Change is a necessary part of life, but it can sometimes seem overwhelming. If you’re a practicing attorney and you’re contemplating a career change, you’re likely feeling more than a little trepidation. You spent a lot of time, money, and dedication on your current career in law.
However, there’s no point in sticking with a profession that makes you feel stressed or unhappy. Attorneys consider career changes for a variety of reasons – for some, the profession doesn’t align with personal or family goals. Others tire of the stress and competition associated with the job.
Changing your career from being an attorney to something else might not be easy, but it’s possible (and healthy). Here’s how to go about it:
1. Find the Right Time
First, decide on your timing. This is a fuzzy concept, and there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Some attorneys may consider a career change the minute their student loans are paid off, while others like to wait until they achieve financial security. Finding your “right time” will require a lot of introspection on your part. Don’t get stuck in the trap of waiting for your “right time” forever – change is difficult, and, at some point, you’re going to have to jump in the deep end if dipping your toes in isn’t getting you anywhere.
2. Think of Alternate Career Paths
Before making an attorney career change, think what you might do next. As a candidate with a professional degree, there are several different paths your career might take. The path you take will depend on your strengths and career goals, but here are some examples:
- Recruiting: legal recruiting is a lucrative industry, but it tends to be busy and another “fast lane” profession. On the other hand, it’s very stable and tends to withstand dips in the economy. A good choice for those who like a competitive atmosphere and for those who still have outstanding student loan debt.
- Author: If you’re skilled with the written word, consider authoring a book. John Grisham left his career as an attorney and is now a legal fiction bestseller. But if you’re lacking creative chops, you can also be an author of legal study guides, which will allow you to write while still making decent money.
- Professor: with a professional degree, you have the basic qualifications to teach at the university level. Depending on your scope of practice and area of expertise, you could teach introductions to criminal justice or even introductory courses in law.
3. Ask For Help
Making a career change as an attorney can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Hiring a career coach is one of the best things you can do to assess your current goals and get your transition underway. With the help of a transition coach, you can determine your strengths and weaknesses, as well as which alternate career path makes the most sense for your personal and professional goals.
Don’t shy away from change because it’s not the “right time” or because you’re unsure of what to do next. Talk to a career coach and get onto living the life that makes you happy and fulfilled.