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Want to quit the legal profession? Experts offer these tips

Posted Aug 12, 2013 8:27 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers may dream of leaving the legal profession but they don’t follow through, partly because they are trained to be risk averse, according to a former lawyer who writes the Leave Law Behind blog.

The blog author is Casey Berman, a University of California Hastings law grad who was an in-house counsel at several software firms before giving up lawyering, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. He is now chief strategy officer at FileRight, a San Francisco company that provides self-help immigration software.

“Lawyers have to get over the idea that they are too niche and stuck in a groove,” Berman tells the Wall Street Journal.

Lawyers have many transferable skills, according to Liz Brown, a former intellectual property lawyer who wrote a soon-to-released book, Life After Law: Finding Work You Love With the JD That You Have. They may be analytical, persuasive and capable of managing complex projects, for example.

Brown and Berman offer these tips to those who want to leave law practice:

• Start planning early for the career transition. Consulting work or document review could help pay the bills as you start your new career.

• Figure out your strengths and the things that motivate you. Then “de-legalize your résumé by reframing your skills and experience to fit the kind of job that you want,” the story says. Nonlaw jobs related to your old legal specialty should be considered.

• Tap friends and professional colleagues for introductions that can help you find a job. Volunteer opportunities can also provide job leads.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer Who Gave Up Law Practice Ready to Help Others Do the Same"

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