Be flexible, be smart, stay connected, don’t make assumptions! |

Be flexible, be smart, stay connected, don’t make assumptions!


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It is probably safe to say that there is more than the usual amount of head scratching by those of us who try to predict the future and create strategic business plans.
Be flexible, be smart, stay connected, don’t make assumptions!

Need a crystal ball?

It is probably safe to say that there is more than the usual amount of head scratching by those of us who try to predict the future and create strategic business plans.

It is a time of opportunity as well as challenge. In the legal field, a few key skills will keep you on track, in my opinion.

First, don't resist change. The legal and business landscape is changing in a fundamental way and we all need to change with it if we want to stay professionally "healthy." For those aiming at a law firm, consider reformulating your goals. Be open to change in practice area, size of firm, or geography. If you are an established senior attorney, you may need to consider a new platform to keep your careeron a firm foundation.
Second, read as much as you can about current events and use your innate intelligence to formulate a plan that will meet your goals.The more you know about the principles of business, economics, the global economy, law firm management, and the myriad forces driving law firm clients to make business decisions, the more you can strategically position yourself for success (however you define it). No one has all the answers right now. Seasoned partners as well as first year associates are facing similar challenges. The people who can assess a dynamic situation with sophistication and knowledge of complex systems will do well. Don't stick your head in the sand.
Third, stay connected. In locating opportunities you want to maximize your exposure to word of mouth and people who will vouch for you. Many stellar junior associates ask me what to do to fill their time while waiting for "big firm" hiring to pick up. Some are returning to performing legal research for professors. If this will lead to expanding your contacts, publishing, speaking, or committee work, great. But, I would be leery of retreating into the ivory tower if you will only be interacting with one or two other professors. Unless the ivory tower is your goal. If your daily work routine is somewhat isolating professionally, use your online resources to stay connected virtually.
Fourth, don't make assumptions. Position yourself well, and be ready for surprises. A stellar federal law clerk, junior associate candidate just called me and asked if she should assume that a career in abig firm will not be for her. As of today, the first day of December in 2008, I would have a hard time placing her. But most predict that litigation is going to pick up. Last week I testedthe market by sending out scores of inquiries to law firms for a similar candidate. Five firms requested the candidate's resume. Not a great percentage. But the five firms were seriously interested. The candidate may get a job at a good firm. Don't write anything off. Explore multiple options.
The same goes for senior associates and partners trying to hold together a book of business. Time to study the market, and make adjustments. Old patterns and relationships may not suffice. Expand your network, meet new people. Use your analytical skills to reformulate your personal business plan basedon current conditions. Help your firm evolve.
All of this takes work and effort. The uncertainty can be draining. But, you made it through law school, didn't you? You made junior partner, didn't you? We are using the same skill set. Hard work. Study. Intelligence. Focus. Courage.
These are exciting times. Use them to your advantage.

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,, and, 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

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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