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  • Writer's pictureIan Delaney

Make Sure You're SMART About Your Job Hunt

"The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score." - Bill Copeland

A lot of my conversations with attorneys end up revolving around goal setting. Most people don’t have goals, instead they often have “nebulous wishes.” Thinking back to any sort of Business 101 classes you took, undoubtedly, SMART goals were discussed.

If, like me, it’s been a few years* since your undergrad days, SMART is an acronym for the basic elements which make for good goal setting. This can be applied to every aspect of live, but in the context of finding a more fulfilling, long-term home for your practice, these are some questions I often discuss:

Specific – What size firm would be the best fit for you? What specialty most excites you in your practice area? What compensation requirements do you have?

Measurable – In a job hunt situation, this is a bit binary – the success of the goal is if you get and accept an offer or not.

Attainable – Is your goal firm/compensation/billable requirement in line with what the market will bear? Expecting full market pay at one of the top firms and only having to bill 1400 hours is not attainable. (If something like that exists, I’m dying to know about it!)

Relevant – Why is exploring the market important right now? What will joining a new firm do for you?

Timely – What are your time constraints on finding a new firm? How long are you expecting the process to take?

When we put together a clear picture of where we’re going, it acts like a map taking us toward the finish line, rather than guessing which roads are the best to take.

Whatever goal you have, personal or professional, it may feel silly or unnecessary at first, but check to see if the goal is SMART and see how much easier and quicker it is to achieve!


*I’m so old that it was taught to me as SMRT (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely), it was only when researching and refreshing my memory that I discovered it’s now being taught with an ‘A’.

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