There are various ways women that are attorneys can enhance their professional experiences in the corporate environment. It is pertinent for women to strategically make connections with other women leaders in the company, negotiate employment terms well from the inception of employment, stay overtly ethical, learn how to mask overt aggression and appear to work in the interest of others, and learn how to dress professionally.
- Make Connections with other Women Leaders at Your Company
Corporate offices generally employ more women in leadership roles, which are more readily approachable. It is pertinent that you build significant and strategic relationships with key women leaders within the corporate office. Any woman in a leadership role will build followers, however, a better woman leader will build other leaders. It is crucial to both your professional and personal success to build relationships with the other women leaders in your office in order to grow both professionally and personally.
- Ask for professional feedback specifically from the most senior female leader in the corporate office during your evaluation period.
- Take other senior female leaders out to lunch.
- Take an active interest in the interest of other female leaders within the office.
- Provide solutions to specific problems that these other women in the corporate office face even though it may not be your professional responsibility to do so.
- Negotiate Your Employment Terms Well from Inception of your Employment Relationship
Women should negotiate employment terms well from the inception of a relationship with a corporate employer. A successful negotiation of employment terms from the inception of an employment relationship will always place the woman in a corporate office in a better place professionally.
- Always provide a salary range and not a single salary figure
- Always ask to review a position description of your specific accepted role within the corporate office and only agree to terms about your role that you deem reasonable
- Always start from inception with the title you desire to be achieved at the end of your duration at that specific professional office
- Stay Overtly Ethical
Ethics are a huge component of every attorney’s professional life. It is pertinent for women and women of color to be especially cautious about ethics when they act in a legal capacity. You need to ensure that you are in compliance with professional ethics rules for attorneys and the ethics rules of the company.
- Be familiar with professional rules pertinent to attorneys in your jurisdiction.
- Be familiar with the model rules of professional responsibility for attorneys.
- Be familiar with the professional code of conduct at your professional office.
- Learn How to Work Toward the Interests of those within the Office
Women that are too aggressive or too direct can be a professional turnoff for many that are not legal professionals or law graduates. Law graduates are often highly aggressive and are trained to be competitive. However, in a corporate office, there are more often than not more non-legal professionals that are not used to that competitive law school mentality. Thus, the female attorney must not be as direct about what it is that she personally desires to achieve within the corporate environment.
- Work towards your own professional goals by making it seem that they help achieve the goals of others in the office in order to not appear too direct or too self-interested.
- The general public has a poor perception of attorneys. You will constantly have to defend your integrity and professional reputation. You have to hide overt aggressive tendencies and always appear in a way that does not threaten the interests of another senior leader in order to avoid corporate politics.
- Always make people feel like they are heard.
- Learn How to Dress as a Lawyer and Not as a Social Media Maven
As a female attorney, you want to appear like a professional and not a social media maven in the corporate environment. Dress professional, dress classic, and dress the way you see other senior-level female leaders dress in the corporate environment. You want to appear to fit into the style of the team already within the office and not appear to mold the style of the team into something that goes against the grain of the office or the profession.
- Always over-dress for the role you were hired for.
- Your professional appearance should be pleasant and professional.
- People first see who you are before they know who you are. Therefore, make sure the first impression you make of yourself is memorable and pleasant.
Conclusion: There are various ways women today can improve their professional experience in the corporate environment. It is pertinent for women to strategically identify how they may improve their professional experiences not only for professional growth but also for personal growth.
Ms. Tanu C. Esq., is a Seasoned Corporate Professional, Attorney, Published Writer, and Advocate.
*This article does not seek to provide any form of legal advice. This article does not reflect upon any current or previous employer.
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