Journey, Law practice, My Life

The non-practicing attorney

The decision to stop practing, if that even what you call what I was doing, was not an easy one. It took a long time hemming and hawing over the right decision for me and it came down to two factors:

  1. Was I wasting all the work I had put in to not practice?
  2. What would everyone think?

I had spent the last three years in law school, toiling away for essentially a piece of paper and a big test. I had spent months preparing for the bar, waiting for results, and job searching. There were countless hours worrying over school and money, trying to keep my relationship together, and just trying to be human. If I decided not to practice, would I regret it? Would all that be wasted? And most importantly, would I be making a difference in the world?

Ultimately, I decided that practicing was exhausting. I went into law school wanting to make a difference and instead felt like the bulk of my time was spent plugging and chugging on motions or answer phone calls from strung out clients. I didn’t feel like I was making an impact in anyone’s life and I certainly wasn’t changing the world. The three years I spent in law school taught me a lot, and not just the actual law. It taught me to think critically, be skeptical, and always look for the hidden facts. It taught me I can be resilient, work well under pressure, and multitask like a champ. But, it was up to me to use those skills to do something important.

By not practicing, I am able to do just that. I still work with lawyers, I still have to keep up on legal news, and I still get to spend my free time researching things I’m passionate about. I get to talk to lawyers all over the world about things that made my law school and practice experience easier and can help them help their clients. But, because I’m not mentally and emotionally exhausted by practicing, I can take the skills I have to be a CASA/GAL, to help homeless individuals with their leases, and to take pro bono cases when I have the time. I’m able to be around for my future kids childhoods and go to PTA meetings. I can be actively involved in my community and create change there.

In the end, I’m happy with my decision. I think I got the best of both worlds, a stable job I love and the ability to effect change in my community. And as for what other people think, it just doesn’t matter.

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