Career Alternatives

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?

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Dr. N. Robert Riordan

Dr. N. Robert Riordan is a graduate of NYU School of Law and a former U.S. securities attorney for London- and Sydney-based Herbert Smith Freehills. After 10 years of practice in New York, London and Rome, he made the switch from corporate law to private practice as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Riordan now acts as a therapist to dozens of NYC attorneys. The following is the second of a two-part interview with Dr. Riordan. (You can read the first part here.)

ATL: In addition to professionals like attorneys, whom do you see in your private practice?

The remainder of my practice focuses on couples. I work with two distinct types of couples. First, I see couples whose romantic relationships are in crisis. The goal here is to improve their bond to one another. I happen to see many couples where both parties are professionals, and, most often, each member of the couple is struggling to balance personal and professional demands.

ATL: I would imagine that couples come to treatment for a variety of reasons.

I work with many couples whose connection to one another has been strained by things like demanding careers, childrearing, or an unexpected financial hardship. These couples are looking to recapture the connection that originally brought them together and to start working as a partnership again. Also I work with a handful of couples who are facing specific challenges, like infidelity or the loss of a child.

ATL: Has your training as an attorney prepared you for the conflicts that presumably arise in couples’ therapy?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Attorneys’ Psychologist (Part 2)”

* The D.C. Circuit struck down a key component of Obamacare while a few miles away, the Fourth Circuit disagreed. This sets up an intriguing circuit split that will be resolved as soon as the D.C. Circuit takes it up en banc. Until then though, let the mainstream media talking heads freak out about what this all means. [NBC News]

* Professor Thane Rosenbaum writes in the Wall Street Journal (natch!) defending the deaths of civilian Palestinians using the same logic that Osama bin Laden used to justify 9/11. He probably should have done a little more research. [Slate]

* Amelia Boone, a Skadden Chicago bankruptcy associate, is a world champion Tough Mudder and Spartan Race runner. Because who says cruelly abusing yourself has to be limited to the work week? [Outside]

* Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s senior picture from Cornell. [That's What She Said / Jezebel]

* Elie thinks we should all get drunk and go for a bike ride! [ATL Redline]

* From purveyor of justice to purveyor of donuts. [USA Today]

* Congratulations to Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar of Stanford Law on his nomination to the California Supreme Court. If confirmed, maybe Stanford can start advertising about all the state judges they’ve produced. [San Jose Mercury News]

* We’ve heard that Bingham is looking to merge. Lee Pacchia talks to Casey Sullivan about what’s next. Video after the jump… [Mimesis Law]

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Listen to Bill Alverson and this tiara could be yours.

Small-firm lawyer Bill Alverson doesn’t show up on the first page of Google if you search for “lawyer in Andalusia, Alabama,” where Alverson’s firm is based. Which might be a problem for a lawyer relying on Google to generate clients.  After all, Andalusia has a population of only 9,078, so if you can’t make it onto the first page of Google there, can you make it anywhere?

But Alverson needn’t worry because his law practice isn’t an all-encompassing jealous mistress. Instead, Alverson has another kind of mistress on the side of his day job at his small father/son firm, Alverson & Alverson — dozens of them, really. As noted in this past weekend’s New York Times magazine (and today’s Quote of the Day), aspiring beauty queens retain Alverson to coach them to victory at state and national pageants.

Turns out, working with statutes and the statuesque have more in common than one might think….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer’s Crowning Achievement Comes From Focus On Posture, Not Posturing”

‘Your hair looks like [expletive]!’ – Bill Alverson

Being in front of a jury or a judge is the biggest pageant there is. Think of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘12 Angry Men.’ It’s about empowering the people who are going to make a decision to connect the dots. I set up the dots.

Bill Alverson of Alverson & Alverson, commenting on what it takes to win during his day job as a lawyer. Alverson has won cases before the Eleventh Circuit and Alabama’s Supreme Court, but he moonlights as one of America’s most-successful beauty pageant coaches. He’s paid $125 an hour for his unfiltered, tough-love advice, and he’s prepared many Miss USA and Miss America winners in the past.

We broke up. I dropped the bitch cold. No quarter. No compromises. No regrets.

I left the practice of law. Here’s what happened next….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Internet — A ‘Silk Route’ For The Ages”

Dr. N. Robert Riordan

Dr. N. Robert Riordan is a graduate of NYU School of Law and a former U.S. securities attorney for London- and Sydney-based Herbert Smith Freehills. After 10 years of practice in New York, London and Rome, he made the switch from corporate law to private practice as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Riordan now acts as a therapist to dozens of NYC attorneys. The following is the first of a two-part interview with Dr. Riordan.

ATL: The most obvious question first – why the switch from law to clinical psychology?

The short answer is: I grew up. I went to law school when I was 21 years old, and I went with the belief that a law degree would serve me well no matter what I ultimately opted to do in my professional life. I never intended to practice securities law for a decade, but the work was interesting and I was given the opportunity to live in some fascinating places. In time, and with the help of a therapist, I discovered my true professional interests.

ATL: Did you set out to work with attorneys when you started your private practice?

Throughout graduate school, because I was older and a former attorney, I was assigned to work with many professionals as clients. While I have a diverse array of clients, the majority are doctors, lawyers and bankers. We speak the same language.

ATL: Our readers will want to know why attorneys are seeking therapy. Can you discuss this topic?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Attorneys’ Psychologist (Part 1)”

We’ve seen lawyers walk out of Biglaw to do some pretty interesting stuff. From making crazy sex toys to selling gigolos. Maybe there’s a trend there. In any event, a lawyer with a big NYC firm has turned in his proverbial badge and gun to join a “panty-dropping” hit band.

A few months ago this lawyer was just like us. And in a sense, he still is. To borrow from Bruce Dickinson, he still puts his pants on one leg at a time. Except once his pants are on he makes platinum records….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Which Awful Hit Band Did This Lawyer Leave Biglaw To Join?”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Casey Berman of Leave Law Behind discusses how perfectionism can be a barrier to leaving an unhappy career in the law.

Leave Law Behind is a blog and community to help unhappy and dissatisfied attorneys find ways to leave the law behind and create new career paths for themselves. It’s an active community that comments on blog posts, emails me each week, and interacts with each other.

It also contains a huge amount of self-admitted perfectionists, myself included.

You see, while it is rare, every so often I may make a mistake and include a typo in my writing. No matter how many times I review and re-read my posts, sometimes there is a small grammatical error or some other type of inconsistency. In my most recent instance, I saw the typo for the first time right after I hit “Send” on the email newsletter … and published it on Facebook … and tweeted it on Twitter. It was repeated as people forwarded the post along and retweeted. Some readers even emailed me directly to let me know it was there.

My mistake was out there and there was nothing I could do about it.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Marc Luber challenges Jim Saksa’s Slate article, “You Can Do Anything With A Law Degree,” with several viable career alternatives for JDs.

After law school, I took an unpaid internship. When I got my first music industry job in Los Angeles, I was severely underpaid. I sometimes wondered if the job required a high school degree, let alone a law degree. If you asked me then, I would have told you that a J.D. is a joke and that you should stay away from law school at all costs.

But now, I take issue with the idea that “’you can do anything with a law degree’ is a vicious lie.” Articles like these do nothing for unemployed law grads (except provoke righteous indignation) and discourage the many unhappy practicing lawyers from leaving law for paths that better fit their souls.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

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