Building Your Career Advisory Board: Tactics for Taking Control of Your Career

Published on Apr 10, 2024

Building Your Career Advisory Board: Tactics for Taking Control of Your Career

In a 2023 WLG | beyond borders career development session, participants were encouraged to think holistically about their careers and explore ways to foster their professional growth. The session, facilitated by Lauren Heron, Organisational Development Manager at MinterEllison in Brisbane, Australia, emphasized the importance of letting go of conventional career paths and taking ownership of your career trajectory.

Heron shared that early-career lawyers often find themselves trapped in a box-ticking mentality, following a predetermined path without considering their aspirations. Participants receive tips and insights to help them navigate their careers intentionally and purposefully. She introduced Stephen Covey's model of the "circle of concern" and "circle of influence" for addressing common concerns about career progression.

According to this model, the outer circle represents concerns beyond an individual's control, such as partnership availability or economic climate. The inner circle of influence encompasses what individuals can control—their actions, words, and choices. By focusing on the circle of influence, participants were encouraged to take ownership of their careers and concentrate their time and energy on what they could control.

The session covered four essential topics for taking control of your career.

1. Building a Career Advisory Board: Your Team of Experts

According to Heron, building a career advisory board is a wise step for young lawyers navigating their early years. This personal team of experts acts as a source of guidance, support, and diverse perspectives. Each member brings unique strengths and experiences, assisting young lawyers in overcoming challenges, making informed decisions, and fostering professional growth. By actively engaging with their advisory board, young lawyers can leverage the expertise of each member and benefit from their collective wisdom. Heron emphasized the significance of diversity in terms of professional backgrounds and personal connections, suggesting that individuals consider including people from different life stages and even personal relationships.

2. Making the Most of Career Advisory Board Interactions: Proactive Engagement

Heron emphasizes the importance of being intentional in interactions with the career advisory board. Young lawyers should communicate their goals, aspirations, and areas where they seek assistance. Young lawyers can make the most of these relationships by actively seeking feedback, advice, and guidance. Engaging in thoughtful discussions, asking relevant questions, and leveraging the expertise of board members helps young lawyers gain valuable insights and foster personal and professional development.

3. Personal Branding: Defining Your Professional Identity

Personal branding plays a vital role in career development. Heron highlights its significance and offers tips for young lawyers to enhance their personal brands. Personal branding is about defining oneself professionally and leaving a lasting impression. Young lawyers should reflect on their passions, strengths, and the impact they want to create to enhance their brand. A concise personal brand statement aligning with their aspirations helps create a consistent narrative. Regularly updating professional platforms like LinkedIn to align with their brand reinforces their identity and enhances their professional presence.

4. Effective Goal Setting for Professional Growth

Clear career goals provide focus and direction in the legal profession. Heron stresses the importance of setting short-term and long-term goals that align with individual aspirations. Collaborating with mentors and advisory board members helps refine these goals, making them realistic, measurable, and achievable. Regularly reviewing and adjusting goals allows young lawyers to adapt and pivot as their careers progress, ensuring continued growth and success.

With newfound insights and tools, Heron urged participants to take control of their careers and make deliberate choices. By embracing the idea of a career Advisory Board and focusing on their circle of influence, Heron empowers participants to shape their professional journeys. The session served as a reminder that true career growth and personal fulfillment come not from ticking boxes but from intentional actions, personal reflection, and collaboration with trusted advisors.

World Law Group (WLG), ranked an Elite Global Network by Chambers and Partners, is one of the oldest and largest international networks of independent full-service law firms, serving the legal needs of multinational companies.

Author: Ashley LeCroy, Manager of Member Development, World Law Group