Five years ago, I attended my firm’s annual Associates’ Committee meeting as my office’s associate representative. I listened to a presentation by the Director of Attorney Talent and thought to myself: “I want that job.” Yet, it wasn’t until several years later that I finally made the decision to pursue a position in the legal professional development field.
It’s not easy leaving a job as an attorney in Big Law. I had spent three demanding years studying to get my JD and 10 stressful years practicing as a litigator at two big firms. How was I going to give up the prestige of my title and a decade of practice to start a new career in my late 30s? And how was I ever going to give up a Big Law salary? (Those golden handcuffs are no joke.) Moreover, my job was manageable. Sure, my first few years as a junior associate were beyond taxing, where I had to work more 15-hour-plus days than I care to remember, reschedule countless dinner plans, and cancel a vacation to Spain. But over the years, I had managed to develop a decent work-life balance — albeit with some extremely busy stretches — at least for a Big-Law litigator.