This testimonial is from Tracy Huang, a BigLaw anti-trust associate we helped leave the law to become a systems analyst & project manager at an educational technology startup
Had I not signed up for Leave Law Behind: I would still be stuck in a private firm job where I had no free time for myself, stressed out about billing enough hours, and feeling like a 100 watt bulb in a 40 watt world. I would not be enjoying my weekends shopping at farmers’ markets, training martial arts, or volunteering as a mentor. I would still be googling “I hate my law job” and “should I quit my law job” and spent my “lunch” hour endlessly scrolling through LinkedIn. I would have never heard compliments about my work from my new company about how I’m “so well suited for operations” and how “it’s been a game-changer” since I’ve joined.
Leaving the Law: A Solvable Problem I had three main barriers to leaving the law, which the Leave Law Behind Program helped me solve. First, I was worried about money. I felt like I couldn’t leave my job because I had too much law school debt. After going through the modules designed to get a better money mindset, I found myself more comfortable with the idea that I could live comfortably on something less than a six figures salary. I learned how to accurately map my projections of what I needed, as well as exploring why I felt like my security was tied to money. In an unexpected step, because I had started to implement several money-saving strategies prior to quitting, I was actually able to make several bold leaps to pay off my law school debt before I left the program. Second, I was worried about what people in my life would think once I had left the law. I care a lot about having good relationships with people. Even though I was very nervous about doing so, I was able to get to a point to break the news to my parents that I was leaving the law. I also was able to talk to my husband about my decision to leave and what that would mean in terms of our financial situation in the short and medium term. I felt like the program gave me confidence to respond to the objections that people would have to my decision to leave the law in an authentic way. (Though, spoiler alert, most people don’t think that leaving the law is as big of a deal as it might feel to you. I think that’s good.) Third, I was able to find out what I was really good at and what I really liked to do. The program showed me how to reach out to my network to help me identify my Unique Genius (the skills and strengths that make me stand out). Prior to joining the program, I actually was very resistant to the idea of a Unique Genius, because I didn’t think I had one. I was able to overcome this imposter syndrome by going through the program. In short, I learned how to believe (and convince others) that I was qualified and capable of succeeding in a non-law job.
Benefits of the Program It took me about eight months from my initial conversation with Casey to starting my new non-law job. I was able to keep my head up while still working at my firm to pay the bills and figure out my next steps. Casey made me feel very comfortable; I never felt rushed or pressured to leave the law prematurely. When I left, I was ready to do so, financially and emotionally. The program served as a step by step guide to move me from one stepping stone to the next at a time. The program anticipates the challenges you face when you are trying to leave the law, and it helps you prepare for them in advance. This can be really helpful if you’re short on time, or if you understand the value of not reinventing the wheel for a complex endeavor. It was the lifeline I needed to get the courage and skills to leave the law. Whenever I started to feel panicky at the firm, I reminded myself that I was taking the steps I needed to make my situation better. If I needed an extra shot of reassurance, I’d hop on a call with Casey or make sure that I attended the live trainings that did a deeper dive into the content or interviewed someone who had left the law. A positive effect from Leave Law Behind was that I learned how to take back control of my life and accurately value my professional skills. In going through the program, I learned how to a clear reason for why I wanted to leave the law and why I would succeed elsewhere. It sounds weird, but small things like an eye for detail and a knack for communication are huge assets to an organization. At a firm, it’s easy to underestimate their importance because you’re in a weird bubble where perfection is mandatory. Once you start to observe and see how valuable you really are as a professional, it becomes easier to network with non-law people and ask for their time.
Is the price worth it?
If you’re on the fence about whether the price is really worth it, consider doing the same thought experiment that I did before I enrolled. Think about how much you spend on possessions or services to ease your pain of being in a terrible job. Now think about how much money you would save if you had less stress to begin with. For me, I was spending thousands of dollars spent on acupuncture, junk food, and counseling to deal with the stress that my legal job was causing me. Frankly nothing was ever a permanent solution to my problems because the law was never going to work for me. Everything was just a flimsy bandage to a deeper pain I needed to resolve. Once I started to make progress in the program, I found myself no longer needing those things to help with stress, because I had less stress to begin with.
The program, in this way, will pay for itself.
Can’t I Figure Out This Stuff by Myself?
One last note: It’s perfectly fine to decide that the program isn’t for you. You know what is right for you. Some of us are capable of leaving the law without going through the Program.
However, I think the road for me would have been much harder had I gone at it alone. I probably would have left the law because I burned out, not because I made an intentional, reasoned choice to leave. I left on good terms with my firm and had a clear narrative as to why we were parting ways.
And if you think that your firm or job won’t be supportive of your decision…well, that might be more the reason to consider leaving. :-)
Since graduating from the Leave Law Behind Career Coaching Program:
I am a much happier, calmer person. I look forward to work on Mondays. I take days off when I need to, and I work overtime because I want to do a good job. I still get to call myself a lawyer when I want to. People respect me when they find out that I passed the bar and practiced the law. It’s not something I feel like I have to do to get respect; it’s an option. In short, my identity is no longer tied to being only a lawyer. I also get to use what skills I learned as a practicing attorney every single day, just in a much more interesting context than legal work.
I feel like a more whole person. Sometimes, when things are really going well, I have to stop myself because the contrast with my past misery is so profound. I’m really glad and grateful that Leave Law Behind exists.
Life is short. Do something that matters.
EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WE HAVE HELPED