When I left the practice of law in 2000, the most common question from non-lawyers was “why?” Many lawyers asked, “how?” The disconnect stemmed from the general perception of law as a glorious career. High pay, high prestige, and great excitement, as illustrated by countless TV shows and movies showing the lives of lawyers. The first two descriptors were more or less true. But the actual work done by most lawyers was and is entirely different than depicted in the entertainment industry.
I started my career as a criminal prosecutor in Philadelphia. Going to court, dealing with real cops and killers, and battling with colorful defense attorneys was the job. I should have paid more attention to the many prosecutor alumni who would come back to tell us that we had the best legal job we would ever have. I did recall thinking: “that’s strange, shouldn’t work get better as time goes on?” Some time as a federal prosecutor in Washington DC lowered the excitement since I was prosecuting white collar crime (financial shenanigans are not that interesting) and then my excitement dimmed in my short stays in Washington DC and Connecticut law firms.
When I started The Learning Consultants, I primarily worked with Connecticut high school students. When I met parents who were attorneys, they would invariably pepper me with questions about how I “escaped” – (yes, escaped was far and away the most common word) used.
Since running Career Counseling Connecticut, the vast majority of my clients are not lawyers. Lawyers are very practical people and wishful thoughts of switching careers are usually squashed by their skeptical brains. For the brave lawyers who want to turn their wishes into reality, we can help.