A common complaint I hear from law students, young lawyers, and even some midcareer lawyers is that it is very difficult to find people who provide good career advice.
When the seekers try to reach out, most of the time, they are ignored. Of the remainder of advisors who do respond, most simply give the generic, vague advice we’ve all heard before: work hard, network, and pray.
I have experienced this firsthand. While it is very frustrating, it is not personal. Most of the time, it is bad timing. Other times, the advisors simply cannot provide the specific help and guidance being sought.
Similarly, those who are contemplating starting their own practice or who have already done so also find it hard to connect with the right mentors. Sometimes, the mentors are too busy or their personalities do not match the personalities of the mentees.
In the past, making connections was time consuming and expensive. The only way to make connections was to go to bar association events or to conferences.
The good news is that today more resources are available where you can connect with people, even without leaving your home or office. On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can search for specialized groups that focus on your practice area or your geographic location. The ABA’s SoloSez listserv is a discussion forum for solo and small firm lawyers which is available to everyone, including those who are not ABA members. Also, the Legal Mentor Network is devoted to connecting attorneys with mentors working in top companies and law firms.
But despite these additional resources, many might still have difficulty connecting with the right people who can provide career guidance because they do not know whom to turn to.
For the next two weeks, I will be searching for people who provide a wealth of useful information on career and practice development or are willing to talk and help those who need it. At the end of this month, I will publish a list of people who I want to recognize as being worthy of following on social media.
Please reach out to me if you have any recommendations. For now, there are no specific rules other than being generally helpful. There are also no limitations on the number of people I will list.
Steven Chung is a tax attorney in Los Angeles, California. He helps people with basic tax planning and resolve tax disputes. He is also sympathetic to people with large student loans. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can connect with him on Twitter (@stevenchung) and connect with him on LinkedIn.