You will never leave the law

Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but it speaks to those who may be getting hung up on the “leave” in leave law behind (and thus not doing anything at all about their situation as an unhappy lawyer).

As we all know, it can be difficult to leave things, to enter the unknown, to take a risk. It’s scary stuff.

Let’s face it – you never really leave the law. It’s always a part of you. You will always have the training, the experiences, the frustrations, the client interactions, the wins (and losses), the war stories you have experienced while being a law student and a lawyer. And this is all good stuff. Stuff that can serve as the basis for what you want to do next.

The idea of leaving works for some, and not for others. If the idea of leaving something, anything, is scary or perceived as risky to you, don’t dwell on the fear. That only sabotages you. Call it something else. Just don’t call on it too late.

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Get demoted

Thanks very much to the LLB reader who sent in the recent New York Times article about “career associates”:  full fledged lawyers, who do full fledged lawyer work . . . but are excluded from the partner track, have reduced salaries (while working less hours.)  This new tier of employees enables law firms to keep talented people on board while cutting costs.

What a perfect (and ironic) opportunity – having your “leave the law” plan actually funded by your law firm:   Make money, still pay the bills, spend more time with the family, spend more time planning your new business or venture. 

Of course, one must first battle with the inevitable sabotage (a demotion will harm my career trajectory, my friends, family and colleagues will point and laugh, I can’t look at myself in the mirror, there is nothing else I can really do). 

But once one realizes that there are other ways to satisfy one’s self worth, this is a golden opportunity to leave the law behind.

Go ahead, get demoted.

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You are either motivating yourself . . . or sabotaging yourself

Your brain is either motivating you or sabotaging you.  (Thanks to Kristine Castro for this great way to look at things).  So carefully audit what you have thought, are thinking and will think.  Critically assess what your mind is doing.  You are either inspiring yourself or weakening yourself.

Some examples:

Who am I fooling?  I really can’t do anything outside of the practice of law. Sabotage.
Let me take a small babystep today. Motivation.
I’ll never be able to afford to leave the law. Sabotage.
The money will come.  Not sure how just yet, but it will come. Motivation.
There is nothing else I’m trained to do. Sabotage.
Brain, let’s think:  What am I good at?  What do I really, truly enjoy to do? Motivation.

When your brain thinks something . . . anything . . . don’t accept it at face value.  Assess what you are really telling yourself.  As Emo Phillips said “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.  Then I realized who was telling me this.”

The beauty of this equation is in its starkness. 

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