Today, I want to introduce you to a job. It is a legal job as an attorney for a cool startup called Hire an Esquire. The description and hiring manager Jules Miller’s contact info is at the end of this post.
For some of us, this could be the legal job we’ve always wanted that is in line with our Unique Genius. For others, this could serve as a way to leave the firm as an interim measure to one day leaving the law altogether.
But before we email our resume to Jules at Hire Esquire, there are four things we should do first:
1. Explore our Unique Genius. First and foremost, we need to take the time to explore our strengths, skills and enjoyments … so we can then see if our skill set is even a fit for this job.
Let’s feel confident about what we are good at, and also be honest about what we don’t really excel at. We must understand where we add value, and be honest about where we add less to the conversation. We must really highlight what we enjoy doing and be honest about those things that we find boring or frustrating.
Many of us unhappy attorneys are tired, exhausted and frustrated with the practice of law. We are confused as to how, after all of the work we did in law school, all of the loans we took out, all of the hard work we did as an associate attorney, we now sit 3, 5, 8, 12 or more years in and wonder “I’m not happy. How did this happen?”
So, we decide, yes, we want to leave the law behind and do something else. We want to find another job that pays well, that provides us with meaning and self-worth. And we are encouraged by that oft repeated advice “You can do anything with a law degree.”
And so we begin to think of other things to do, anything. But soon, this optimistic phrase that is supposed to encourage us can actually begin to stress us out. First, it’s human nature, that if we have too many choices, it can be difficult to choose just one. We waffle, we are indecisive, and so instead of relishing the vast opportunity of choices a law degree and legal training put at our disposal, we often times become paralyzed by these potential choices.
I remember the exact moment I realized I wasn’t happy practicing law. I was sitting in my office on a Saturday afternoon, waiting for the phone to ring. The partner I worked for had made it a habit to ask me to come to the office on weekends and wait for him to call. It was a very nice and spacious office above the 30th floor, with a view of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. The visitors’ chairs were nicer than any chair in my parents’ house in Brooklyn or any chair I could have afforded before or after going to law school. The large wood desk conveyed prestige and expertise. The bookcases contained very impressive leather bound books that I was yet to read. The view of the Freedom Tower construction was spectacular.
It wasn’t easy for me to make it to big law. I wasn’t born in America, my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my law school education, I didn’t go to an Ivy League undergraduate school, and English was not my primary language. I had many excuses I could have made for myself, and many that I did make. Everyone was so proud when little old me,
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another guest post by a current criminal defense attorney, and frequent guest blogger on Leave Law Behind, as he details his ongoing experience in leaving law behind. Last time, he talked about identifying those skills and strengths at which he excels and enjoys, what we call one’s Unique Genius. This time, he tells us how landed an awesome side gig.]
It’s been about four months since I had a breakthrough in my quest to change careers: I landed a part-time, freelance writing gig with a legal information website. Yes, I still have the same full-time job, and no, I don’t know what the next one will entail. But, bearing in mind that a career transition is often a gradual process, I’m grateful to have gained some traction. Here’s how it happened.
Thinking about my Interests
Though I haven’t necessarily found my “one true calling”—if there really is such a thing—I’ve long known that I like to write. I especially like it when I’m not responding to a sharply worded letter or burning the midnight oil to finish an opposition brief. So, a while ago I decided that,