This is the third of a three-part series of articles with tips on How Women Lawyers Can Chart a Different Course by Kimberly Alford Rice.
Read Part 1 here: How Women Lawyers Can Chart a Different Course (Part 1)
Read Part 2 here: How Women Lawyers Can Chart a Different Course (Part 2)
In our final installment of the 3-part series of how women lawyers can chart their own course, below are the final tips for supporting your professional journey.
- Build your confidence. Published studies document how much confidence women, even educated, highly-accomplished women, struggle with the “imposter syndrome” and a general lack of confidence. If this is a problem area, address it head on. Grab a pal and join a Toastmasters or Improv group which may guide you to taking small risks in front of others as a way to build confidence. Again, there is no problem to which there is not a solution. Make a commitment, and so it shall be.
- Ask for what you want. Women lawyers often grapple with asking for what they want professionally. Guaranteed- if you do not ask, you will not receive. What holds you back may be a greater question to pose. What are you afraid of? Does the “perfection syndrome” wearily loom over you? Take a courageous step to answer these questions to move you in the right direction. Check out Women Don’t Ask, an inspiring book by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever for additional resources.
- Challenge the status quo. How many times have you been shut down with “this is the way we’ve always done it”; “no one’s ever done it that way before”? Everything is negotiable. Start from that point and confidently state your case. Whether it is a prospective client company you attempt to originate or considering the terms of a new employer, remember, everything is negotiable.
- Become your own advocate. All too often, women lawyers tenaciously advocate for their clients, their children and family, but not so much for themselves. The next time you need to speak up for yourself and are reluctant to do so, envision yourself as the client of you. Go ahead, just consider it.
- Break out of your box. Building a prosperous book of business requires commitment, tenacity, and stepping back to frequently think outside of the box of how to leverage your growing network, your area of expertise and all resources available to you. Carve out some time for yourself with no distractions or interruptions, on a regular basis to just “be”.
This exercise is one of the most powerful when we allow ourselves to be creative, to envision what we truly want from our careers. Some find meditation a productive way to accomplish this state of being. Whatever works, do it. From these creative thoughts will materialize a marketing plan….not an anthology but rather a few concrete steps you can take on a regular basis to cultivate strong business relationships and build a strong reputation in your area(s) of expertise.
As women, we have always had to fight harder, be more resilient, and press more than some of our counterparts. While the professional landscape is creeping forward slowly, let us forge on to meet our professional goals.
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.