Steve Young is a retired football quarterback that will likely be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He started his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985. He was later traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1987. He retired from football in 1999. In 1994, Young graduated from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School with a Juris Doctor degree.
Given Young’s success and passion for football, and his law degree, it is most likely that he is one legal professional that will be definitely be entertained by the upcoming NFL draft. But what about the rest of you? The truth is that the draft raises three important elements that are “must considerations” for any legal professional’s job search/legal career.
Prior to, and during, the NF draft, big league teams make decisions based on their overall team goals. For example, they select a player depending on whether the team is:
- Trying to make a run at the playoffs, or
- Chancing it to make it all the way to the Superbowl.
Similarly, all legal professionals must take time to assess their own long-term goals. They should look at the big picture and consider how possible moves might make this picture look better. For example, consideration should be given to such things as:
- is a new job beneficial because it affords a better work-life balance;
- is part-time work best right now so that focus can be put in other areas; and
- is a new specialty of the law needed to re-energize a career.
The main thrust here is that legal professionals should never stop comparing their career goals with their intended career path. If the two disagree, it might be time for a change.
Look at Needs
All NFL teams have a limited number of picks when going into the draft. This means they cannot afford to randomly pick “top” players. Rather, coaches and owners have to look internally and determine what type of players are actually needed within their squads (e.g., a quarterback, a pass rusher, a safety). Note that “need” is different than “want.”
In a similar vein, all legal professionals, especially when conducting a new job search, must look internally and ask what they need in a new opportunity. In contrast to long-term goals, an analysis of needs focuses on immediate concerns. For example, does a legal professional right this moment need:
- just a job, any job;
- a change in employers;
- volunteer work to change things up; or,
- temporary work to free time up to look for that next best work opportunity.
Every team in the NFL draft wants certain players, or they want certain needs fulfilled. Note, though, that there are 32 teams in the league and selection picks vary among them. This all means that every team must be patient during selection day. If they’re not, rash decisions get made or poor trade agreements get finalized.
Every legal professional must know that their path to true work happiness will take time. Utopia is rarely found instantly. As a result, patience is an amazing virtue. All legal professionals should try to exercise it to help calm anxieties and fuel better pursuits.
Granted, you might not be a football fan. Some may even despise the sport. But, please let the NFL draft remind you of some very important things about your legal career. The items outlined above should be considered by every legal professional – from lawyers to paralegals to administrators to legal support personnel. Don’t let your legal career or job search grow stagnant. Make it come to life. If you have questions or doubts along the way, simply contact us and let us help!