Asking yourself if you should leave law or stay? Consider an alternative

leave_lawPursuing a career as a lawyer takes dedication and hard work, as everyone knows. Finishing law school and passing the bar is no easy feat, but then it’s followed by long hours and pressure to meet billable hours. Midway through your career, you might wonder if you should leave law or stay?

Reasons to leave law

Lawyer often ranks in media top 10 lists for “most stressful jobs,” and for good reason.

Lawyers cite the following factors as contributing to their low job satisfaction:

  • Long hours
  • Pressure to meet billable hours
  • Difficult clients
  • Competitive law firm culture
  • Uninteresting cases
  • Lack of work/life balance

Years working in law, with no relief in sight, can leave many lawyers completely spent. You feel burned out and you’re looking for the nearest exit, right?

Finding what you want in law

If you nodded at each of the bullet points above, I would bet you work for a fairly large firm. Right? If yes, you were hired to fit into a well-established firm structure. That structure might give you a clear-cut career path and a guaranteed client roster, but at what cost?

If you have reached the point where you have seriously considered leaving to law to practice latte art at the corner coffee joint, it’s time to take a serious look at your options.

One tangible option? Start your own law firm.

Before you brush off the idea, consider the results of this Robert Half survey of what lawyers want from an employer:

“…aside from compensation or bonus, their top three incentives for remaining with an employer are:
– Flexible work arrangements (28 percent)
– Challenging work or variety of assignments (26 percent)
– Professional development opportunities (20 percent)”

As an independent practitioner, all three of those items are within your control. In addition, your compensation level is also within your control, once you build your client base.

Redefining the law firm

Sure, you will need time to build your brand and attract clients. That thought frightens a lot of people, but consider two questions:

  • If you stay at your current law firm, how will it impact your mental and physical well-being?
  • If you leave law entirely, will you feel as satisfied in your career?

You can stay in law, but do it on your own terms. An independent practice gives you the flexibility to build a law firm that fits both your values and your lifestyle. Your own firm allows you to:

  • Take on interesting cases that pay the bills, but also manage your caseload to avoid overwork and burnout.
  • Build personal time into your schedule for family, friends, hobbies, travel and more.
  • Collaborate with other attorneys and professionals to expand your firm’s reach.
  • Create a culture of excellent client service, but in a way that fits your desired firm values.
  • Hire staff members who support your vision.
  • Work when and where you please.

If you have considered the idea of starting your own law firm, we invite you to take a tour of our collaborative work space for lawyers. With our co-working and flexible office space, you have the option of building your law firm among peers and on a budget. 

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