How to bring order to the chaos of leaving law behind

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man. You likely have heard this quote before (from the 19th century writer Henry Adams, great-grandson of President and Founding Father John Adams).

So what does this have to do with leaving the law behind?  Well, if we consider “chaos” as a state of utter confusion or disorder or lack of organization, that can also accurately describe how many of us feel about leaving the law and changing our lives for the better.  Of course we want to stop doing what we’re doing.  Of course we want to be happier.  Of course we want to practice in a new way or leave altogether.  Of course we want to make our dreams a reality.  Of course . . . Of course . .  . Of course . . .

But we get stuck, almost from the outset.  We don’t know realistically where to start.  We can’t identify the steps we should take.  We can’t carve out any time to meaningfully begin leaving the law because we are so swamped at work.  Or we have familial obligations.  Or we don’t know how to speak to our spouse or family about our desires to shift career focus.  

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Posted Today on – (Part II) What to Consider When Considering an In-House Counsel Position

I’m very excited to have Above the Law publish Part II of the article “What to Consider When Considering an In-House Counsel Position” (Read Part I here).  Part II of the article continues to explore just what it takes to be an in-house attorney, focusing specifically on the stereotypes associated with the role, how to manage budgets and the potential career paths.  While these in-house positions are often coveted and hard to get, we at Leave Law Behind stress focusing on the critical analysis (of one’s personal skills and the job’s duties) it takes to ensure that this role could be the answer to an attorney’s job hunting prayers.

Please give it a read, add your thoughts on or email me directly.  Thanks so much.  (Again, click here to read Part I).

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Why a BigLaw attorney left the law, and a lucrative salary and lifestyle, behind

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  The following is a guest post by Hanna Clements-Hart of Beacon Coaching and Consulting.  Hanna, a former BigLaw attorney who left the law behind, is now a San Francisco based strategic and career coach who works with attorneys and other professionals to understand their inherent strengths and maximize the value of these strengths in the context of new professional and personal opportunities or challenges.]

I remember when I got my first “big firm” job out of law school, how thrilled I was with my salary. It was New York City in 1995, and I was making close to $100k – more than my father had ever earned as a professor. He was delighted, my non-law school friends were impressed, and I was launched.

For a while, I liked being a professional – dressing in suits and working in a swank midtown office. I felt cool ordering dinner on the client and special in the back of my Town Car being driven home – never mind that if I hadn’t been working late I wouldn’t have needed a car home. I was not terribly interested in the work –  the details very stressful.

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The steps you can take right now to leave the law behind – Interview on Wired for Success

Yesterday I was interviewed by Beryl and Mel, the founders of Wired for Success, a UK based videoblog.  We had a great conversation, and a few of the topics we discussed include:

– The five main steps in leaving the law
– Why it takes a long time to leave the law . . . and why that’s a good thing
– The reasons that led me to law school, and the reasons that led me to leave the law
– Why we all suffer from that confidence knocking demon voice in our heads, and how to not let it get us too down
– Why a serious look at your personal money situation will actually make you more confident and motivated

When you have some time, head on over to Wired for Success and watch the interview.  Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly to discuss any ideas you may have.

I hope it motivates you to take a baby step today.

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How we’re letting the wrong things influence our major decisions

I received a lot of good emails from readers after the “What to Consider When Considering an In-House Counsel Position” article was published last Friday in Above the Law (thank you).  Many were interested in the leave law behind coaching services.  Others wanted to know more about what it meant to be an in-house counsel.  And still others asked for my thoughts about a real life job decision they were about to make.

And as I read through the emails (and I replied to them all) I noticed a consistent theme, particularly from those in the latter group about imminent job and career decisions to made.  I noticed that many were planning on making decisions (leaving the law, taking a break from it all, jumping to a new job, quitting the firm job, planning a job search) without really considering whether this new decision would be a fit for their individual strengths, their passions, and their interests.  They are not thoroughly and properly planning to leave the law.  Rather they are contemplating moving from one thing they don’t like (the firm) to a new thing . . . without spending the time and the personal due diligence, to vet as much as possible whether this new thing has a high potential to turn out to be a good thing.

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