Getting Noticed at Work

Our legal team is expanding and, in my opinion because of this, I’ve been feeling as though management is overlooking my efforts lately. I’ve been a strong contributor for several years, but my managing attorney is now paying more attention to the accomplishments of our newcomers. Any legal career advice on how I can increase my visibility?

It’s understandable that ambitious long-time employees might feel overlooked when their law firms expand and newcomers seem to command all the attention and, sometimes, the most desirable projects as well.

An influx of new people doesn’t mean your career goals have to take a back seat, though. Consider the following suggestions to help you strike the right balance between adapting to the new environment while trying to increase your visibility:

Be Welcoming

One way to be favorably noticed is to demonstrate an ability to work seamlessly with everyone in the firm, including the newcomers. Let key players within the firm know you’re willing to do your part to ensure a smooth transition for the new hires, whether it’s helping organize the orientation process or serving as the go-to person as they learn the firm’s technologies. A gracious, but sincere, attitude goes a long way toward embellishing your reputation as a true team player.

Remain Visible

Don’t let the fact that your law firm is growing cause you to blend into the background. Without clamoring for attention, do seize opportunities to raise your profile. Speak up in meetings by contributing ideas or asking an insightful question. You're more likely to be noticed in a negative way if you don't seem to have anything to contribute, especially if the newcomers are more actively engaged in what’s going on.

Leverage Your Institutional Knowledge

Although the arrival of new employees can seem threatening on the surface, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate why your contributions are so critical. Long-time employees have the benefit of institutional knowledge, which is an asset that’s difficult to compete with. For instance, you’re likely to know the history behind a troubled initiative or why a particular client relationship is valuable, yet complicated. Don’t be hesitant to showcase and use this deep knowledge to distinguish yourself.

Seek out Stretch Assignments

Look for opportunities to take on projects that will increase your value to your employer. Of course, these types of assignments often require you to put your neck on the line, but that’s the best way to show you’ve got what it takes to assume positions of greater importance and pay.

Speak Up

As usual, be prepared to highlight your achievements and contributions during your performance evaluation, but also acknowledge the changes that are occurring. You may want to discuss your place in the organization and any new responsibilities you’d like to take on as positions or duties shift. If necessary, propose suggestions for how your role might change or expand.

When your law firm is rapidly expanding, it can seem like a challenge to get the notice you deserve. But keep in mind that how you attract attention can make or break your career. Always aim to conduct yourself in a manner that will earn you positive reviews — whether or not you think anyone is paying attention. They usually are, and that’s exactly how you’ll get the visibility you deserve.