Thinking (or not thinking) critically

For many of us, we may not have spent the time thinking critically about why we wanted to go to law school, and what it entailed to be a law student, and a lawyer.  We oftentimes didn’t, really, critically think about whether it was the best choice for us (myself included).  Many of us are more likely to spend more time researching the purchase of a TV (or a netbook or a piece of clothing or something more exciting) than we will critically thinking of our career or graduate degree choices.

I know, because I didn’t think critically at all about my decision to go to law school.

I went to UC Berkeley.  I studied abroad for my junior year and returned to Cal my senior year, with no clue as to what I was planning for post graduation.  Being Jewish, with a slight aversion to blood, a knack for public speaking and an attorney grandfather in my past, I chose law school as my post graduation path.  In order to not interfere with my studies or life too much, I grabbed the nearest law school review magazines and applied to the schools that were (i) the most highly ranked in light of my GPA and LSAT (ii) in cities I liked (iii) also the choices of my buddies. 

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Why did I go to law school?

Quick, raise your hand if you thought critically about your decision to go to law school.  If you did, please comment below and let me know what your process consisted of.

For the rest of us, who came up with one (or a variation) of the following reasons?

– Needed structure at that point in my life
– Don’t like blood.
– My father/mother/grandfather was a lawyer.
– I always wanted to be a lawyer.
– My ninth grade civics teacher said I was a good speaker.
– Growing up all of my friends and family said I should be a lawyer.
– I always thought being a lawyer was cool.
– Perry Mason.
– LA Law.

Does it still apply?

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Why leave law behind

As the title of this blog (and this site and the whole practice) suggests, we’re going to explore and discuss some reasons for, and ways to, leave the law behind.  Leaving certainly means different things for different people:  for some, it can mean leaving the grind altogether, resting on savings to catch one’s breath and then pursuing business and personal activities that more align with your passions and enjoyments.

For others, it can mean leaving certain portions of the law behind that are just not enjoyable or that productive.  Like leaving the firm grind.  Or getting out of (or back into) public service.  Or creating a solo practice with a specific focus . . . which lets you work from a cell phone and laptop (or netbook or iPad!) from anywhere.  Or creating a non legal business that builds on years of experience in the legal field.

Whatever the case may be, we’re going to discuss it here.  We’re going to delve into some issues that need exploring . . . that many attorneys and law students may not have asked themselves.  We’re going to hear from practicing attorneys their thoughts on what they like and don’t like about what they do day to day. 

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Leave Law Behind was featured on the front page of The Recorder

Read more at The Recorder or below.

The Road Less Traveled

The Recorder

By Petra Pasternak

July 16, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Long before the recession killed the job market, Casey Berman realized the law wasn’t for him.

Having launched a number of companies already — and sold one — now he’s launching another: a consultancy called Leave Law Behind through which he’ll hold the hand of disillusioned lawyers who want to start their own business.

On Tuesday night, the 1999 Hastings College of the Law graduate pitched an alternative path for J.D.s at his alma mater

“Tonight’s not about making a million dollars,” Berman said to a gathering of about 25 people. What it was about: transitioning to your own business, one with low overhead and a predictable monthly income, all while “doing something you love.”

Berman, a San Francisco native, said he first realized he was feeling like a cog in a wheel while working in house for Workshare, a local technology company. “I wasn’t feeling cool,” he said. “I wasn’t liking my day–to-day.” The money was there,

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