Feb. 5, 2014 – What are the intangibles that differentiate lawyers who thrive from those who wither? In this video, talent management, work/life balance, and retention and promotion of lawyers expert, Deborah Epstein Henry discusses where attorneys should focus their attention to develop the necessary skills to achieve the success and status they desire.
“In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s no longer enough to just be a talented lawyer,” said Henry. “It’s the extras that differentiate lawyers who thrive from those who wither.”
Sponsorship – The Key to Success
Research shows that a sponsor is required to effectively move your career to the next level. Mentors show you the way, but they won’t necessarily help you to the next level of success in business development, compensation, and hierarchy in an organization.
“A sponsor is a powerbroker in your place of employment or in your community,” said Henry. “The key with sponsorship is that it must be reciprocal, and it must be earned.”
Henry recommends identifying one or more people who are influential in a practice area that you care about; then develop a relationship with them and show how you can be valuable to them. Perhaps you can do work that they don’t want to do or show them something that you are good at that they may not be good at, such as social media. Once you demonstrate the quality of your work, they will want to back you because you are helping them and because you have earned it.
Leadership and Women
Henry urges women to push themselves to get involved and take risks to propel their career.
“Leadership is an area that is awkward for a lot of women who think it is self-aggrandizing to raise their hand for leadership opportunities,” she said. “I think it’s helpful for women to understand that leadership is really an effective way to provide service and to give back. With a leadership platform, a woman can be that much more helpful to bring junior women up through the ranks or help other people."
It is important to be creative. Henry suggests sharing leadership roles. “You get the experience and visibility of being a leader, and you earn that skillset, but you share the time burden.”
Henry presented Blueprinting for Success – Developing Plans for Success in Mentoring Promotion, Flexibility, Networking & Leadership at the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference in Wisconsin Dells last November.
Henry is the author of Law & Reorder: Legal Industry Solutions of Restructure, Retention Promotion & Work/Life Balance, a bestselling ABA Flagship Publishing book for 2011. A former practicing litigator, Henry is president of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, an international consulting firm she founded in the late 1990s. A former litigator in Philadelphia and New York, Henry earned her J.D. cum laude from Brooklyn Law School.