Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, in the fourth of five related articles, Casey Berman, founder of Leave Law Behind, a blog and community that focuses on helping unhappy attorneys leave the law, discusses the fourth step attorneys can take to leave the law. Previous articles in this series can be found here, here, and here.
As we discussed in the first three articles of this series, through Leave Law Behind, I work with many intelligent attorneys who nonetheless are unhappy and want to leave the law behind and do something else. They want to change their life and their work and their focus with the goal to be more satisfied, more confident, and happier.
I tell them the first step in leaving the law behind involves getting a handle on their money situation; to become as confident and exact as possible in understanding (i) their expenses, as well as any (ii) safety net and other sources of financial support they can call upon if needed….
The second step in leaving law behind is about not letting your past undermine your future. More specifically, this step involves resolving any lingering demons law school may hold over your head (squeezing out more of a ROI from my law school “investment,” ensuring my identity is tied to being an attorney, what else would I do if I’m not a lawyer, etc.) that prevents you from moving forward with positive change in your life.
The third step in leaving law behind involves focusing on exploring your Unique Genius. Your Unique Genius is made up of those skills and strengths that come so naturally to you, so effortlessly to you, that you don’t even think of them as a skill. It is upon these skills that you do so well that you will begin to base your post-lawyer life and career. It is with these strengths at which you excel that you will begin to create a life of confidence and self-worth.
The fourth step? Facing your fears. You can plan as much as you’d like, disconnect from law school, and be as self-analytical as you want. But nothing will happen — you will never be able to create a new life for yourself unless you face down and begin to manage your fears of change and of leaving the law. This is a life-long process, of course, but as with anything, there are small, incremental steps you can take now to build up the courage, emotion, and structure to face your fears and begin to leave law behind.
What are some of these fears that prevent us from creating change and leaving law behind? There are many.