Career Transition Blog for Lawyers

Blog for lawyers looking to change careers in and outside the practice of law.

We have been drafting blog posts about attorney career transitions for more than 15 years. Some of that advice has been impacted by technology or has otherwise become dated. Below, we share some of our most recent posts and others that have stood the test of time.

Recent Law School Graduates Face Growing Financial and Mental Health Burdens

An article published this summer in the Wall Street Journal draws attention to the danger inherent in myths around the earning power that comes with a law degree. With sites like Above The Law constantly tracking Big Law associate salaries north of $200,000, it’s easy to understand why so many...
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Lawyers Are Not Immune to Automation

Law firm leaders aren’t often thinking about their firms’ work in terms of routine tasks, but with payroll as the highest expense, investors will. In a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists from Boston University and MIT assert that “between 50% and 70% of changes in...
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Should Law Firms Reduce Their Weekly Hours?

Attorney Jonathan Wolf, writing for Above the Law, recounts a nonprofit board’s decision to reduce employees’ hours to 33.75 per week without any drop in salary or benefits. Last year, the board saw a small increase in productivity, but members were still hesitant to make the change permanent, opting instead...
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Lawyers Should Consider Jobs in Academic Management

The ABA Journal wrote last month about the rise of former lawyers amongst the ranks of university presidents. Noting increasing regulations on colleges and the frequent crises facing these institutions, the article describes via several examples why professionals with legal backgrounds are particularly appealing to the boards that hire school...
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More Attorneys With Mid-Sized Books of Business Eyeing Exits

After a year of low replenishment for partners and senior counsel, we will soon begin to see how much lateral movement may be ahead for lawyers with books of business in the range of their annual compensation. Attorneys who bring in revenues in excess of $1 million will continue to...
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5 Key Questions for Your Future Law Firm

Through no fault of their own, many lawyers in the hiring process avoid asking law firms the important questions that will impact their careers. It’s not just about what you ask, but also when you ask it, and a lawyer with some experience maximizes their bargaining power in the time...
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10 Reasons Lawyers Are Too Quick to Leave the Law

For lawyers, the risk is high right now that a lack of satisfaction at work could lead some to consider ditching the legal industry entirely. The field has been shaken up in the past year, and those shifts may have shone a light on bad management practices or unhealthy workplace...
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Raising Your Profile Makes It Easier to Change Careers Within the Law

Lori Mihalich-Levin’s career provides a great example of how attorneys can pursue other passions, even in a professional capacity, without leaving the practice of law. Currently a partner in Dentons’ health care practice, she is also the founder of Mindful Return, an organization which hosts groups for working parents in...
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What This New Compensation Survey Means for Lateral Partners

Responses to Law360’s survey on partner compensation revealed that 43% of the 584 attorneys included (all from firms with 25+ lawyers) had taken pay cuts directly resulting from COVID-19. With an average of 12 years at the partnership level, these respondents are describing circumstances that may lead to an unprecedented...
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What 2020’s Legal Employment Data Tells Us

End-of-year figures showed legal employment returning to the numbers it saw at the start of 2019. While this means that 2019's gains were essentially undone by pandemic losses, a 2.3% unemployment rate in this sector suggests the industry is doing well relative to the overall economy, which finished the year...
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Robert Parker: From Corporate Lawyer to World’s Most Influential Wine Critic

Robert Parker, described by Baltimore Magazine as “the father of modern wine criticism,” began his career as a corporate lawyer. Before becoming a hugely influential voice in the wine world, Parker developed an obsessive interest in the beverage while visiting his now wife during her college study abroad experience in...
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Bechtel Partners With Legal Innovators to Pay Less for Junior Attorneys

Engineering/construction behemoth Bechtel will be adding junior lawyers to its team via alternative legal services provider (ALSP) Legal Innovators. The press release announcing the deal highlighted Legal Innovators' focus on creating opportunities for attorneys from diverse backgrounds and demographics. Beneath that emphasis, however, is a statement from the ALSP's CEO...
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Paint Supplier Benjamin Moore Cuts Its In-House Legal Team

Even in-house roles are not immune to elimination, as paint supply company Benjamin Moore showed in November when it got rid of its entire legal department. Unlikely to become a pattern, outsourcing to employment law firm Littler Mendelson may work for the Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, but most in-house departments cover...
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Career Transition Lessons for the New Year

Alex Pareene, writing for The New Republic, has published a rare takedown in a national publication of a specific large law firm partner. The subject of the article’s criticism is Neal Katyal, who served as Acting Solicitor General under the Obama administration. On December 1, Kaytal, now a partner at...
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Cole Schotz Associate Sabotaged His Critique of Big Law

Having spoken with plenty of lawyers who refer to large law firm culture as "soul-crushing," news of a former Cole Schotz associate who recently railed against the firm on social media and in public blog posts didn't come as a total shock. Unfortunately, Myles MacDonald, in seeking to "feel human,"...
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Lateral Moves by Women Partners Could Help Close the Gender Wage Gap

A report from legal recruiting heavyweight Major, Lindsey & Africa shows a widening gender wage gap among partners overall, but the details of the data bring to light strategies women lawyers can use to close it. The "old boys' network" that could be to blame has already accounted for many...
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More Lawyers in the Legislature?

Bloomberg reported last year that lawyers had become a minority in the U.S. Senate for the first time ever. Following data from the Vital Statistics on Congress, first published in 1953, the article cited work by Stanford's Adam Bonica, which found that the Senate had included a lawyer majority since...
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What Does It Mean to Be a Successful Lawyer?

An article published last week by the American Lawyer took a brief look at what success means in a legal services industry that almost always mandates long hours, inevitably taking time and attention away from other interests and pursuits. The article centers around the questions of an associate at what...
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Stare Decisis Is a Bad Career Transition Strategy

As a law student, I learned about stare decisis. As a business litigator for almost ten years, I saw that judges applied stare decisis—unless they didn’t want to. As a career coach for lawyers, I know that many lawyers rely on precedent too heavily when they think  about making a...
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For Lawyers Who Want to Leave the Law and Start a New Business

I know a whole lot more about running a business than I did in 2004, when I left the law to start Successful Career Strategies, Inc. As a career coach for lawyers I have in the intervening years talked to hundreds of lawyers who expressed an interest in becoming business...
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