I was on a Twitter chat on Tuesday run by Alison Monahan with a number of thought leaders in the field (Jennifer Alvey, Heather Jarvis, Katie Slater, Ms. JD and others) discussing the topic of whether in today’s economy law school is still worth the investment of time and money.
Through the wide ranging conversation, we began to discuss what skills it takes to make it in the workplace, either in law or outside of law, and Katie Slater (former BigLaw finance lawyer and now coach who helps lawyers discover the next level in their careers) reiterated a great point: Law school is not necessarily a place of skill acquisition. Rather this is done by actually practicing law in the workplace.
It can be easy for us to expound on the skills we learned in law school: Analytical skills, issue spotting, writing skills, persuasion, interview abilities, and on and on. But we all know that we were not able to apply these with any regularity or professional focus until we actually began working as lawyers. And once we began working, we learned so much more than law school ever came close to touching on.
The same goes for leaving the law. While much of what you have learned and can do now as a lawyer is transferable to “alternative” legal jobs or new, non-legal jobs, there is still so much to learn and become good at.
Exploring your unique genius and aligning it with focused babysteps, expansive networking, and targeted informational interviews will likely get your foot in the door to a new position that you enjoy and can excel at. Then the real learning begins (all over again).