If I Make the Olympic Team, How Will My Law Firm React? | BCGSearch.com

If I Make the Olympic Team, How Will My Law Firm React?


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Question: I am an attorney admitted in New York. I have been practicing at a respected, mid-size firm for two years since graduating from a second-tier law school in the top third of my class.

I am also an athlete who has steadily trained and competed in a specific sport (which I would rather not mention, simply to protect my identity) during college, law school and in the years following. Over the past year, I have excelled in my training, and now have the opportunity to try for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

I don't want my dream of representing the U.S. at the Olympics to interfere with or sabotage my law career, yet if I make the team, I will probably need to work part-time or put my law career on hold for a few years. I'll also need to find new employment once I have completed my quest.

Will following through with my Olympic dream make it impossible to continue with my legal career? How would a prospective employer view this scenario?
If I Make the Olympic Team, How Will My Law Firm React?

Answer: How exciting!

Once you are assured a spot on the team, then you should start trying to figure out how to balance both your career and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent our country in the Olympics. I would guess that people at your firm already know that you are an amateur athlete who does a lot of training and so, until you know that you are going to have to leave, there is no reason to announce that you will be putting your practice on hold. That is, of course, unless the time leading up to the qualifying rounds will require 100 percent of your attention. If that's the case, then you must announce your intentions sooner rather than later.

Now, let's think positively and fast forward to the near future when you have secured your spot on the team. What an amazing accomplishment! I would find it hard to believe that your law firm will not feel exactly the same way. In fact, I would suspect that you might have a very good shot at your firm supporting you in some way or another during the next couple of years as you train for the games. Imagine how proud your firm will be as the world sees someone from this law firm competing in the Olympic Games. Just think of the positive PR that would be generated if you are one of the athletes that the television network decides to profile.

If your firm does turn out to be supportive, whether it is financially, emotionally or (hopefully) both, I would guess that they would only be too happy to welcome you back into the fold once you return to civilian life. However, don't expect to remain with the associates from your law school class year when you return. You'll have missed out on a year or two of experience that they've been accumulating while you were way. In fact, depending on how long you are away from the practice of law, you might even want to drop back one more year just to have some time to get back into the swing of things.

But what if your firm turns out to be blind to the benefits they will reap by employing a potential medal winner? I still don't think you need to be overly concerned about returning to your career as an attorney. Your sporting accomplishments certainly will be recognized by a number of firms who will want to have you in their midst, not only to rub shoulders with you but also for the marketing opportunity that it might afford them. And, should you be a medal winner ... well, the sky is the limit, as far as I can see it.

If it seems that you are going to make the team, you need to sit down with the higher-ups in the firm and explain your situation. Make it perfectly clear that you will give whatever time you can to your practice, but that your training must come first for the next couple of years. Perhaps they will be willing to employ you on a part-time basis or, in the best of all possible worlds, they may offer you some sort of stipend to help you support yourself as you train. I suspect that they will feel as I do. I admire you for your determination to be an Olympic athlete and also continue after the Games as an attorney.

Summary: Will following through with my Olympic dream make it impossible to continue with my legal career? How would a prospective employer view this scenario?

See the following articles for more information:

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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