Career alternatives for attorneys

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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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 fifth 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 fifth step attorneys can take to leave the law. Previous articles in this series can be found here, here, here, and here.

As we discussed in the first four 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….

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Over the years, I’ve met a fair number of ministers who have become lawyers and lawyers who have become ministers. Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising, given the commonalities between law and organized religion. Both fields are built around rules, give great weight to precedents and higher authorities, involve age-old institutions, and are generally dominated by men.

So maybe it’s not shocking to hear about someone who went from being a Biglaw partner to a minister and university chaplain. But it’s still quite interesting and unusual.

Let’s learn how one lawyer went from working for The Man to working for The Man — Upstairs….

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We know how much our readers enjoy greeting cards. Our annual holiday card contest here at Above the Law is one of our site’s most popular (and positive) features.

But what about cards for other occasions? So many of them are clichéd or lame. And the number of events that they speak to is definitely underinclusive.

A former Biglaw associate is here to help….

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Do you know the difference between a delicatessen and an appetizing shop?

No? Well, today’s stealth lawyer can tell you all about it. He’s a Georgetown Law grad who walked away from litigating to take over the family business, founded by his grandfather, and in the process kept a Lower East Side mainstay successfully rolling into the next generation….

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The stereotypical lawyer is risk-averse. But every stereotype has exceptions. Some lawyers — perhaps you? — have ideas for innovations that they leave the law to pursue.

Are you interested in leaving the practice of law to pursue an entrepreneurial venture? Maybe you can learn some lessons from the experiences of today’s lawyer turned businessperson….

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The subject of reparations for slavery has spawned lawsuits, critical inquiry, (affiliate link), and threw a wrench in the Bartlet administration’s plans.

So far, the idea has gained little traction, probably because companies like Aetna really like all that compound interest earned on the backs of treating human beings like chattel, thank you very much.

The subject also sets the stage for a new novel in this week’s look at career alternatives for attorneys, from our friends at Bloomberg Law

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In today’s increasingly interconnected world, economic opportunities present themselves at every turn. For example, you could leave the practice of law to start an import/export business. There’s money to be made, and satisfaction to be had, in taking great goods from one country and bringing them over to a new market. Free trade is a beautiful thing (unless you’re unskilled labor).

But how do you figure out what products to import or export? Today’s lawyer turned importer entered the business after buying the product for herself while on vacation. She checked it out with a friend and was blown away by the quality.

What kind of product are we talking about? Well, she started her legal career working for the U.S. Department of Justice, and now she’s a pot dealer….

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