Earlier this month, U.S. News and World Report had an article on Alternative Career Options for Lawyers. I can relate. After all, the website for my consulting practice, LawyerMeltdown.com, was born out of my own frustration and the frustration of other lawyers I observed around me. One of the reasons I started my consulting practice was to battle those feelings of burnout and to help other lawyers enjoy the practice of law again.
But the truth is that many who obtain a law degree don't find law to be their final career. In some cases, the practice isn't what they expected it to be. In others, changes in other areas of their life prompt a career change. And sometimes the skills, abilities and interests that led one to law school are not necessarily the ones they get to use in practice, and that creates a desire to do something else with their law degree.
Sometimes, a law degree is just a stepping stone. Luckily, those with a law degree have many options.
The US News article relates stories of lawyers who have changed careers, including the story of Tonya Fitzpatrick, a former high powered lawyer who is now the co-host (with her husband) of a radio show called World Footprints and the creator of a media company with a travel focus.
Ellen Covner, a former health care lawyer, started a landscaping business, translating her analytical skills into a way to help clients create properties they can be proud of.
Alexis Grant, author of the US News article, suggests some additional careers for "recovering" lawyers, including teaching or coaching, public speaking, counseling or therapy, or working as an advocate for a non-profit organization. But the truth is that the skills lawyers or law graduates typically possess lend themselves well to any number of other careers.
The key is to identify the skills and experiences you've had in the legal industry and to figure out how those skills and abilities can be used in another industry - perhaps one you have more passion for, or one which has always been 'just a hobby' but has the potential to sustain you financially.
(Hat tip to Mark Merenda of SmartMarketing for bringing the US News article to my attention).