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Considering lifestyle when choosing a legal career

Andrew Raad — who became a firm partner by 30 — discusses the importance of considering what one’s day-to-day will look like and how that should inform the legal pathway one chooses to pursue.

user iconJess Feyder 29 May 2023 Careers
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Recently on The Protégé Podcast, host Jerome Doraisamy spoke with Speirs Ryan partner Andrew Raad about why one needs to consider the lifestyle one wants when deciding on their legal pathway.

“Different people want different things out of their work,” he said.

“Some people are driven and motivated to achieve and reach for the stars, some are really happy for their job to be a means to an end — to get a good salary, to live a good life.”

 
 

“I’ve always been driven and motivated. I wanted to have a business of my own.

“It all depends [on] what you’re into,” he said.

The pervasive mindset that many experience through law school can be limiting to one’s career path, maintained Mr Raad.

“Across the spectrum, there is one path highlighted — the clerkship path.

“It will get you to one outcome — into a big firm, if that’s where you want to be,” he noted.

“You’ve got to consider what path you want to lead — these questions you need to ask yourself.

“You need to ask yourself questions of where you want to end up, and that will dictate which path you want to take.

“Every goal has a different path to get to that goal,” he said.

“If you fail a plan, you plan to fail.

“The same questions you were asking yourself throughout school to get you to decide what degree you wanted to do, are the same questions you have to ask yourself of your career,” Mr Raad stated.

“Because this is what you’re committing to in terms of your lifestyle, and in terms of your financial situation for the future — it’s critical to plan,” he said.

“For someone that wants to start their own business, be a sole practitioner, be a specialist, it wouldn’t really make sense to go into a clerkship that has rotations.

“Moral of the story is the clerkship route is but one path, so you should be asking yourself where you want to end up, and thinking about how to get there,” Mr Raad stated.

Mr Raad discussed how one should prioritise wellness when considering their vocational direction.

“It is important because your career and your working life take up such a big proportion of your life, especially in your formative years as an adult.

“It’s so important to consider what your life looks like, and how that fits in with your job,” he said.

It also comes down to risk, he went on.

“Because if you inherit more risk, it creates more stress, and what’s your ability to deal with that stress?

“It’s really critical that when you’re deciding which career path to go down, you measure whether it is realistic in terms of your own sense of risk, your own sense of security,” he said.

“It’s a massive gamble to go out there on your own, and it is stressful, and it’s hard, and it’s a lot less secure than necessarily working for a big firm.”

Mr Raad noted another important consideration, whether one wants to manage people.

“Managing people in itself is its own job, and that’s one of the considerations you’ve got to think about when you are planning your career, is whether you have the interest in that,” he said.

“It’s important that every two or three years, you’re re-assessing where you are.

“This is not the final destination. You continue to grow. You continue to want different things,” he said.

“The rise of AI is going to render some legal roles possibly redundant in the next decade, or even less, so you need to be adaptive in this type of role,” he added.

“That’s the thing I think that uni [sic] doesn’t really teach you. It doesn’t teach you to ask these questions,” Mr Raad noted. “It doesn’t help give you guidance.”

“Though I’m sure the career centres at unis are helpful in this respect,” he acknowledged.

“The most important thing is to pave your own way,” he said. “It’s really important to do what works for you because everyone’s different.”

“Everyone has different lifestyles that they want to lead. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to what you should do.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Andrew Raad, click below: