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What It’s Really Like Being A Lawyer, Then Leaving Law

Liz Brown lived the dream of many law students. She went to one of the best law schools in the country and rose to being a partner at an international BigLaw firm. But then, she quit. Leaving the law has been the best decision she’s made in her career, says Liz, author of Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the J.D. You Have.

Today’s video with Liz is great whether you’re finding your career for the first time or are considering a career change. Liz talks about what being a lawyer is really like (for those of you exploring the different types of lawyers) and shares great advice for those considering pursuing alternative careers for lawyers.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.

Today’s Guest

Life After Law Author Liz BrownProfessor and Writer Liz Brown
Title: Business Law Professor, Bentley University
City: Boston, MA
Law School: Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA
College: Harvard College in Cambridge, MA
Other Career: Liz is author of Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the J.D. You Have (buying via this link supports JDCOT). She was a litigation partner at an international law firm and the executive director of an angel investor network.
Videos: Life After Law & Liz’s Career Advice

Check out Liz Brown’s Book:

Life After Law coverLife After Law: Finding Work You Love With the J.D. You Have
(Buying from this Amazon link supports JDCOT.)
 

 

TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW

This is a preview of the transcript for the interview with Liz Brown.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career guidance video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone – Marc Luber here. Today we’re talking to the author of a great new book called Life After Law: Finding Work You Love With the JD You Have.

As many of you already know, I always pursued careers that I love using my JD – first working in the music industry and then working as a legal recruiter.

Both because of my personal path and because of what I learned as a legal recruiter, I decided it was important on the site here to have video content that both covered the traditional law careers as well as the alternative careers for lawyers so you can see the different law graduate jobs out there and how to go and get them.

As a legal recruiter, I saw every day by talking to associates at big law firms that there were a lot of people interested in leaving the law – but they felt stuck. They weren’t sure what to do or how to go about doing it.

This is a really big topic. The ABA National Meeting in San Francisco recently covered it. I actually spoke there on this topic, giving tips on how to go about pursuing alternative careers for lawyers.

The first thing you should know if you feel stuck is that you’re not alone – but also, you’re not stuck. There are so many different ways that you can use your skill sets and strengths from law school and law practice to pursue other law graduate jobs that you’ll find very fulfilling.

Today’s guest agrees. She wrote this excellent book, Life After Law, on this exact topic – and she really nailed it. Our guest is Liz Brown. Liz was an IP litigator at a big law firm. After making partner she chose to leave law and transfer her skills, strengths and interests to becoming a business law professor.

Today, Liz is a full-time, tenure track professor at Bentley University, where she’s teaching both undergraduates and MBA students on business law. So I’m gonna hold up her book again here, Life After Law.

I’m excited for you to meet Liz, so let’s meet Liz! Liz, welcome to JDCOT.

Liz: Great to be here.

Luber: I’m happy you’re here. So Liz, tell us about this. You have some real good points there early in the book where you talk about how so often lawyers are unhappy and leaving law because they went to law school when they really shouldn’t have gone in the first place. Talk to us about that.

Liz: For a lot of people, the decision to go to law school was more of a default option after graduating with a liberal arts degree and not really knowing exactly what they wanted to do. I was one of those people.

So I think this is happening less and less now that the new crop of college students are seeing how easily people with JDs can be unemployed. But for many, many years, it seems like you could do anything with a law degree and if you went to law school it was pretty sure that you would get a decent job and sometimes a really phenomenally paying job when you got out.

So people went into law school with the idea that if they could write credibly, speak well, make a good argument, and a lot of us grew up being told that we were great at arguing so therefore we should be a lawyer, law school seemed like a pretty sensible career path. And it’s just no longer the case.

So you have a lot of people who have gotten their JDs, gone into law practice but really didn’t want to be lawyers or really now don’t want to be lawyers and that’s a problem that we need to solve.

Luber: Don’t you find that so often people didn’t even research what you could do with a law degree, they kind of dove in?

I always felt that there’s people who’ll put more research into their vacation, into what beach they’re going to lay at as opposed to what they’re going to commit three years of money and time and sweat and hard work into and haven’t yet figured out what’s waiting or not waiting on the other end of that three-year commitment, right?

Liz: Well, vacation is so much more fun to think about than, “What am I going to do for pay when I have to do something for pay!?”

But I think that’s right and one of the pieces of advice I give people who are thinking about law school or who are in law school now is to do much more of that kind of research that you’re talking about and think about whether or not law might be right for them and what else is out there, and that is a question that really can only be answered well by doing a lot of personal research, by which I mean talking to people who actually have the job that you think you might want to have so that you understand what the day-to-day realities are.

I think if more people found out what it was like to practice law, whether it’s in a big law firm setting or as district attorney or in-house, they might think twice about going for that option and spending all the time and money training for something that they don’t really want to do.

Luber: Yeah. It’s just not the right fit for everybody. It’s a very exciting, great fit for somebody, not for everybody. Let’s dive deeper into this. We’ll do that in the Full Interview – where we’ll talk more about Liz’s book, Life After Law, and you’ll hear Liz share lots more great advice.

And you should all know that this site, JDCOT, is a resource to help you do all of that research Liz and I are talking about. When you join the JDCOT membership, you’ll get access to our full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people say about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

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©2016 Careers Out There

 
Which sounds better to you: practicing law or leaving law? The only right answer is the one that’s right for you so share your thoughts and questions in the Comments section below.

Related Advice

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GET MY FREE SELF-ASSESSMENT!

Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.