Alternative Legal Careers

How to resist the allure of a traditional practice

By Kathy Morris
Going own way.

Going own way.

The following is an except from a Student Lawyer magazine article posted January 1, 2017, on “How to resist the allure of a traditional practice” where deputy student editor, Erik Badia, interviewed Kathy Morris, Founder of Under Advisement Ltd. and Founding Chair of the ABA Career Center Board, on her path into a successful and satisfying alternative career path as well as a few others on their path into starting a solo practice.

The unique pressure of the recruiting process brings active job-hunting and relentless auditioning dropped right in the middle of studying for your degree. While you’re still trying to figure out what proximate cause is, you’re also told to apply for internships or clerkships that may well define your career path for years to come.

This is all part of the “traditional” legal career path often pressed upon law students by their schools and peers: Trying to line up a job with BigLaw, as in-house counsel at a corporation, or in the public sector.

While many students are happy going this “traditional route,” it’s only one type of the law school experience. It’s not everyone’s experience, and it doesn’t have to be yours. Whether it’s because you can’t imagine working in a giant law firm, you’re not in the top 20 percent of your class, or you dream of starting your own practice, going the “nontraditional” way can be lucrative and very gratifying.

Let those who’ve taken the road less traveled tell you how you might do the same and avoid the pressure to become a partner at BigLaw or an ADA for your local county.

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