You’re exploring how to leave your legal practice and find an alternative career, but you are very likely hindered some blockers or obstacles or other issues.
Through all of the work we’ve done in helping people to leave the law, there are two main limiting beliefs likely getting in your way.
I shot the below short video to help you identify, unpack and overcome these two main beliefs that prevent unhappy attorneys like you from leaving the law and finding an alternative career.
I provide real life tips in this video to overcome these limiting beliefs, and discuss a real life story of how, even in the face of these fears, a Leave Law Behind Program member recently, successfully left the law.
The first belief that holds us back
Unhappy attorneys looking to leave the law often feel that there are not many non law, alternative jobs out there for attorneys. We lawyers looking to leave our law practice hold onto this belief that there is just a finite amount of alternative jobs and alternative careers out there for us.
The second belief that holds us back
There’s a second,
There are lawyers out there who really care about the work they do, who find satisfaction and fulfillment in being an attorney, who enjoy reading and soaking up the finer points of the profession, and who find meaning in representing their clients.
You are not that type of person.
You went to law school and became a lawyer for any or all of a host of reasons: Because you wanted a stable job or because of the allure of being an attorney or because you thought you wanted to change the world or because your parents wanted you to go to law school or because you felt growing up that you always wanted to be a lawyer.
And looking back, these reasons might not have been the most critically thought out.
Or they were reasons driven by other people in your life, not you.
Or they were reasons that now do not align with your priorities.
And because of this, being a lawyer has begun to shape up for you as simply a job where you trade time for money. It’s become a job where helping clients or companies or institutions make (or save or protect) their money feels more and more shallow and stressful,
It’s required to be a perfectionist as a lawyer … when writing a brief or meeting a client deadline or ensuring your client complies with a law or regulation.
You can’t make a mistake.
But needing to be perfect is exactly what you don’t want to be when looking to leave the legal profession. It will slow down your courage, motivation, and soul.
Case in point: The below email exchange with a fellow Leave Law Behind reader who was interested in learning more about the Leave Law Behind Coaching Program, but ultimately passed for the time being:
Thanks so much for reaching out. I’m still assessing and evaluating my situation and timing a bit, but didn’t want to leave you in limbo! I greatly appreciated talking to you and better understanding what you have to offer as I figure out my next steps.
And my response:
Sounds good, keep us posted how we can help.
And as far as “figuring out your next steps” … that can be a lot to ask,
I am a big fan of the J.R.R. Tolkien books.
I just re-read the classic “The Hobbit”, and it inspired me to shoot a short video about what the hero of the story, Bilbo Baggins, did time and time again … and how what he did is something we all need to do as we leave the law. Watch the video here. I hope you enjoy it.
Are you ready to leave the law? Are you really serious that now is the time for you to explore your dream career?
If so, you have found your tribe.
At Leave Law Behind, we have developed the proven process to find your dream career. Click here to find out how it can work for you.
I recently emailed with a fellow member of the Leave Law Behind Online Coaching Program who is at the exciting stage of identifying and then interviewing for careers out of the law.
She’s building momentum – some of these job descriptions are shaping up to be a fit with her Unique Genius … with her skills and strengths.
But as we reviewed many of these specific jobs, her fears and self-sabotage of the actual change required to leave the legal profession would still arise.
This manifested specifically through her saying “I don’t …“, as in:
- “I don’t think I want to do [“NON-LAW” JOB X] ”, or
- “I don’t know much about [THIS ASPECT OF “NON-LAW” JOB X], so I guess I won’t pursue it” … and on and on.
Fear of change
Saying “I don’t” is a manifestation of our fear of change. It’s a way we think we protect ourselves from the unknown … but we are really just sabotaging our growth and development.
So she and I worked together on some new ways to re-phrase … or reposition … or rethink …
I broke my foot recently. Freak jogging accident. On crutches for four weeks, and then a walking boot for another four. But no surgery needed, and I’m healing well.
And while I can see my injured foot each time I look down, my recuperation has made me think of other injuries we suffer from, but cannot see that easily … many of which firmly get in the way of our path to leaving the law.
There’s a big revelation in the short video I shot this week, and it’s one that you absolutely need to consider and face as you explore leaving the law.
To your success,
We attorneys have been trained to be right.
Whether it’s in a contract negotiation, a trial, an interaction with a law firm partner or advising a client, we are trained to be right.
Doesn’t mean we always come out on top, but we sure do try.
Because being right is synonymous in our eyes with being strong and in control and admired and winning and valued and making it and success.
And that need to be right all of the time continues as we explore leaving the law.
But needing to be “right” as we leave the law can also be one of our biggest blockers to leaving. Because instead of being right about a fact or a point of law or a policy, we instead perpetuate being right about why we can’t or shouldn’t or won’t leave the law.
- I know for near-certainty that I’m not worthy of a non-law job.
- I’m sure I could never do the work of leaving the law.
- I’m 99.9% positive I will never make in a non-law job the money I make now as an attorney.
I was recently interviewed for a book about going to law school and the future of the legal profession in general.
The author sent me a draft copy to review and proof read for my sections.
And as I read more than just the sections in which she quoted me 🙂 I stumbled upon a fascinating 2009 quote from Justice Scalia that I wanted to share with you.
In response to a question about whether the quality of legal counsel appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court was too low, Scalia responded that he felt the opposite … and wondered aloud why so many bright minds were even entering the practice of law. Here’s what he said:
“I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.
“I mean there’d be a … public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
“I mean lawyers,
Recently I had a government form I need to fill out. I received the notice a while back, glanced at it briefly and then filed it away and put it off until last week (completing it a day before the deadline).
I realized that I took so long to complete the form because I had a number of blockers (or fears) getting in my way:
- I just don’t like bureaucracy and forms and paperwork. It’s just not part of my Unique Genius. I get overwhelmed when I think of stuff I need to fill out. I can say “that’s just me” but really it’s a belief system I have.
- I was annoyed I even had to fill this out. I’m a dutiful citizen, but I still can’t help feel that a government form gets in the way of my work, my family time, and my life. I mean, c’mon, there is too much paperwork in our lives already!
- Also, I don’t like actual paper. I am a digital person nowadays … I was going to have to print up these forms, I would need to write a hard copy check,
My son and I were in line at my neighborhood cafe here in San Francisco when he pulled on my sleeve and told me to look up.
High up on the walls was a large, subtle 180 degree mural of the neighborhood right outside the door: Our area’s hills, valleys, houses, schools, roads. It was beautiful and lifelike and done in such an understated way, that it pulled you in without you even realizing it.
But there was more. If you look very carefully, you can see that the muralist included small phrases and messages and questions throughout the nooks and crannies of the mural. Below the rain gutter of a house. Hidden on a roof.
The one my eyes jumped to was “What kind of stories do you tell?”
What stories do you, unhappy attorney, tell yourself?
What stories do you tell yourself … that keep you in the place you are right now?
- I am [insert religious/ethnic/culture group here] and being a lawyer is just what we do.
- I was a liberal arts major, so I can’t do anything but be a lawyer.