Career Path Exercise

Using the questions below as a guide, draft a two-paragraph vision statement for your career. Paragraph one: What kinds of jobs would best match your personality, values, and skills? Paragraph two: Where do you want to be in ten years? Twenty?

1. Do you have a general idea of what kind of career you want? Do you plan to practice law? What do you envision yourself doing in twenty years—at the height of your career?
2. What are your values? Do you value financial security? Time with your family and friends? Autonomy? Stability? Creativity? Do you want to have children? Do you like to take risks? Do you like variety? Do you like excitement and pressure or do you prefer life without stress? Do you desire leisure time to pursue various interests? Are your career plans consistent with your values?
3. How do you want to spend your day? Do you like dealing with people? Do numerous meetings make you crazy, or do you welcome the time to noodle issues with colleagues? In what size groups do you work best: all alone, with one or two other people, with a larger group? Do you like spending large blocks of time researching and writing? Do you like detail work? Do you enjoy or hate business development? How do you feel about the prospects of litigation? Do you like to travel? Do you prefer new challenges or handling matters over which you have some mastery? Do you know what kinds of law do not interest you?
4. What kinds of hours do you envision yourself working as a lawyer: a mammoth number of hours, a 9 to 5 day, part-time? Are you someone who is able to create work-life balance for yourself, or do you take on too much work?
5. When you are considering a job, will the salary and benefits meet your basic minimum needs? Will some other factor be paramount in your job search (for instance, whether the work is meaningful to you or can keep your interest)?
6. Are you interested in entering a type of law that might dictate that you live in a particular region (such as international law or water law)? Do you prefer cities? Large or small? Suburbs or rural areas? Domestic or international travel?
7. Do you feel that other people (perhaps family members such as parents or partners) have specific expectations for what you will do with your law degree? Do they match yours?
8. What are your signature strengths as they relate to a legal career? Weaknesses?
9. What are your interests or hobbies? Do they relate to your career plans? Can they?
10. If you could not be a lawyer, what would you do? Do any of these alternate careers suggest what you could do with your law degree other than practice law?