How is your legal career working out? If you are like a number of lawyers, not as well as you intended. But that’s OK; it’s OK because you have the power to change your career.
We lawyers went to law school for a variety of reasons: to change the world; to help people; to right wrongs; make a difference; for prestige; for money, of course; for status; as a springboard for politics, etc. And quite a few of us went to law school because we didn’t know what else to do. In my coaching practice I have found that there are many reasons relied upon to go to law school and all of those reasons assume you will enjoy and be successful in your career as an attorney.
But, varied as it is, the law is not for everyone or, put another way, not everyone is a good fit for the legal profession. This doesn’t meet one is a failure, not at all. It means only that there is not a good match between the individual and the career. That’s all.
I have worked with many lawyers over the years for whom the law was not a good fit. Often they realize this early on when it is easier to make a change. Unfortunately for some, they are so far into their careers and burdened by the obligations of our middle years that change is difficult. But it is still possible.
One reason so many attorneys continue with a career that is unsatisfying or does not provide the income they want is because they feel constrained by the money and effort put into becoming a lawyer. This is a common decision-making error referred to as the “sunk costs theory.” You have probably heard about it in terms of financial investments. The investor feels that he has invested so much money into a stock that he cannot sell at a loss. He therefore rides the stock all the way down in value and sustains an avoidable loss.
I am not saying that your legal career was a bad investment. On the contrary, no matter what develops you have achieved success just in becoming a lawyer. Be proud of that. What I am saying that if a legal career is not the right fit, move on as soon as you can. Do not waste your time and your happiness with a career that is unsatisfying and unrewarding.
I have a webpage discussing leaving the law in more detail and you can access it here. One point I make in the page is that before you jump ship altogether, explore some of the many opportunities available to you within the field of law. I have helped clients ready to walk away from the law to find a new practice area or a different law firm that makes all the difference in terms of happiness or financial success.
You deserve success and happiness in your career, within the law or without!