‘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
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…