, how stretched women feel in trying to “do it all” and are being held back (often from management) from actually carving their own niche. As I frequently say to my clients, “your career transcends your job”. Sometimes, in order to make a measurable change to our professional lives, radical steps may be required (vis-à-vis changing firms altogether). So be it. Before that, however, I suggest the following:
- Invest in yourself. To learn is to invest in yourself. As a lawyer, you will find a way to your special niche, often with a few missteps mixed in. Learning how to present a professional image will render you much more effective before your targeted audiences (internal clients; supervisors; key influencers; prospects, etc.). Projecting a professional, polished image is crucial to growing into your rainmaker status. Dress the part and soon, it will be yours.
Whatever you know you don’t know which may boost your success probability, get about seeking the resources/expertise to learn. There is no problem to which there is not a solution. Be committed and you will find what you need. I promise.
About the author:
Kimberly Alford Rice is President and Chief Strategist of KLA Marketing Associates (www.klamarketing.net), a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a legal marketing authority, Kimberly helps women lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Additionally, Kimberly provides career management services to lawyers in transition. She may be reached at 609.458.0415 or via email and Twitter.