According to figures from the Historical Trend in Total National Lawyer Population chart shared by the American Bar Association, the legal field has consistently experienced growth each year since the late 1800s. Projections issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in September 2019 indicate that that the legal profession is expected to grow 6% by 2028.
For law students and graduates considering entering the legal field, there are a number of different paths to take that are suited to their strengths. Those who gravitate towards investigation and analysis, for example, might thrive in a research-driven role that involves spending all day doing legal research and writing briefs. Those who enjoy the challenge of winning people over, meanwhile, might be drawn to more litigation-heavy roles, where a lawyer's job is to persuade and argue in a courtroom.
One way for aspiring attorneys to determine what the right practice for them to pursue is to use a career assessment tool to pinpoint their strengths. Understanding their strengths can help them find work that's genuinely gratifying. One of the most popular tools available online for this aspect of career planning is CliftonStrength (formerly known as StrengthFinder) from Gallup. Through a series of questions, the assessment tool will help pinpoint a person's top five strengths with an explanation of what they mean.
Prior to passing away in 2003, Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. helped pioneer strength-based studies and received a presidential commendation from the American Psychological Association as "the father of strengths-based psychology."
After teaching psychology at the University of Nebraska during the 1950s and ‘60s, Dr. Clifton went on to explore the notion of developing one’s strengths than devoting energy to their weaknesses.
In 1992, Dr. Clifton co-authored a book titled “Soar with Your Strengths,” which led to the creation of the StrengthFinder assessment tool that he developed with his grandson Tom Rath and a team of scientists at Gallup in 1999. The first year the tool was available, 18,763 people took the assessment. In 2004, the assessment's name was formally changed to “Clifton StrengthsFinder” in honor of its chief designer.
In 2007, building on the initial assessment and language from StrengthsFinder, a new edition of the assessment and program was released, entitled “StrengthsFinder 2.0.” The career assessment tool, which was rebranded again as CliftonStrengths in 2015, includes 34 themes (or strengths).
How Your Strengths Are Determined
In order to determine what your strengths are, you need to take an online test that can be accessed with a special code available online and in the book. After ordering CliftonStrengths34 for $49, you’ll receive a code that you can redeem online to take the assessment.
The assessment involves reviewing 177 paired statements and then selecting the preference that best describes you. For example, you'll be posed with statements like "Starting a conversation is an effort for me" and "I get a rush from striking up a conversation with a stranger" and asked to note which declaration best describes you.
After completing the assessment, which should take an hour, answers will be analyzed and you'll receive a personalized report that breaks down your sensibilities into 34 themes, categories that reflect your personal strengths. For example, you may determine that one of your key strengths is discipline.
If one of your 34 strengths is discipline, that means your world needs to be predictable, ordered, and planned. You instinctively impose structure on your world, set up routines, and focus on timelines and deadlines. The assessment then gives you ideas for working with others with the discipline strength and ideas for action.
- Woo (winning others over)
Why Working Toward Your Strengths Is Important
The more you know about what makes you tick, the greater chance you have for being successful. Another benefit is helping you find meaningful work. If you're not in an environment where you are poised for success and feel like you can achieve, unhappiness and a lack of satisfaction may develop.