Are you contemplating a career change? Perhaps working at a big firm isn’t exactly your thing, or you long to return to your small-town roots. It could be a change to another area of law—or the really big leap—leaving the practice of law.
A lot of lawyers just like you are diving into new career moves—some out of necessity and some because new models of practice are turning up. If you’re thinking it’s time for a change, the personal stories in this issue will give you some perspective on making the leap to something new, and perhaps nudge you closer to the big decision.
No matter what you decide, it’s clear that the days of throwing your professional future on the mercy of a firm are long gone. Stephen Gallagher’s article gives you a big-picture view of some shifts within the profession that have led many lawyers to choose to become “free agents” and take full responsibility for their own career paths. The lawyers we asked to tell their stories in this issue have done just that. Do you see yourself in any of these people? John Snyder left his associate job at a big firm for the uncertain life of the fledgling legal entrepreneur. His article has great advice on launching your own firm. Joanne Horton chose to return to her hometown after working as a big city litigator. It was a huge decision for her, and she tells us about making the transition to a general practitioner as a law partner with her father in rural . Billie Tarascio found the vast majority of her family law clients couldn’t afford to pay standard attorney rates. Did she leave family law? No. Instead she has set out to find a better practice model. And Greg Hague was a successful real estate executive who, at 62, found himself unhappily working with banks on foreclosures. He decided to return to his first career choice and made the leap back into law!
If you are like most people contemplating change, you need some help figuring out your career sweet spot—that is, what type of work you really want, and where you will be happiest. In an excerpt from Job Quest for Lawyers, Sheila Nielsen provides step-by-step guidance to help you prepare for your job search. And Wendy Werner highlights some of the career assessment tools that can help steer you in the right direction.
I know from personal experience the pressures and stress of big career change decisions. Finding a career that is the right fit for you personally and professionally will make you a happier, more fulfilled person. If you are contemplating a career change, I hope this issue helps you find and make the right choice.