What’s a “Professional Identity” and Why Should I Care?

Lawyering success relies on core competencies that match employer and client needs. Building those competencies requires a well-informed plan and independent learning skills.

Law students and attorneys often mistake the skills needed for professional success. Instead, they assume that good grades, bar passage, and long work hours will lead to lawyering success. That’s incorrect. Merely accumulating doctrinal knowledge doesn’t make them trusted advisors, zealous advocates, or effective business developers.

Success requires multidimensional skills. Together, they make up your professional identity. Think of it as your “bucket” of talent. You must fill your bucket with core competencies. Some of that is filled before law school. More is filled during school. But too many students graduate without adequately filling their bucket, and too many attorneys toil away without strategically directing their efforts.

More than ever, employers are frustrated with attorneys who are not practice-ready. They expect core competencies in legal writing, project management, self-directed learning, client service, teamwork, business development, and subject matter expertise – in that order! Knowing this can help you make smart choices about filling your bucket.

What are you doing to develop your professional identity?

At Lawrite, we help students and professionals identify career goals and assess existing skills. We then explore the skills most valued by employers. After that, we teach strategies to build those skills in school, at work, and in the legal community. Contact us to learn more.