Are you a lawyer too awesome to be contained by just one role?
Career coach — and McGill University grad with a Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws (B.C.L./LL.B.) — Emilie Wapnick’s TED Talk "Why Some of us Don't Have One True Calling" on “multipotentialites” is worth a listen to those of us who’ve resisted tight specialization.
Although she doesn’t talk about the legal industry specifically, the talk will resonate with lawyers. Some attorneys seem born to practice in a single area of law. Other lawyers have broad practices. Still others count the practice of law as just one passionate interest.
Wapnick’s talk highlights the value of “multipotentialites,” which she defines as:
Some legal employers -- like larger law firms -- tend to pressure lawyers to specialize. Other legal employers -- like small law firms or many corporate legal departments -- want lawyers with more general backgrounds and abilities. You'll do best as an attorney if you pursue environments that suit your particular nature.
But also remember that you may need to help an employer understand the value you bring to the table. When faced with a pile of resumes of specialized lawyers, the external or internal recruiter may need help seeing why a multipotentialite attorney is the best choice. As a job candidate, it's part of your job to give that help! You'll need to answer this threshold question: how does my other work help this employer?