All posts by Meredith Haydon

Is the Exciting World of Legal Operations Right for You?

Brad Blickstein head_hires

We’d like to thank Brad Blickstein, principal at the Blickstein Group, for serving as this issue’s Your Career guest columnist.

Are you looking for a new challenge? Are you process- and budget-oriented? Do you love finding new ways to get things done? Then maybe YOU are a candidate for the exciting and fast-growing field of Legal Operations! In 2008, when legendary law department operations professional David Cambria and I launched the first-ever Law Department Operations Survey, we weren’t exactly whistling into the wind. Just almost. We did have 33 responses and eight companies had enough vision to sponsor the survey—including Consilio (then Huron Legal), which has been our great partner ever since. But not too many really understood what we were talking about. While a few departments had seen the light and hired professional managers (note the 33 respondents), practicing lawyers still ran the law departments.

The professional role has evolved considerably. All the major legal magazines now cover legal operations on a regular basis. The Association of Corporate Counsel has a Legal Operations organization and the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium put on a conference with more than 900 attendees this year. And 124 companies responded to our survey in 2016. There are now thousands of legal operations professionals nationwide. It is not only a viable career path, but also perhaps the best career path for many. More 

The right approach: 5 steps for winning at the interview

Evers-Legal-Recruiter-Executive-Recruiter-YourCareer-June-17Landing an in-house job interview can be a great feeling—especially if the position is with a law department you find especially exciting or is the ideal next step in your career path. But nailing an interview is more than just showing up, answering some questions and waiting for the phone to ring. Approaching the interview strategically can be the difference between accepting an offer or continuing your search.

Savvy job-seekers follow these guidelines when heading out for an interview:

1. Treat it like it’s a competition, because it is.

When it comes to landing a coveted in-house spot, there’s no prize for second place. It’s helpful to approach the entire interviewing process as a competitive game you’re playing against other skilled candidates. Take it seriously, and put your best foot forward. More 

Conference countdown: 9 opportunities to network, learn and continue your legal education

Evers-Legal-In-House-Legal-Career-Advice-March-2017Conferences are an important part of any lawyer’s career path.  As we’ve written before, they not only provide you with opportunities to continue your legal education and get ideas from other (sometimes more seasoned) attorneys in the profession, but they also offer networking opportunities—which can have a huge impact on career advancement.

For this column, we pulled together some upcoming 2017 conferences that may peek your interest. Have a look and click the link to learn more about each of these worthwhile events.

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Law school reunions: don’t miss out on these great networking opportunities

Evers-Legal-Executive-Search-Your-Career-09-2016The law school reunion. Depending on the type of person you are, you either look forward to it or feel disinterested at the idea of going. Law school reunions can be fun or uncomfortable, a waste of time or invaluably productive. It’s all about your attitude and how well you prepare for what can be a great opportunity for improving your career.

The reality is, law school reunions can be goldmines for making new and important career-advancing connections. Many of those classmates you’ve lost touch with may be the perfect people with whom to network. A few may be in leadership roles looking to fill positions that are essentially your dream job. Or others may be working in your dream job and can offer valuable insights on how to make the right moves to get there. Or still, maybe you’re that ideal connection for someone else, and you can serve as an excellent gateway for another classmate who’s looking to make a job move. More 

5 Insights That Will Help Ensure Your Resume Ages Gracefully

Evers-Legal-In-House-Legal-Career-Advice-July-2016Writing a great resume can be challenging for any lawyer. It’s a competitive profession, and one that’s replete with intelligent, experienced, hard-working achievers. It’s important to stand out among an already elite group. But the task of developing a strong, competitive resume becomes especially complicated for lawyers who have resume gaps.

It’s fairly easy to explain away short periods of time without a job. In fact, in-house counsel who have been laid off from big companies for reasons outside of their control are often highly sought after among other legal departments looking for experienced in-house counsel. But long stretches of unemployment are problematic.  More 

Guest Columnist Susan Sneider Discusses the Importance of Networking

Sitting in for Meredith Haydon this issue, we welcome Susan Sneider as our guest columnist for Your Career.

Networking Expands Horizons, Opens Doors and Maximizes Career Satisfaction

When people ask me what networking is, I often start with identifying what networking is not.

Susan Sneider Importance of Networking Evers Legal SearchGlad-handing, pandering and pushiness are neither networking skills nor prerequisites to successful networking (and are, in fact, really incompatible with it). Working a room, while a great skill and potentially an initial networking step, is not networking either. Networking, it turns out, is actually something quite methodical and long term. It is equally accessible to extroverts and introverts alike and is best viewed as a marathon, not a sprint.

I define networking as the building and sustaining relationships over time to provide value to others. The heart of networking is helping others. The good news is that in the process of helping others, people are likely to experience their own personal and professional benefits in the future. More 

Survey Says: In-House Lawyers Crave More Control On the Job

YourCareerFeb16When reviewing replies to our Career Satisfaction Survey , a recurring theme jumped out at me. In-house lawyers would like to have more control over their career paths. We had 55 write-in answers to the Question: “Other than money, what would make your job more satisfying?” Those were on top of the five options offered. Mike commented on the top two answers (“expanded responsibilities” and “promotion”) in his recent InsideCounsel column.

But I was really fascinated by a deep dive into the write-in answers, as many of you took the time and opportunity to vent about specific challenges you are facing. Here are half of the fourteen comments that started with the word “more”:

  • “More control over work and output, the CEO is a control freak who needs to run everything.”
  • “More involvement with the business teams on strategic development and rationale.” More 

Conference season is here: It’s fun and good for your career

YourCareerFall is upon us, and we know what that means: football tailgating parties, pumpkin-flavored everything and conference season.

We’re into it already, as Mike writes in his blog about the recent Coalition of Women’s Initiative in Law event.

In-house counsel stay busy all year long, and sometimes struggle to find the time to attend conferences—be it industry focused or a legal conference with CLE. But carving out some time throughout the year, especially in the fall when conference season is fully underway, may be an opportunity for career advancement.

Attending legal conferences offers three obvious benefits, among others. These include: More 

References are powerful weapons in your job search arsenal

Most people think of references as a list of three people you hand over to a prospective employer after the company has decided it wants to hire you. But a proactive and strategic reference can help you long before you receive an offer, especially if you might need help getting in the door for an interview.

The power reference (PR) is someone who can make a difference. In rare cases, it will be a star, like a well-known general counsel or, for example, a U.S. Senator. Fame is not a prerequisite, however. The essential ingredient to a power reference is the relationship between the PR and the hiring decision-maker who receives the PR’s call. The relationship between you and the PR does not need to be nearly as strong or in-depth as you think. More 

Guest columnist Sheila Nielsen discusses applying creativity in your job search

nielsen052809Sitting in for Meredith Haydon this issue, we welcome Sheila Nielsen as our guest columnist for Your Career. This is an interesting take on the value of creativity in your networking efforts. Sheila is a believer in making your own luck, a theme that runs throughout her new book, now available at Amazon, titled: “Job Quest for Lawyers: The Essential Guide to Finding and Landing the Job You Want.”

Why Steve Jobs’ Ideas About Creativity Are Important for Your Job Search

“There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘wow’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”

– Walter Issacson quoting Steve Jobs in his biography, Steve Jobs.

Brainstorming is a creative and exciting process. People get together, think about a problem, and come up with ideas and solutions. When it comes to your job search, you want to brainstorm with a lot of people and you want those creative juices flowing. More