As lawyers continue to face uncertainties due to a sharp decline in demand as a result of the global financial crisis, Joseph Germano looks at what lawyers can do to try and steer clear of redundancy
The best advice we can offer lawyers is to keep working hard and be as productive as possible.
It is important to be someone who is well regarded in your organisation, to have a good attitude, maintain high productivity and assist others wherever possible. Take on as much work as is feasible and through it all stay focused and positive.
Going to work and giving the job your all is at least half the battle - if not more. Lawyers who demonstrate their reliability and consistently produce top quality work will be the ones employers seek to retain.
If you are feeling vulnerable, take on the following four tips to make yourself valuable, and hopefully indispensable to your employer:
Professionalism - Where possible, employers will do their best to retain skilled and gifted lawyers. If forced to make redundancies, employers will consider quality performance to help determine who stays employed. Always ensure your work is of a superior standard.
Productivity - Employers highly value "old fashioned" hard work. In a law firm, it's advisable to always seek out any billable work. In the absence of billable work, research and analyse new legislation or case law, or learn all you can about a developing or emerging area of law so that people will turn to you for guidance. Pro bono work is also an admirable way to consolidate legal skills whilst at the same time, giving back to the community - something law firms encourage. Try to win new clients for the firm. Even a small amount of business a lawyer can bring in could make a sizeable difference when a firm is deciding who to keep and who to let go.
Politeness - Be personable and treat everyone with respect. Showing that you know how to treat others with kindness will be a major advantage in your career. This is always a good idea as you never know what role someone may play in your future.
Positivity - We are living in unprecedented, challenging times. However, running around in a flap will not help you or those around you. Remain realistic, but positive. Stay away from those peddling misery and do not do so yourself.
Joseph Germano is the executive director, recruitment of Integrity Legal