Question: What made you make a career change in 2002? Was networking your only resource to transition in this change?
My Answer: I’m one of those “former” attorneys who really enjoyed practicing law. It was not the long hours, foregoing vacations or giving up weekends, which caused me to seek a career change. After 11 years of court appearances and big transactions, I was not completely satisfied with the direction of my career and wanted to be in a work environment where I could contribute more to the success of the organization (and the individuals working in it). In 2001, knowing I wanted to say in the legal profession but in another role, I began the process of discovering the possibilities and transferring my skills.
Networking played a central role in my career transition and success in law firm management. Not only did networking land me the role as White & Case’s Manager of Professional Development, the informational interview networking process:
Connected me with peers in comparable roles at other firms, so I had a peer support from day one on the new job;
- Opened doors to thought-leaders in the field of professional service firm talent development/retention and alumni relations whom I could call upon and consult regularly;
- Introduced me to recruiters in the field (who guided me on salary negotiations over the years);
- Resulted in my appointment to a relevant bar association committee (which allowed me to easily network beyond second and third degree connections);
- Directed me to the top-of-mind issues in the training and retention field and enabled me to stay on top of trends; and
- Raised my profile in my new-chosen profession.