Career Alternatives

Think Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) of Scandal, but with a Biglaw background.

Consulting is a popular path for law students and lawyers. Legal education and practice can help hone the analytical and communication skills required of consultants. Both lawyers and consultants solve problems — often complex, intractable problems — and are rewarded handsomely for their efforts.

Are you interested in pursuing consulting as a possible career path? Today we introduce you to a lawyer turned consultant who reminds us of Olivia Pope of Scandal — a high-powered troubleshooter who is confident, eloquent, and attractive….

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Sheena Monnin

Ed. note: We hope that you had a great July 4th — and that you’re enjoying a four-day weekend. But if you’re at work today and looking for diversion, check us early and often — we will be posting today (although on a reduced publication schedule).

* Lawyer of the Day Long Weekend: Christopher Kirby, whose profanity-laced tirade at the mother of a special-education student during a school board meeting has gone viral. Stay classy, Chris. [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of classy, if you make Donald Trump look good, you’re doing it wrong. The $5 million arbitration award against former beauty queen Sheena Monnin just got upheld by Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.). [New York Law Journal]

* Have you been injured in an accident? Call a New York State legislator, who might be earning a six-figure income by moonlighting at a personal-injury firm. [New York Times]

* Nationwide layoff watch: Dickstein dismisses seven partners in New York. [WestlawNext Practitioner Insights (sub. req.)]

* Who doesn’t love rule by lawyers? Adli Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, takes over as the nation’s interim leader. [New York Times]

* If you’re feeling the heat in D.C. these days, lawyer turned ice cream entrepreneur Victoria Lai can help. [Washington Post]

What should unemployed law school graduates do when they can’t find work and can’t feed themselves? A certain great French princess — although not Marie Antoinette, FYI — might say, “Let them eat cake.”

But not everyone can afford cake. Debt-burdened young (and not-so-young) lawyers don’t want to spend dough; they want to make it.

Perhaps literally as well as figuratively. Do you have some talent in the kitchen? Here’s an inspiring story for you….

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For some people, a career in Biglaw can lead to some serious mental health issues. The odds are high that in some point in your life, you’ll wind up inside a therapist’s office to lament whatever ails you.

But for other people, a career in Biglaw can inspire a will to offer counsel — of the therapeutic variety — to people who’ve been worked to death. And who better to do so than someone who used to work for one of the most prestigious law firms in the world?

You, too, can land a job on the other side of the couch. It’s time to slip off those white shoes, and find out how you can make the transition…

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For those who are brilliant (and lucky) enough to get hired, being a law professor is a great job. You get to write and teach about interesting subjects. You get the summers off — yes, we know you have articles to work on, but you have total flexibility about your hours and location. You get to be a public intellectual, writing for newspaper op-ed pages and magazines. And you get paid well, too.

If you have an unusual personality, don’t sweat it. Legal academia is welcoming to sociopaths. And sadists, too.

If you enjoy inflicting pain on others, being a law prof is a great gig. Using the Socratic Method, you get to torture 1Ls — and many of them will eat it up. As a law professor, the winner of multiple teaching awards, once told me, “The students like it when you’re a hard-ass; they like to be challenged.”

Many law students don’t mind verbal victimization, but they’d probably draw the line at physical contact. Which brings us to a high-profile law professor who goes around sticking needles in people….

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Many moons ago, around this time of year, I worked as a summer associate at Wachtell Lipton. I enjoyed many a fine meal that summer (although Wachtell’s program is more work-focused and less lunch-focused than many others). One of my favorite occasions was a dinner at Jean-Georges with partner Karen Krueger, her husband, myself, and a girlfriend of mine.

Oh how times have changed. It’s rare to see partners leave the gilded cage of Wachtell Lipton, where annual profits per partner regularly exceed $4 million. But Krueger had the guts to make the jump. She left the practice of law and now works as a nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.

What is the Alexander Technique? If you suffer from pain, perhaps as a result of your stressful law firm job, it could be your salvation. And it might help you with your poker game, too….

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I should have gone to law school instead of doing the e-learning.

– Dan Sandler, commenting on a career alternative he might have pursued had he not become an anti-Semitic street performer in an Elmo costume. Sandler was recently charged with grand larceny, aggravated harassment, and stalking, after allegedly attempting to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts of the USA.

(On second thought, he’d like to “continue doing [his] Elmo gig because [he] make[s] a lot of money.” Ideally, he’d like to do it for the rest of his life.)

It’s just nice clothing. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Are you afraid of fashion? You’re not alone.

Many male lawyers would rather not deal with picking clothes. These attorneys can negotiate billion-dollar deals or address juries without fear, but the concept of “business casual” fills them with terror.

If you count yourself among the fashion-impaired — or if you see yourself as stylish, but in need of a wardrobe expansion — here are two lawyers who can help….

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The West Wing, one of television’s most celebrated dramas, ended its run six years ago this month. But in the hearts of many lawyers, the West Wing lives on, as the stuff of dreams.

Working in the West Wing of the White House — in proximity to the President of the United States, on the most important issues of the day — is why many people go to law school. [FN1] But the vast majority of them never come close to making that dream a reality.

How can you land a job in the West Wing? Here’s the story of how one lawyer did it. And she didn’t even have to toil that long in the Biglaw salt mine….

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Rock concerts are more fun than closings.

A fair number of lawyers or law school graduates work in creative fields. Over the years, “recovering lawyers” have worked as writers, actors, and even painters (such as Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky).

But you won’t find many lawyers who are rock stars — and I’m not talking about tax or securities law “rock stars,” but actual, literal rock stars. The free-association creativity needed to make music goes against the inside-the-box thinking prized in the legal profession. Music also involves math, and we all know that lawyers — even lawyers for the IRS — are “not good at math.”

There are, however, exceptions to every rule. A few folks with legal training have entered the music world — including Julio Iglesias, Rubén Blades, and today’s “stealth lawyer,” an attorney turned rock star….

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