Program Recap: What’s Next: Career Development for the Mid-Career Professional

*Thanks to Christen Bain, Assistant Director of Marketing at Davis Brown, for writing up this recap!

On Thursday, June 25, Megan McKeon and Michelle Friends presented “What’s Next: Career Development for the Mid-Career Professional.”

Megan, Director of Business Development at Clark Hill, and Michelle, Executive Director of Fairfield and Woods, started the webinar with a discussion of their career paths offering insight on the various specialist and generalist roles available in large and small firms. As mid-career professionals consider moving to another role, either internally or at another firm, Megan and Michelle reviewed aspects of a potential new role to evaluate to ensure a successful move. For each of these aspects, they recommended gaining insight from LMA peers, the job description, the interview, and using that information to evaluate how your work styles and preferences would sync in the new role or not.

  • What is the profile of the firm?
  • The team?
  • Is the role attorney-facing or mostly marketing team based?
  • What is the connection between the marketing team and firm leadership?
  • Is the role defined and established or in-transition? If in-transition, is the end goal of that transition in alignment with your goals?

Communication Style Self-Assessment

To help evaluate whether a new role would be a good fit, Michelle guided the audience in a self-assessment of communications styles, leading to the identification of a primary style of Analyzer, Listener, Conductor, or Promoter.

Megan and Michelle reviewed each style, the wants, needs, and expectations of each, including how these communications styles impact work, specifically responses under stress. Knowing your style and the styles of others can also illuminate opportunities to stretch yourself to work more effectively with others.

Think Broadly About Your Experience

After the self-assessment and review of the communication styles, Megan and Michelle discussed some of the skills needed to advance in your career, including people management, and how to re-consider your current work to identify where you are using a particular skill. Michelle noted how even as a solo marketer in a small firm, she was managing people on certain projects – vendor relationships, administrative assistants, and in her volunteer work with LMA. Asking for feedback after these projects can give you additional information about your management skills and fodder for management role interviews in the future.

Work/Life Balance

The presentation was given in late June 2020, following three months of COVID-19 lockdown for many. During this period, work/life balance was discarded as workloads skyrocketed and many parents moved to working from home with their children leading to a complete breakdown of the separation of “work time” and “family time.” Megan and Michelle pushed attendees to consider their work/life balance, even in this bizarre period. Although it may be necessary to have some long days leading up to a big deadline, overall, you should have the ability to disconnect. If that isn’t the case, it’s time for an honest conversation with your manager.

Professional Development

To continue career advancement, Michelle and Megan recommended a continuous learning mindset. LMA’s numerous professional development resources can provide essential learning and networking for legal marketers. Other resources, like Harvard Business Review, Attorney at Work, TED Talks, and your internal department leaders, are available for your development as well. Having returned to school several times, Michelle highlighted the career steps that are available with additional formal education.  Showcasing you are engaged with management training, industry news, and ongoing education can engender additional respect from attorneys who are required to do the ongoing CLEs as well.