Opportunities abound for law students today far beyond the limits of a big law career. Niche practices in smaller markets demand legal talent along with opportunities in government, public interest, law school faculty, and legal administration. Even businesses are listing“J.D. Preferred”positions.
Law schools must inform students of the changing realities of the marketplace and help them explore the best way to use their legal training in order to enjoy a more satisfying career.
A Step Toward Career Happiness
A good beginning to a new approach by law schools would be to offer all students the opportunity to complete an abilities assessment, like the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), to foretell success in a particular legal specialty and setting since each requires its own unique abilities. For example
- Some lawyers have a Short Time Frame Orientation. This means they excel at executing short-term projects and become frustrated by longer projects like protracted litigation.
- Many lawyers test as Specialists and are drawn to practice areas that allow them to do a deep dive into a subject matter (like employment litigation or immigration law), while Generalists are happiest when they can work on a wider variety of deals and cases.
Lawyers who ignore these collateral abilities risk dissatisfaction or unhappiness in their work, especially if they are assigned to work that does not tap into these abilities.
The HAB empowers law students to pursue a career that will provide fulfillment and satisfaction. Finding the courage to forge one’s own path and construct a personal definition of success in the face of external obligations and pressures isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright scary. But it is all possible.