We suffer from so much pain as unhappy attorneys.
We have so much fear that prevents us from leaving the law.
But there is hope. Lots of it.
I shot this short 2:45 minute video below to ask you one very important question.
I can’t force you to leave the law and be happy. But if you are ready, I can help. Start here: http://leavelawbehind.com/leave-the-law-$1-trial
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The podcast episode with the leave the law expert Liz Brown is now at Love or Leave the Law.
A Harvard Law grad, former BigLaw partner, business law professor and author of the groundbreaking book, Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the JD You Have, Liz is an expert on alternative career options for lawyers.
Want proven, actionable tips to leave the law? We discussed so much, we broke it out into two episodes. Start with Episode 18 and then listen more to Episode 19.
And if you’re serious (really, really serious) about leaving the law …
After you listen, buy Life After Law here. It’s a fantastic, well written, insightful resource that has been an inspiration to me.
Get free 15 minutes to take with me about whatever you want? Schedule a free time to chat with me here.
Ready to leave? Trial the Leave the Law Course for $1.
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I was a Jewish kid who didn’t like blood.
That’s the best explanation I can give as to why I went to law school. I wasn’t going to medical school but it was expected I get a graduate degree. I just went to law school. I didn’t think too critically about it. I just went.
And I suffered for this lack of critical thought. While my high school teachers felt my speaking and writing skills could be of good use as a lawyer (“You like to talk, be an attorney”), I actually didn’t enjoy or excel at law school.
Except for one class: Second semester as a 3L, I AmJured my Negotiations and Settlement class. The irony … I’m about to graduate, I’ve struggled and struggled and can’t wait to get out of law school, and I finally am good at something.
But looking back, it now makes sense
The class was a small, about 20 students. It was taught by a practicing attorney from the San Francisco Morrison Foerster office. He was engaging, insightful and encouraging. We would break out into smaller groups that had to reach agreements based on real life case studies we could relate to and align with.
I was speaking recently with a reader who is interested in the Leave Law Behind coaching. She works in BigLaw. She makes a lot of money. Is respected by her friends and family.
But she is dying to get out.
She almost never sees her family. She almost never has a weekend without work. She almost never feels appreciation from her clients.
But a major obstacle in her way to leaving the law is the guilt she feels complaining about such a high paying job. She has all the creature comforts. On top of that, she was raised in a solidly middle class family where money was often a topic of mild anxiety and worry.
She asks, How can I complain about a job that makes me so much money? How can I stare my parents and family in the face and say I don’t like my job when I make so much money? How can I complain when I have a job that so many other people would die to have?
She says, I should realize I’m lucky to have this job. I should appreciate this job more so.
The comedian Emo Phillips once said: “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.”
Our brain. Our beliefs. Our belief systems. How we are programmed.
This impacts how we feel, how we act, how we view the world, how we succeed, how we perceive happiness.
In the Love or Leave the Law Podcast, my podcast partner Adam Ouellette and I focus on how what we believe (whether we realize it or not) drives how we act, feel and view our reality as a practicing lawyer.
Beliefs can be positive and empowering, or negative and bring us down. It’s important to drill down, analyze and discern which beliefs influence us at which moments in our life, and in particular how we view our legal practice.
We shine light on our current beliefs around money and abundance (or lack thereof) and how these can stifle and limit our goals and dreams.
We dispel the myths that a lawyer’s asking for help is a sign of weakness, that “perfection” is to be aspired to at all costs and or that a lawyer’s ability to provide value beyond the legal professions is close to impossible.
I spoke with a client last week who recently left the law. A former estate planning attorney who just recently transitioned to lead the direction and management of planned giving for a local university.
In his new role he helps provide the strategic direction and long & short range planning to support the development of major gifts and alumni relations related to cultivating and soliciting donors.
Sounds pretty cool, huh? 🙂
It’s close to his dream job. “Planned giving” is an area he identified early on in our process that was in alignment with his skills and strengths, his Unique Genius, and also something he cared a lot about.
He did explore and interview in a number of other areas. His Unique Genius seemed to align with Strategy jobs and Project Management jobs. He got interviews through his network at a Fortune 500 company and a small startup.
But he just didn’t see a fit with these paths.
A (sincere, authentic, aligned) cold email
So I asked him how, then, did he get an introduction to the university which ultimately just hired him.
I could feel him smile over the phone.
My daughter is a big fan of the Peanuts cartoons. She shared one strip with me. She said that reading it made her think of the lawyers we help to leave the law.
Charlie Brown and his sister Sally are waiting at the school bus stop one morning, lunch bags in hand. Sally looks at the cars driving by and asks “Who are all those people driving by in those cars?”
Charlie Brown says “Those are people going to work.”
“Work?” Sally says
Charlie Brown explains “They used to wait for the school bus, like we’re doing … Now they have to go to work every day for the rest of their lives”
Sally says: “Good grief! Whose idea was that?”
Right, whose idea was that?
So many of us did what seems like everything “right” in your life. We did everything we were supposed to do.
We got the grades. We made (or tried very hard to make) our parents proud. We pursued safety and security and avoided the unknown and risk.
We applied to, got accepted by and graduated law school.
Deciding to actually leave the law can be a watershed moment in an unhappy attorney’s life. But it also is just the first step of many.
That’s what we touch on in Episode 9 & Episode 10 of our Love or Leave the Law Podcast.
My co-host and former attorney Adam Ouellette and I begin discussing the underlying fears that serve as the main obstacles to leaving the law for an alternative, non-law career:
– The Fear of the Unknown,
– The Fear of Risk
– The Fear of Failing
– The Fear of Social Dis-approval
– The Fear of Losing Our Identity as an Attorney
If you’re deciding whether to leave the law … take a baby step – listen to the podcast. It’s free. You can watch the video, listen to the audio, or read the transcripts.
Click on the player below. Hope you enjoy! More to come!
Want to talk about leaving the law? Schedule a free time to chat with me here.
I speak with a lot of unhappy attorneys who want to leave the law.
Some are just in a momentary bad phase and are really meant to be lawyers.
Others are not so sure, and want to remain as lawyers for some time more, to test it out a bit.
And some are so unhappy they are dying to leave the practice of law behind right now.
In working with these groups, there are three surefire signs that you shouldn’t stick around any longer and you may want to consider leaving the law now.
1. You’re bored practicing the law.
Don’t get me wrong, in our fast paced world, where we have little time to think, being bored sometimes can actually be a good thing: it lets us ponder, reflect, take a breath.
But it’s not good to be consistently bored at our job that takes up one-third to one-half of our waking hours.
Being bored means you likely don’t care about the job. It means you find the job of an attorney to be dull, uninspiring, uninteresting, tedious or monotonous. This results from not being connected to the clients,
One of the first questions I ask people who call me to leave the law is “Why do you want to leave the law?”
And if the answer isn’t convincing, I won’t work with them to leave. Rather, we’ll focus on reexamining why, whether and how they could remain as a practicing lawyer.
That’s what we touch on in Episode 4 & Episode 5 of our Love or Leave the Law Podcast.
We focus on how law can, yes, be an amazing profession. We return to our roots, and discuss what made us go to law school to begin with.
We talk about how to re-energize our practice. How to assess whether our strengths and skills are a true fit with practicing law.
We touch on how to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and how we can really use creativity as a lawyer in many ways.
And most of all, we lay out the work to do, so if we do want to leave the law, we’re positive it’s the right decision for us.
If you’re deciding whether to leave the law …