All posts by Meredith Haydon

4 Tips for becoming a successful networker

YourCareer-networkNetworking. Many believe it’s essential to building a successful career in any profession. And in law, that sentiment is especially true.

But despite networking’s inarguable value, lawyers often find it to be a challenge—even a downright chore. While effective networking takes time, effort and research, the potential rewards—discovering a mentor, stumbling upon a highly sought after position or simply learning something new and relevant—are invaluable. The reality is, like it or not, getting out there and networking is critical to your success. More 

How to ask for—and get—the raise you want

YourCareer-Jan15-smallIt’s safe to say, the economy is experiencing a real boost. According to Department of Labor statistics, in each month of last year, employers added an average of 246,000 jobs—making 2014 the strongest year for employment since 1999.

As we head into 2015, we do it with the momentum of a growing economy and jobs market at our backs.  It’s the right time to look at your paycheck and ask yourself, “Should I ask for a raise?”

Of course everyone wants a raise and feels deserving of it, but the question really begs a political assessment of your specific question. Don’t jump to requesting a raise if you have reason to believe your position may be insecure, or if your company happens to be struggling.  More 

“Should I stay or should I go?” is much more than a yes or no question

YourCareerDec14Whether you’re looking for a new position or a recruiter unexpectedly reaches out to you with an opportunity, the idea of a new job is consistently both exciting and terrifying.

Taking a new job often comes with huge risks: It means leaving your comfort zone and engaging in the unexpected; it means forming new relationships with new co-workers in a new office; it means working in an unknown corporate culture that may or may not be a good fit. But not seeking out or accepting a new position—particularly for those who have spent several years in the same role—also raises some important questions: Are there better opportunities out there that I may be missing out on? Does my current employer value the work I’m currently doing? Can I do more meaningful work here or somewhere else? Am I being compensated appropriately? More 

Pro bono at work: LCBH offers lawyers an opportunity to give back

YourCareerimageLast month, I discussed why it’s important, when possible, for lawyers to volunteer for pro bono work. In summary, pro bono helps your career in three ways:  it enhances your skill sets, offers opportunities to build relationships within the legal community and beyond, and allows you to demonstrate leadership skills.

Understanding the role pro bono plays in your career is the first step. Finding the right pro bono opportunities for you is the next. No doubt, you will be guided by your individual beliefs and likely target organizations that are doing work you strongly support.   More 

The art of giving: 3 Reasons pro bono work is excellent for your career

YourCareerimageJust because you’re a busy lawyer in a bustling legal department doesn’t mean pro bono work isn’t an option for you.  Pro bono isn’t just for the law firm lawyers.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Over the years, I’ve talked to countless in-house counsel who set aside time to take on pro bono projects—and, not coincidentally, these lawyers tend to be the most satisfied (and successful) in their careers.

Sure, pro bono work feels good. Helping people who are unable to afford legal services they may desperately need—such as writing a will, fighting an eviction or foreclosure proceeding, or handling complicated immigration paperwork, to name a few—is something most lawyers enter law school assuming they would do. But when “life happens,” it’s easy to put pro bono work on the back burner. More 

Reality check: Almost all employers Google candidates

YourCareer imageUntil recently, it was our practice at Evers Legal to stick with traditional background and reference checks. We did not Google our candidates before presenting them to clients. We felt, honestly, that we’d rather not know how they spend their limited amount of personal time. It’s none of our business.

Then, as you may suspect of the direction this story is leading, we ended up with a bit of egg on our faces. Without getting into the details, suffice it to say, one of our clients discovered some online information about a candidate we had presented for consideration—and it wasn’t pretty. More 

4 Best practices for giving feedback

feedback 2What are the goals of your feedback system and are you meeting them? According to Douglas Stone, co-author with Sheila Heen of “Thanks for the Feedback,” this is the first question companies should be asking themselves when it’s time to sit down for those annual reviews.

Feedback consists of two equally important elements—giving and receiving. Last month, I discussed some of the best practices with receiving feedback. This column will address giving it.

Stone contends that the success of delivering effective feedback, favorable or otherwise, has more to do with the receiver than the giver.  As the example cited in last month’s column illustrated: The same feedback given simultaneously to two different people may result in widely divergent conclusions. More 

Same feedback, different response: receiving feedback “well” is a learned skill

feedback 2In the business context, giving and receiving feedback is all around us. We’ve participated in feedback sessions, either formal or informal, day-in and day-out since the first day we launched our careers. But being well-versed in the idea of feedback as a form of communication doesn’t mean we all give it or receive it in the same way—or that we’re particularly good at it.

In the legal profession, a better understanding of giving and receiving feedback is critical to your own success, that of your colleagues, your departments, and the professional growth of people you train and manage.

Enter Douglas Stone. He and his co-author, Sheila Heen, recently published “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well,” which explores highly useful insights to givers and receivers of feedback—that is, everyone. More 

6 Steps potential job-changers must take before making the leap

ChoicesThe grass is always greener. Sometimes.

We’ve all been faced with the exciting-yet-intimidating opportunity of a new job. But making that move can feel like trading a known evil for an unknown one. It’s always difficult to leave a comfortable position, even when that position is unfulfilling. So job candidates—particularly attorneys—will to do their homework. As they should.

But you can’t nail everything down. Understand there is always an element of risk to making a job change.

The following tips will help alleviate nerves and maximize the likelihood of making the right decision. More 

Essential tip for career advancement: seek critics

March image (MH)Even the most self-aware and self-motivated professionals get lulled into set behaviors and hit ceilings. Often, “self-improvement” really starts when someone criticizes or challenges us.

The word criticism has gotten a bad rap. There is a generational shift away from negative feedback of any kind and toward total cheerleading. When did we all get so soft? Receiving input that can help us improve is a gift that we should embrace. More