‘Life After Law’ provides alternatives for that law degree

life after law book
When fighting with people got to be too much, Liz Brown asked ex-lawyers how they changed their lives.

Law school is famed for being a sure path to a decent (if not astronomical) salary, job security and an intellectually engaging career. But Liz Brown’s success as a litigator started making her feel — in short — icky. So, she turned her back on the money and decided to see where else her Harvard Law degree could take her.

Her exploration became a book, “Life After Law,” where 30 ex-lawyers weigh in as a primer for J.D.s on how to leverage lawyer skills in fields as diverse as psychology, rabbinical leadership and journalism. Brown is happy to report that her work as a professor of business law at Bentley University, where she teaches law to business students, is a great fit.

Why did you write “Life After Law”?
I wrote the book because it’s exactly the advice I wanted to have when I was going through my own transitions. I had no idea how to leave the legal profession. I was embarrassed, because who wants to leave a nice high-paying job like that?

Yeah, why did you?
I just didn’t enjoy litigating anymore. I didn’t enjoy spending my life billing clients for work that honestly could have been done in half the time.

That sounds lucrative.
I spent my days fighting with people and my values had changed to the point where I wanted to do something collaborative and creative. If you don’t like fighting, then you’re in big trouble if you’re a litigator. When I was in my 20s, it was fun to write snarky letters to opposing counsel or bite people’s heads off professionally. In my 30s, it got old and a lot of the fight went out of me. The drive to do something important was still there, but I didn’t know what it was. I knew I wasn’t spending my life doing something that I was proud of and that was bothersome.

What are do you think traps lawyers into the profession?
I think that a mistake that lawyers make is to think all they can do is practice law in a different way or in a different setting. My book is about reframing the skills that lawyers have. It’s not like starting over, it’s moving over. The way you move over as a lawyer is translating what you’ve enjoyed doing as a lawyer into terms that a non-legal employer is going to find valuable.

How can unhappy lawyers figure out what to do?
They should think about having a rewarding life and career. I want them to think beyond law firms and about what interested them in the law in the first place. Was it the writing? Was it the counseling? Was it the interest in justice?

What’s your advice to students looking into a career in law?
My advice to people who are considering law school is to research intensively what lawyers actually do. Get a good sense of what legal jobs you want specifically before you go to law school. So many people don’t understand what it is to work at a law firm, and I think if more people saw the day-to-day realities, they would make a better informed choice about whether or not law school is right for them. The legal profession plays a very important role in society. The problem is not with the law itself, it’s a problem with a lack of knowledge of what the practice of law in all its forms really looks like.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…