Alternative Careers for Lawyers
Many lawyers and judges love the legal profession and would not choose any other profession, even if they had it all to do over again. It is a fact that in the fullness of time some people, however, will not be happy at all practicing law no matter how they try to square it. It can be very disconcerting and demoralizing to finally reach a point in a professional career wherein one has to surrender and admit that they are so unhappy that they wish they could start over and do something else.
It is easy to feel trapped in the practice of law due to the time, effort and expense that has been invested in law school and then subsequently building a practice. That said, it is simply not acceptable to live a life of misery. If dealing with the practice of law is creating serious mental health issues for you, such as substance abuse, depression, or anxiety difficulties that are literally destroying your quality of life, it may be time to take heart, take a deep breath, and look in earnest toward other employment options that are less stressful or that better suit your personality and needs.
Despite what you may think after investing so much time and money into law school and becoming a lawyer, law does not define you or limit your ability to completely change course in life. And changes in a career path do not mean you are a quitter or lack resolve. It can be argued that not taking action and remaining in an unhealthy environment for you is a form of quitting and giving in, and that changing course is courageous and proper when necessary to extricate yourself from a situation that has become toxic to you. Being stoic and steadfast in weathering a very unhappy and unfulfilled life in a legal career you dislike will not garner a refund of your law school tuition or in the end make it all worthwhile somehow. On the contrary, all it will do is render an unhappy life. As such, if you are truly miserable being a lawyer, don’t be reticent about looking out for yourself and putting your own wellbeing first. No matter where you are in your career, dare to look beyond the bounds of practicing law and consider that your happiness in life is as important as anything else.
The following resources can provide you with ideas to broaden your outlook and help you acknowledge that there are careers for lawyers outside the practice of law.