Despite surveys showing that being a law firm associate is the unhappiest job in America, we know a fair number of happy lawyers. We don’t tend to write about them very much — we like our stories to have a little more bite or edge around here — but there is such a thing as a happy lawyer (affiliate link).
Still, there’s no denying that the stereotype of the miserable lawyer has some truth to it — and that, after a while, some of these lawyers leave the legal profession. Most people who go to medical school end up practicing medicine for the long haul; many people who go to law school end up doing something different after a while.
If you’re thinking of leaving the law, what should you do?
Start by reading “The Only Job With an Industry Devoted to Helping People Quit,” a piece for The Atlantic by Leigh McMullan Abramson, a former Kasowitz Benson associate who’s now a writer. Here’s one source’s summary:
For your readers there probably isn’t anything there they don’t already know. The reason that general-interest media keep doing the “law school grads have tons of debt and can’t get jobs” story is that a general audience has lots of people who haven’t read that already. And The Atlantic has a lot of people who think of the law as a prestige profession and will be shocked to learn there’s a whole industry built around helping people escape. But most lawyers already know that….
Okay, the bottom line of Abramson’s article might not be novel to many of our readers — but the piece serves as a comprehensive clearinghouse of resources for lawyers interested in exploring career alternatives. Here are some of the people, books, and websites mentioned in the piece (several of them prior contributors to, or coverage subjects for, Above the Law):
1. Liz Brown (@LizAfterLaw), author of Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the J.D. You Have (affiliate link).
3. Eileen Wolkstein, a New York career consultant.
If you’re looking for guidance as you think about transitioning out of the law, the resources mentioned above are an excellent place to start. You can also browse through Above the Law’s career alternatives coverage for possible inspiration and check out the ATL Career Center. Good luck!
The Only Job With an Industry Devoted to Helping People Quit [The Atlantic]