The following is an excerpt from the Career Development Handbook.
Your values may have played a role in your decision to attend law school. You may value fairness, justice, or reason. You may value service to your community or those in need. You may value working in an environment with assignments and colleagues that challenge you on a daily basis. You may value the opportunity to achieve, resulting in whatever recognition methods are most motivating to you. No matter how your values have influenced your entry into the legal field, or how they may sometimes conflict, they will surely continue to develop and manifest themselves in your professional decisions in the years ahead.
Often, when the word “values” is brought up, you may first think of your personal values, perhaps related to your political or religious views, or your opinions on morality/ethics. While certainly an accurate definition of the word, these are not the types of values we will focus on. Though reflecting upon your personal values can certainly help you make career-related decisions, our main emphasis here will be on values that most directly apply to your job and internship endeavors.
Work-related values may include everything from how you prefer to be compensated, to what motivates you to do your best work, to how you like to think and make decisions. An excellent tool for defining and utilizing your work-related values is the Life Values Inventory (LVI). The LVI was developed over many years via collaboration between UNC’s own Dr. Duane Brown and Dr. Kelly Crace, currently the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at Duke. The LVI is based on the Holistic Values-Based Theory of Life Role Choice and Satisfaction (Brown, 1996; Brown & Crace, 1995) and is applicable in multiple settings. The LVI assessment, available for free online via lifevaluesinventory.org, helps you to better understand which values currently guide your behavior, determine the importance you want place on different values, and recognize methods for expressing your values in ways and frequencies that allow you to flourish. It also addresses how certain values may compete with one another, as well as the fine line between feelings of success and stress when it comes to living out your values.
If this type of exercise sounds interesting, you should consider completing the assessment, reading through the results and accompanying resources, and then discussing your outcomes and reflections with a career counselor at the CDO. The more you are able to articulate your values and how and where you would like them to be expressed, the better chance you have for finding environments and roles that best suit your needs and priorities.