How I Stopped Being a Fraud as an Attorney

You may suffer from “imposter syndrome” as an attorney, and feel like you do not know what you are doing day to day.

But there is a way to stop this. Here’s how …

Video Transcript

Casey Berman, founder of Leave Law Behind and I am as always happy to be with you in this short video.

I want to talk to you today about something that I know I experienced as an attorney and you probably have experienced or likely experiencing it and that is feeling like a fraud.  Just feeling like a fraud as an attorney, just feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing which of course, is a huge cause of the disconnect, of the misalignment we have with being an attorney and hence, our unhappiness.

You know, I’ll tell you a quick story. I am born and raised here in San Francisco and back in 1989, a long time ago, there was a very big earthquake here that disrupted the World Series, knocked down a bunch of freeways, there were deaths, there was a big fire. It was really tragic to the city. My grandmother who was alive at the time said, “You know what, Casey? You should write this down. This is a big deal. Get a journal and start jotting down you notes and thoughts.” and I did.

It was a great idea and I’ve been keeping a journal ever since. I wrote about that and fast forward, a few years later to law school and I’m a 2L trying to get through Crim Pro and I’m just not understanding it and I remember writing in my journal, “My confidence is on fumes.” I mean how sad is that? Here I am in Law School and I’m just, I’m at my lowest. I don’t know what I’m doing. I felt like a fraud in Law School. I really had no idea what was going on.

So then you fast forward to a job and I was In-House Counsel for a company called Workshare, software licensing and this is where I got even more anxious. I mean in Law School, I felt like, “Alright, I’ll get through Law School and I’ll find my groove and a job.”

But now, I’m a lawyer. Now, I’m actually being paid for something and I’m not finding my groove. I’m being paid to do law stuff. I’m being paid to be a lawyer. I’m being paid to know this and it didn’t happen. I didn’t really get my groove. I didn’t understand what it meant to be a lawyer. Sure, I got by and I helped and it was probably better than I thought or to this day I think I was but I still felt like a fraud then. i didn’t really enjoy the work. I didn’t enjoy the subject matter. I didn’t really feel that confident. I didn’t enjoy the subject matter and that extended to where I was as an attorney. I just wasn’t in alignment. I wasn’t connected. I never was really in the flow with the job and I have a feeling that if you’re watching this video you probably feel the same way all the time, some of the time, most of the time.

You’re probably nodding your head and that you feel like a fraud. You feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t want people to call you out on precedent or on research or on whether you did something you want to stay quiet. You don’t want anyone to know really what you’re doing because you don’t want to be called out. Now the way that I have found alignment in my life, the way I found happiness, the way that I have been able to get beyond this idea of being a fraud as an attorney is to find a non-law alternative career. I left the law. I tried different things but there really was no way I was going to align with the law. I went to Law School probably not for the most critically thought out reasons. So I ended up being an attorney and I wasn’t a fit with it. It all made sense and so, I left. I’ve done a number of things and now I’m leading this company, Leave Law Behind.

I want to say the same thing to you. I want to encourage you to stop feeling like a fraud. I want to encourage you to get in the flow. Wouldn’t be great to just kinda get in the zone? To do something everyday that you enjoy, that you’re good at, that you’re paid well for, that adds value, that helps people that just comes to you. Sure, there are stresses and deadlines and learning new things and learning curves, of course, but when you’re doing something that you’re just in the zone about, you can learn them. You can deal with the anxieties. You can deal with the stress. You actually look forward to the challenge as supposed to kind of shirking away as an unhappy attorney who feels like they’re not good at it.

So I really want to push you now. You are watching this video because you want to leave the law. You know deep down that you are unhappy as being an attorney. Wouldn’t feel great to not feel like a fraud anymore? Well, I have a very quick and easy way for you to do this, to take that first step and that is to come talk to me.