How you can manage your time well enough in order to leave the law

 September 17, 2013

By  Casey Berman

I haven’t written a post in eleven days.

Now, I aim to write one or two posts every week. I love writing them, they are (hopefully) helpful to the LLB audience and I like to think of them as the bricks that have helped me build this little passion and hobby of mine into a thriving community .

But, it’s been eleven days since I last posted a blog post. No way around that. And this gap is likely attributable to the same reason many of you may find it difficult to take that first step to leave the law.

I was busy.

Very busy. Busy with work (I head strategy for a tech company here in San Francisco), busy with my family (our three year old and six year old just started school), busy trying to spend quality time with my family, busy (kind of) trying to exercise and play some sports, busy trying to manage a lot of little things (getting new DMV license plate tags, health insurance papers, cleaning out the garage, attending the obligatory weekend toddler birthday party) and busy trying to get at least six hours sleep.

So busy. So who has time to write a blog post? Who has time to even think about leaving the law, much less leave it?

It can be so time consuming (and extremely vulnerable) to ask your family and friends to compliment you so you can explore your Unique Genius. It can be so tiring to research potential people to network with when it’s 11pm and you need to get to sleep for that early morning meeting. It can be very hard to walk out of the office to head to an informational interview when you worry that a partner may be surreptitiously tracking your movements. It can be so boring to take another small, incremental, apparently insignificant babystep.

Managing and carving out the necessary time can be one of the most difficult actions to take to leave the law. But there is no other way.

And when something really needs to get done, there is no other group of people that can more adeptly, confidently and effectively manage their time in order to be productive as we lawyers can.

Remember, we carved out time on Sundays and weekday nights to study for the LSAT senior year in college or in our early twenties. We managed difficult workloads in law school. We managed multiple subjects in order to pass the bar. And right now, we manage multiple case loads, multiple client meetings, multiple briefs, multiple filings, and multiple deadlines, all the while battling the pressures and anxieties of the job while endeavoring to produce accurate, persuasive, and valued work product. We know how to get things done and manage our time … when it really, really counts.

The trick to leaving the law, then, might be not just in managing our time, but also in making it count.

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  1. Casey,

    Not sure if you’ve got it somewhere on your blog – or elsewhere – but if not, I’d love to hear the story of your transition from practice to your job working for the tech company. While my long-term aspirations are still in the formation stage, short-term, as I think about moving out of the practice, I see myself doing something somewhat similar to what you did i.e. moving from being a business lawyer to a business leader.

    Would love to read your story if you’d like to share it.

    Take Care,

    1. Hi Dan

      Thanks for the urging and the interest. I’ll begin on it soon – I just stated as CSO at FileRight, and now I’m able to look back on the past things I’ve done with a bit more reflection, and experience. Let me get on it!


  2. I didn’t study for the LSAT. And I only studied for the law school exams the month prior to them. Of course, I did keep up with the work, but it never seemed that oppressive.

    Indeed, I liked law school. But then reading about people’s problems and struggles is a lot more fun than being involved in them, or a combatant in them.

    I guess that’s part of the problem. What reward is there for being good in the law? Only that your days fill up with more problems that are worse and worse.

    1. Thanks for the comments. Yes, true, many in the LLB community actually enjoyed law school and did well there … or at least didn’t mind it.

      But when the theoretical moves to the real, things can change. And what may align with your Unique Genius in law school may not be the case in the practice of law.

      The reward, in my mind, is doing work that optimizes your skills, strengths and enjoyments. The reward is self confidence, and self worth and happiness … whether that’s in the law or out of it.

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