Sam Furnival

Sam Furnival

Harvard Lawyer, Clerkship with Federal Judge

I started working with Nancy in April, 2021, during a very challenging transition for me.  I graduated from Law School the year before, in May 2020.  Like many of my classmates, I’d had a post-grad job lined up two years in advance.  I was looking forward to a lucrative job at a top-tier “Big Law” firm, where I assumed I’d follow the usual path of grinding it out as a junior associate for a few years until I figured out what I “really” wanted to do.

The pandemic had other plans.  My law firm pushed back our class’s start date by many months, which gave me a lot of free time to reflect: was this job really something I wanted?  Following some mental health challenges and a lot of soul-searching, I realized the answer was NO.  I’d have to figure out what I really wanted to do several years earlier than I’d originally planned, with a resume lacking that prestigious job and a one-year-and-growing gap I’d have to explain.

I immediately responded to Nancy’s strengths-focused approach of Discovering “Y.O.U.” – Your Own Uniqueness. She modelled that herself from our first session. She astutely  recognized that helping me succeed would require not just her skills as a career and life coach, but also a therapist who could help me through my mental health challenges and my ADHD.  She recommended an excellent psychologist (who I still see regularly) and we all worked collaboratively to help me grow holistically.

With Nancy’s coaching, I was able to take the wrench the pandemic had thrown at me and use it as a tool to re-calibrate my life trajectory.  Working through the “Now What” process she uses for clients at a crossroads, I bolstered my toolbox.  After a year without the structure of work or school, digging deep into the exercises of the “Now What” program gave me a sense of purpose and focus. Nancy held me accountable to get back into a productive routine, define my past successes and aspirations and rebuild my confidence in my top skills and abilities.

While we were still in the early stages of our work together, I received a job offer through my personal networks for part-time work at mid-sized law firm.  The exercises we’d done through the Now What program —identifying satisfiers and dissatisfiers from past jobs, experiences where I was operating at peak performance, and my core values at work — helped me decide with Nancy’s counsel that I should pursue this opportunity.  After a few months working at the firm, the partners made me an offer to join as a full-time associate.  Nancy helped me negotiate that offer, and after I accepted, she provided on-the-job coaching to help me succeed.

Our continued coaching illuminated the limiting beliefs that held me back from identifying new possibilities. After defining my purpose through my life story, I leveraged these themes and strengths to focus my search and networking opportunities beyond the traditional law firm.  I reached out to a former Harvard professor and an opportunity presented itself to collaborate with him on an interesting new business venture. Nancy helped me craft a hypothetical role into a concrete job that was tailor made for my strengths and interests.

I’m currently two months in to my yearlong clerkship with a federal judge.  Once that comes to an end, I know I’ll have the skills and self-knowledge to find something new that’s a great fit for me.