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					   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                                                   1. 800. 973.1177

Is Considering Career Alternatives an Alternative for You?
[Chet Olsen]
Most attorneys have one thing in common - they don’t want to be attorneys. Is the unhappiness that is rampant throughout the profession due to the profes-
sion itself or the attorneys getting in the wrong situations?

One thing that most lawyers have in com-              law you have an issue with or is it something     more.” In other words, maybe you like the
mon is that they don’t want to be lawyers.            else? There are several things that could be      law but it takes so much out of you that it’s
It’s almost part of the lawyer culture to be          that “something else.”                            no longer fun or enjoyable. In this case,
constantly searching for something new and                                                              maybe too much of a good thing is bad and
different. We are inspired by stories of for-         1. Your own situation. Maybe there are not        you just need to manage your workload.
mer lawyers who go out and start airlines or          a million and one of them, but there are
produce television shows. We tell ourselves           many options available to you in your current     4. Are you itching to start and run your own
that’s how we want to put our legal education         profession. Working in the DA’s office could      business? Whether you had a Rich Dad or
to work.                                              be as different from being a bankruptcy at-       a Poor Dad, you may be feeling the urge to
                                                      torney in a large firm as it is to many of the    start your own business. When most lawyers
Producing television programs may or may              nonlegal jobs you might consider. In other        do this, they think about what kind of busi-
not be in your future but, at one time or             words, don’t give up all you put into becom-      ness venture they might want to launch. Take
another, you have probably been intrigued by          ing a lawyer to become an insurance adjuster      a minute to consider that a law practice can
an advertisement for one of those seminars            when you haven’t thought through all your         be very much like your own business. This is
focusing on nonlegal careers for attorneys.           options.                                          true if you start your own firm or it can also
These ads are placed by individual career                                                               be true within a law firm environment.
counselors and career counseling com-                 2. What you are looking for may be closer
panies that specialize in helping lawyers             than you think. Be careful not to make the        Especially when you hit the partnership level,
escape the law. I may be exaggerating a bit,          assumption that all law firms are alike - even    or even as an of counsel, you may be able to
but the names of these companies and their            if you have worked for two or three that were     find a situation where you can work autono-
seminars are typically something like “A Mil-         very much alike. Again, there are big differ-     mously, be paid directly for your efforts and
lion and One Things You Can Do With a Law             ences to be found. A larger or smaller firm,      call most of the shots. Some firms, of course,
Degree” and “Lawyers Who Quit the Law and             a firm in another geographic region, starting     will be more conducive to this than others
Ended Up Marrying Michelle Pfeiffer.”                 your own firm - these are all options that can    but the point is that, again, you might find
                                                      give you an entirely different perspective on     what you are looking for within the legal
If you attend these seminars and/or read              the law.                                          profession.
books on this topic, you will get some of
the things you need but may not get all you           3. Is it law or is it working that you don’t      5. Finally, it may be that you just need to give
were looking to find. In other words, I don’t         like? If you are just our of law school, it may   yourself some time before making the jump
think many people walk out of there saying            be that you are having trouble adjusting to       out of law. Your situation might improve and
to themselves “Hot damn, I now know I was             working forty or more hours a week for the        you’ll enjoy the law more as you get more
meant to be an astronaut. I’ve got to call            first time in your life. Speaking of adjusting,   senior. One of the advantages of paying your
NASA right away.”                                     if this is the case, you probably won’t enjoy     dues practicing law is that more and more
                                                      insurance adjusting any more than you do          opportunities present themselves to you.
One of the good things about considering              practicing law.                                   With a few years under your belt, you will
career alternatives outside the law is that it                                                          have a better sense of what you are looking
makes you seriously consider how you really           If you are used to working forty or more          for and be in a position to do things you were
feel about being an attorney. If you’re unhap-        hours a week, that too could be a problem.        not qualified for just out of law school.
py with your current career situation, is it the      Especially if the “or more” is “or much

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   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                   1.800. 973. 1177

If none of the above applies, it might actu-
ally be the case that you are meant to be an


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