Ever reach a point where you just…hit a wall?
We’re speaking metaphorically, of course, but say you’ve been working on a case or in a particular type of law for a while and suddenly you look up and it’s like the Shawshank Redemption—there’s fifteen feet of concrete around you and you’ve got nothing but a rock hammer to chisel your way out.
You feel closed in, obstructed, and totally confounded.
And you think to yourself: how the heck did I get here?
More importantly, can I get out?
Yes, you can. Other people have done it, my friend.
Case in point—Brian Clark, founder of Rainmaker Digital (formerly Copyblogger Media).
This is a guy who, one day, decided that working as an associate in the bowels of a Big Firm just didn’t work for him. So, he left said Big Firm and hung out a shingle.
A virtual shingle.
Clark started writing email newsletters with a legal spin. He focused primarily on real estate, eventually building up a fairly decent following.
And from that pool of followers, he picked up a few clients.
And then a few more.
And before he knew it, the question of whether Clark could make a living was moot. He was able to choose the various clients he wanted to take on. His business was thriving, and all because he recognized what wasn’t working for him and took strides to make a change. This change ultimately led Clark to realize that, while he may not make the best associate, he did make a fantastic entrepreneurial lawyer—someone focused on the business aspect of the practice of law.
This type of “half-point pivot” is available to anyone and everyone. It simply takes guts and a willingness to think outside of the legal box you’re currently living in. It also takes vision. You have to be willing and able to look at yourself and determine whether you’re meant for a specific type of law.
For those of you who have already chosen one, you may have noticed that what you thought would be just isn’t. Maybe you’ve discovered that being a Maritime Lawyer doesn’t stroke your inner desire to argue and perhaps you should have gone with being a litigator instead. Maybe the way you practice law within your current field or industry just doesn’t live up to the hopes and dreams you once had, and likely still have.
If you are that person, this article is for you.
Making a switch—or pivoting mid-stride—is very brave. Not only will it serve you personally, it will also serve the law firm you are currently working for. Truth be told, lawyers who do not enjoy their jobs don’t put forth the same kind of effort that lawyers who do. This isn’t a judgment, it’s science. Studies show that employees who are unhappy or only slightly content with their career are less productive than their happier colleagues. It makes sense, if you think about it. When you were a child and you wanted to play, yet your mother or father made you stay inside to clean your room, the results were more than likely sub-par. The spirit in which the cleaning was done was mediocre at best, and the same can be said for doing a job you only marginally enjoy. While you might do a “good job” and get things done on time, imagine if you were working in a type of law that serves you and your personality. Your work ethic and the results would be far superior!
But how can you make this kind of switch so far into the game?
By realizing that you control the game. Changing the type of law you practice mid-stride might seem like starting over, but you’ll really be building on the things you’ve learned thus far. Working in an industry you don’t like isn’t fruitless. It is a powerful tool that, when utilized properly, can help you create a law practice you love.
When you know what you don’t like you can better navigate towards the things that you do. Use your current dissatisfaction as a springboard. Use it to plot out a flight plan that will land you where you are truly meant to be—working in a type of law that plays to your strengths and stirs your heart…
“Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there’s no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.”
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