Any ex-lawyers here?

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cpan00b
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Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
gac1979
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by gac1979 »

I’m a lawyer and am 40 years old. Kind of the same boat as you. One difficult thing I’ve encountered when applying for jobs outside of law is that most people will either view you as 1) overqualified or 2) unwilling to work for less money. The obvious alternative career paths are govt. lobbying or sales, neither of which interest me. Curious to hear others’ experiences.
Gill
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Gill »

Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill
Last edited by Gill on Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:03 am I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
"my new job that is not terrible and pays very well"

There are worse things.

By all means, try to find something you enjoy more, but remember that your current situation is enviable. Discontent often has more to do with a mismatch of expectations and actual conditions, rather than the conditions themselves.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am
"my new job that is not terrible and pays very well"

There are worse things.

By all means, try to find something you enjoy more, but remember that your current situation is enviable. Discontent often has more to do with a mismatch of expectations and actual conditions, rather than the conditions themselves.
Absolutely. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the new job and had eagerly left the grind that was biglaw (60-80 hour weeks, being on call 24-7) after 2.5 years. You're right that I was excited for the escape but now that I'm here, this mismatch between my expectations and the day-to-day of the new job is probably the problem. I'm going to keep the job as long as I can (and even try to thrive just because that is the nature of my personality) but just thought hearing others' experiences would be useful. There's also the fact that I don't have any job security so I might lose this high income in any case which could be an opportunity for risk I wouldn't have otherwise taken.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill
Yes, that's right. Could you expand on this? You're in the T&E business but not practicing as a T&E lawyer? How did you get into this? I recently read a thread from a T&E lawyer on a legal forum and I thought it was fascinating. He left biglaw and started his own practice and hooked up with a wealth manager for client referrals and was doing really well.
EFF_fan81
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:03 am I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
"my new job that is not terrible and pays very well"

There are worse things.

By all means, try to find something you enjoy more, but remember that your current situation is enviable. Discontent often has more to do with a mismatch of expectations and actual conditions, rather than the conditions themselves.
Yep. There are times when my job frustrates me. But on the whole it's pretty good and I'm getting paid a full salary for working from home for about 40 hours a week with high quality healthcare and access to tax-deferred retirement accounts in the middle of a global pandemic. So I am counting my blessings personally.

I worked at law firms for 8 years and quit even though I was going to be up for partner soon. Honestly, by the time I was near the "end of the associate road" I was just sick of it and I had an opportunity to get out while still making a decent salary and so I jumped. (To be fair, I felt I would make it but I would be the junior partner reporting to the senior partner for another decade. I was also at a smaller firm at that point and junior partner was not as profitable as it would be somewhere larger (but may have been less unpleasant).) I work in government now but it's more like a typical in-house job as I do large transactions and am paid quite well for a government worker but the position can be quite stressful and can involve longer (but not biglaw) hours at certain times. Some of the stupid government politics drive me batty -- there are some wonderful people, and others who are incompetent, but there's no real penalty for being incompetent and executive positions at my agency seem to mostly about being friends with the right people. But large parts of the work are genuinely interesting, at least to me. That being said, I would change careers rather than go back and be a biglaw associate again. But there are many paths to Dublin so that's not an issue. Eventually I think the politics and capped salary will get to me, and so I expect I will do something else, which may or may not involve calling myself a lawyer but will involve learning new skills and will involve using the skills I already learned.

You just started your new job. Give it some time. Enjoy having a steady income in a difficult time. Two years from now, if you still feel the same way, you'll still have time to go do something else.
Last edited by EFF_fan81 on Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
Topic Author
cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

gac1979 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:11 am I’m a lawyer and am 40 years old. Kind of the same boat as you. One difficult thing I’ve encountered when applying for jobs outside of law is that most people will either view you as 1) overqualified or 2) unwilling to work for less money. The obvious alternative career paths are govt. lobbying or sales, neither of which interest me. Curious to hear others’ experiences.
Yes, therein lies the problem! Maybe you can convince the potential employer you're willing to take a paycut in exchange for the experience? For instance, if I were really interested in T&E and starting my own practice, but had no experience, I'd consider going to a small firm that only does T&E work and say I'd be willing to get paid a starting salary in exchange for training.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:38 am

Yep. There are times when my job frustrates me. But on the whole it's pretty good and I'm getting paid a full salary for working from home for about 40 hours a week with high quality healthcare and access to tax-deferred retirement accounts in the middle of a global pandemic. So I am counting my blessings personally.

I worked at law firms for 8 years and quit even though I was going to be up for partner soon. (To be fair, I felt I would make it but I would be the junior partner reporting to the senior partner for another decade. I was also at a smaller firm at that point and junior partner was not as profitable as it would be somewhere larger (but may have been less unpleasant).) I work in government now but it's more like a typical in-house job as I do large transactions and am paid quite well for a government worker but the position can be quite stressful and can involve longer (but not biglaw) hours at certain times. Some of the stupid government politics drive me batty, but large parts of the work are genuinely interesting, at least to me. That being said, I would change careers rather than go back and be a biglaw associate again. But there are many paths to Dublin so that's not an issue. Eventually I expect I will do something else, which may or may not involve calling myself a lawyer but will involve learning new skills and will involve using the skills I already learned.

You just started your new job. Give it some time. Enjoy having a steady income in a difficult time. Two years from now, if you still feel the same way, you'll still have time to go do something else.
Agreed. I was on a virtual zoom happy hour with a few of my classmates last night, who are all still in biglaw, but we still talked about how privilledged we are. Working from home and being compensated well in the midst of this pandemic. Most of my family members are currently unemployed because they don't have the luxury of working a white-collar job like this. To be clear, this thread is not about me leaving my current job (I plan on staying for at least a year or two if I don't get laid off this year....business is pretty slow currently given the conditions).
J295
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by J295 »

Retired lawyer.
Decided we wanted early retirement so I was private practice until age 53.
Due to community size and young family when I started (sole breadwinner for our family of 5) and a great work environment I stayed in law.
I did it to provide for family, and did it joyfully because I didn't really care if I dug ditches or practiced law so long as we were all ok.

Having said all that ..... I have seen many of our children's friends practice for a while then they transition to something else ... I think practicing can be a real grind ..... it is hard to know what to transition to next for you, but I do understand the feeling that law isn't the best fit ......... good for you for exploring options .... find a good friend who can help you process all of this ....
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unclescrooge
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by unclescrooge »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:03 am I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
A million dollars isn't really worth a lot at 35.

Whatever you want to do, figure it out before the wife and kids come along.

Maybe you need to find more hobbies in your free time. I have friends who travel EVERY weekend. Once they went to Paris for a 3 day weekend.

You could move to a different area of law. Maybe a public prosecutor is more your thing? Although a girl I knew in Indianapolis said most of her job involved prosecuting public urination.

Maybe business law in different seeing might be more enjoyable?

Or you could find something where your knowledge of the law is useful, like taxation, estate planning or not so much such as financial planning/ investment management.
EFF_fan81
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:44 am
EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:38 am

Yep. There are times when my job frustrates me. But on the whole it's pretty good and I'm getting paid a full salary for working from home for about 40 hours a week with high quality healthcare and access to tax-deferred retirement accounts in the middle of a global pandemic. So I am counting my blessings personally.

I worked at law firms for 8 years and quit even though I was going to be up for partner soon. (To be fair, I felt I would make it but I would be the junior partner reporting to the senior partner for another decade. I was also at a smaller firm at that point and junior partner was not as profitable as it would be somewhere larger (but may have been less unpleasant).) I work in government now but it's more like a typical in-house job as I do large transactions and am paid quite well for a government worker but the position can be quite stressful and can involve longer (but not biglaw) hours at certain times. Some of the stupid government politics drive me batty, but large parts of the work are genuinely interesting, at least to me. That being said, I would change careers rather than go back and be a biglaw associate again. But there are many paths to Dublin so that's not an issue. Eventually I expect I will do something else, which may or may not involve calling myself a lawyer but will involve learning new skills and will involve using the skills I already learned.

You just started your new job. Give it some time. Enjoy having a steady income in a difficult time. Two years from now, if you still feel the same way, you'll still have time to go do something else.
Agreed. I was on a virtual zoom happy hour with a few of my classmates last night, who are all still in biglaw, but we still talked about how privilledged we are. Working from home and being compensated well in the midst of this pandemic. Most of my family members are currently unemployed because they don't have the luxury of working a white-collar job like this. To be clear, this thread is not about me leaving my current job (I plan on staying for at least a year or two if I don't get laid off this year....business is pretty slow currently given the conditions).
Can you describe what sort of corporate work you do? Lots of corporate lawyers have the desire to do something more "business-y" within their chosen domain of expertise.

I am a commercial real estate lawyer, and I chose that purposefully. I may want to move into asset management or acquisitions in a year or so. (I was considering job hunting this spring, actually, but put if off due to this pandemic). Failing that, I will start my own commercial real estate law firm and during busy times just make it rain (with less overhead, and lower commute) and during lean times use the time to research real estate investments. Most of my savings are locked up in retirement accounts now, but in about ten years or so I should have enough lift off that I could start making real commercial / multi-family acquisitions on my own or with friends and family if I wanted to.

I think it helps to have a plan. I can be motivated in the grind because I am still "on track" and the things that I do are teaching me about things I might later do. So maybe what you do this year is just develop your plan? I find it is best if your plan is incremental and builds on your existing skills. The "I'm going to just chuck it all and do [X]" can work out great sometimes or can be really rough. I value autonomy a lot, and so me getting "FU" money early on was very important and reaching real "FI" money has been a lifelong dream. So while I needed to exit biglaw to stay sane, I don't want to give up my proven earning power until I'm there or very close to it.
Last edited by EFF_fan81 on Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
EFF_fan81
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

unclescrooge wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:51 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:03 am I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
A million dollars isn't really worth a lot at 35.

Whatever you want to do, figure it out before the wife and kids come along.

Maybe you need to find more hobbies in your free time. I have friends who travel EVERY weekend. Once they went to Paris for a 3 day weekend.

You could move to a different area of law. Maybe a public prosecutor is more your thing? Although a girl I knew in Indianapolis said most of her job involved prosecuting public urination.

Maybe business law in different seeing might be more enjoyable?

Or you could find something where your knowledge of the law is useful, like taxation, estate planning or not so much such as financial planning/ investment management.
A million dollars is indeed quite a lot at 35. If invested wisely, it can easily be 2 million at 45, 4 million at 55, 8 million at 65. That's being conservative and excluding any growth from future contributions. A million dollars at 35 managed well almost certainly ensures financial independence well before 65 assuming reasonable expenses and no shocks like extended unemployment or severe medical issues (but the nest egg could also be a lifesaver in those circumstances). Maybe if your friends did not do silly things like go to Paris for a 3 day weekend they would be able to stop working their lawyer jobs completely and would have no need to spend their weekends distracting themselves from workweeks that they consider to be drudgery.

Sorry to be so blunt but "spend more money to distract yourself from being unhappy" is the literal exact opposite of the advice I would provide.
Last edited by EFF_fan81 on Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
littleyellowball
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by littleyellowball »

Retired lawyer here. My license is active but I stopped working six years ago.

I loved law school and landed a big firm job. It was a good firm, as law firms go, but the hours were ridiculous. I was working seven days a week and the work was quite stressful. After several years, I managed to land an in-house job, which was better - 9 to 5, for the most part, although lots of travel.

Your post resonated with me because my career was also "not terrible" and paid well. As the years wore on, I grew more and more dissatisfied. My work was helpful to my corporation, of course, but was meaningless to me, and (I felt) to the world. I explored both leaving the law altogether (wanted to become a teacher) and re-tooling (from litigation to estate planning.) I did a lot of research but never pulled the plug; I had worked hard to get where I was and didn't have the energy to start over. I ended up retiring as soon as I could, at age 55. I could have made a lot more money but, as they say, money isn't everything.

In hindsight - I'm grateful for a career that allowed me to use my skillset and intellect. I was able to raise my kids in an excellent school district and to fully fund their four year college educations. When I retired I had no debt. I'm not wealthy, not by a long stretch, but comfortable. I walked away to enjoy life's simple pleasures and to try to make a more meaningful contribution. It's been completely worth it.

At 31, I too wanted to walk away. I'm glad I stayed because I know how it all turned out. I have my health so can enjoy life now. At 31, however, the future is unknown. At a minimum I think it's important to find joy now, in your every day life. If your work becomes too oppressive, too soul-sucking, make a change. However, I would not give up financial security too readily. It's hard to come by in this world.

I know people who enjoyed their work a lot more than I did. That said, there are many who enjoy their work a lot less, and the vast majority makes less money. Like life itself, it's all about balance. There are plusses and minuses to everything. In the end, I'm grateful for the life that the practice of law has given me.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:59 am
Can you describe what sort of corporate work you do? Lots of corporate lawyers have the desire to do something more "business-y" within their chosen domain of expertise.

....

I think it helps to have a plan. I can be motivated in the grind because I am still "on track" and the things that I do are teaching me about things I might later do. So maybe what you do this year is just develop your plan? I find it is best if your plan is incremental and builds on your existing skills. The "I'm going to just chuck it all and do [X]" can work out great sometimes or can be really rough. I value autonomy a lot, and so me getting "FU" money early on was very important and reaching real "FI" money has been a lifelong dream. So while I needed to exit biglaw to stay sane, I don't want to give up my proven earning power until I'm there or very close to it.
That sounds like a good plan and I think that is a good way to think about your career! As long as you feel like you are picking up useful skills, nothing is a waste.

I did lev fin while in big law (i.e. represent investment banks and companies in arranging/obtaining financing in connection with acquisitions, restructuring, and general business needs, whether though syndicated loan markets or debt capital markets. I'm now at an investment bank and no longer work on deals through completion (have law firms do that for us). Instead, now I help manage risk by helping set process, having issues escalated properly...kind of general things like being part of committee meetings and flagging issues, processing certain docs like NDAs, engagement letters, etc. Overall pretty boring since I am not heavily involved in the transactions on a day-to-day basis.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

Loving all the responses in this thread! Seems a lot of people have felt like I have. I will try to respond to all posts and hope others engage and discuss with each other too.
unclescrooge wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:51 am
A million dollars isn't really worth a lot at 35.

Whatever you want to do, figure it out before the wife and kids come along.

Maybe you need to find more hobbies in your free time. I have friends who travel EVERY weekend. Once they went to Paris for a 3 day weekend.

You could move to a different area of law. Maybe a public prosecutor is more your thing? Although a girl I knew in Indianapolis said most of her job involved prosecuting public urination.

Maybe business law in different seeing might be more enjoyable?

Or you could find something where your knowledge of the law is useful, like taxation, estate planning or not so much such as financial planning/ investment management.
1. I disagree and think a million is indeed a lot at 35. Not to quit working and live off of, but invested in a 3 fund portfolio, it easily means financial independence and $$$ by the time I turn 65 if I don't withdraw anything from it. This does not even take into account future contributions after turning 35. Sure, I'm contributing like 9-10k a month now into my investment account, but even putting in $2-3k after taking a paycut at 35 would mean quite a bit of compounding. Agreed on the family part. I'm single now but would love to eventually get married to someone who has similar values (including financial values).

2. Yes, having a job with fewer hours has now given me lots of times for hobbies which I love. I can't imagine ever going back into biglaw and doing 80 hour weeks again. I love to travel too and have done about 25 countries so far, but certainly not just weekend trips (4 weeks of vacation time is pretty sufficient). I love reading the digital nomads thread on reddit, but thinking of a way to make actual money while traveling seems a bit like a pipe dream to me.

3. I have a CPA license (but never really did taxation besides basic income tax class and my own taxes) but yes I do enjoy financial planning (hence why I am on this forum). Would be nice to find a good pivot point that builds on skills I already have.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

littleyellowball wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:21 am ...
Ah, yes the reasonable path. Appreciate your input and as others have said, there are certainly worse things and having this type of role available is indeed a privilege. Maybe because I don't have a family or kids yet but I don't feel strongly about necessarily sacrificing to make sure they live well but I'm sure priorities change with age and circumstances too. Still, sounds like you retired relatively early and still had a fulfilling enough career for what it was able to provide.
EFF_fan81
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am
EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:59 am
Can you describe what sort of corporate work you do? Lots of corporate lawyers have the desire to do something more "business-y" within their chosen domain of expertise.

....

I think it helps to have a plan. I can be motivated in the grind because I am still "on track" and the things that I do are teaching me about things I might later do. So maybe what you do this year is just develop your plan? I find it is best if your plan is incremental and builds on your existing skills. The "I'm going to just chuck it all and do [X]" can work out great sometimes or can be really rough. I value autonomy a lot, and so me getting "FU" money early on was very important and reaching real "FI" money has been a lifelong dream. So while I needed to exit biglaw to stay sane, I don't want to give up my proven earning power until I'm there or very close to it.
That sounds like a good plan and I think that is a good way to think about your career! As long as you feel like you are picking up useful skills, nothing is a waste.

I did lev fin while in big law (i.e. represent investment banks and companies in arranging/obtaining financing in connection with acquisitions, restructuring, and general business needs, whether though syndicated loan markets or debt capital markets. I'm now at an investment bank and no longer work on deals through completion (have law firms do that for us). Instead, now I help manage risk by helping set process, having issues escalated properly...kind of general things like being part of committee meetings and flagging issues, processing certain docs like NDAs, engagement letters, etc. Overall pretty boring since I am not heavily involved in the transactions on a day-to-day basis.
I still work on deals in house. If you said you wanted to be involved in deals, and could show cost savings by taking on some of the work (including being humble and taking some "senior associate" type work from the law firm partners and not just picking and choosing), would there be appetite for that?

I work somewhere much smaller than you and was the lead on $500 million in real estate development transactions in the last two years... but also am putting nowhere near $10k in my accounts every month anymore. So another thing to consider is you might be able to get better work, albeit for less money, if you moved out of the investment banking world and to an operating company in a few years. I think there is some kool-aid in the investment banking world that they do all the sophisticated things and everyone else is just shuffling papers until 5pm, but I have not found that to be true.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by anon_investor »

I am in house at a mega corp, came from big law (I was on track to become a partner in a few years at the time I left). Big law hours were ridiculous, and for me when I left I had 2 very young children, and the allure of work life balance is what sold me on in house. Getting to spend time with my family instead of working for me is easily worth the the sometimes boring routine work of an in house lawyer. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by GmanJeff »

Many FBI Special Agents are former practicing attorneys, although relatively few were in very large law firms. It's a viable alternative use for a law degree for those interested in the Bureau's missions and the benefits of federal government "special category" employment.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by AerialWombat »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am 3. I have a CPA license (but never really did taxation besides basic income tax class and my own taxes) but yes I do enjoy financial planning (hence why I am on this forum). Would be nice to find a good pivot point that builds on skills I already have.
I am incredibly biased, but have you ever considered going into private practice and doing tax controversy representation?

The rare CPA+JD combo is an excellent 1-2 punch for doing this kind of work, especially representing business clients with payroll tax liabilities. It is a very profitable business to be in, is effectively recession-proof, and you get to help save jobs and family businesses.

Again, I’m very biased, but your skill set may lend itself very well to this area of practice, and we need more good people with the combined accounting and law backgrounds in this field.
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orcycle
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by orcycle »

I recently changed my license to ‘inactive’ after several years of barely using it. In the years leading up to my ‘retirement,’ I focused more on landlord-tenant issues as I was acquiring rental properties, helping me learn through experience on both sides of my businesses.

My goal was to build up passive income through rents, freeing me from a standard workweek to pursue other interests and spend more time with family. Buying and renovating a property was equivalent to preparing for trial, requiring a lot of work in a relatively short time, after which I could take a break and still get paid. I enjoyed doing the unskilled manual labor on a new property while hiring contractors for the rest. I became pretty good at screening tenants so once a rental was occupied, I only occasionally had to respond to calls from tenants.

I can reactivate my license within a certain number of years (at least five) without too much trouble, but I doubt I will. I practiced for over 20 years and feel like I got my money's worth from going to law school. A sudden life event last year made me reassess and take stock, and I decided that keeping my license was more about ego than anything else. So far it's working out. Good luck with your career, I hope you can find contentment in what you do.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:14 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am 3. I have a CPA license (but never really did taxation besides basic income tax class and my own taxes) but yes I do enjoy financial planning (hence why I am on this forum). Would be nice to find a good pivot point that builds on skills I already have.
I am incredibly biased, but have you ever considered going into private practice and doing tax controversy representation?

The rare CPA+JD combo is an excellent 1-2 punch for doing this kind of work, especially representing business clients with payroll tax liabilities. It is a very profitable business to be in, is effectively recession-proof, and you get to help save jobs and family businesses.

Again, I’m very biased, but your skill set may lend itself very well to this area of practice, and we need more good people with the combined accounting and law backgrounds in this field.
How'd you get into this? I would imagine it's quite difficult to transition to a knowledge intensive practice like tax (which might actually require the greatest learning curve of all the practices I've seen in big law, given how "intellectually rigorous", complex and technical the work can be). I don't have any tax knowledge besides basic knowledge that anyone would have with respect to having passed the tax section of the CPA exam and basic personal income tax. It's funny because I haven't found my CPA license very helpful in law except it signaled to employers during campus recruiting that I had professional work experience and maybe it helped in lev fin because I could read and understand financial statements.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

willardx wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:17 am I recently changed my license to ‘inactive’ after several years of barely using it. In the years leading up to my ‘retirement,’ I focused more on landlord-tenant issues as I was acquiring rental properties, helping me learn through experience on both sides of my businesses.

My goal was to build up passive income through rents, freeing me from a standard workweek to pursue other interests and spend more time with family. Buying and renovating a property was equivalent to preparing for trial, requiring a lot of work in a relatively short time, after which I could take a break and still get paid. I enjoyed doing the unskilled manual labor on a new property while hiring contractors for the rest. I became pretty good at screening tenants so once a rental was occupied, I only occasionally had to respond to calls from tenants.

I can reactivate my license within a certain number of years (at least five) without too much trouble, but I doubt I will. I practiced for over 20 years and feel like I got my money's worth from going to law school. A sudden life event last year made me reassess and take stock, and I decided that keeping my license was more about ego than anything else. So far it's working out. Good luck with your career, I hope you can find contentment in what you do.
Makes sense! I similarly have let my CPA license become inactive in 2016. I did a similar thing about figuring out 'my money's worth' for my law degree, where I modeled out and projected my income had i not gone to law school and compared to my actual income in law. I find that I break even in 2020 so hooray! This should be a warning for young people currently interested in law school for financial reasons if they do not genuinely have a passion for practicing law. I had a full scholarship to law school and started off in big law with 190k+ income which has since then continuously grown AND EVEN THEN, it takes SEVERAL years to break even on the opportunity cost of switching careers to law (of course this is provided you studied something with a viable and stable income potential in undergrad and not something that may leave you underemployed with your bachelor degree, i.e. accounting vs. philosophy or art history). So to someone taking out 6 figures of debt on law school tuition and then 'winning' by getting a 'prestigious' biglaw job and salary, your time to breaking even is going to take way longer.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Old Sage(brush) »

To the OP: my short bio- Big-law firm for 5 years (two different blue chip firms), in house at small public tech company for 18 years, including GC for last 10+, and now about 10 years teaching in a law school clinic (transactional law). My reaction to your question is that in house corporate work can vary hugely, you may be able to find something better in a different company, different situation. My experience (in one company!) ranged from exciting work viewed as part valued part of management team with great professional growth opportunities, to a check the box, necessary evil for the CEO, lip-service paid but not really respected - where you are on that spectrum will influence greatly how you feel about your work. Not easy to find the better side of that spectrum, but might be worth exploring if there is a company/industry/management team that you'd want to be a part of. I did have to stick it out in a situation I really was completely dissatisfied with (edited for this forum) for almost 5 years at the end of my stint working with a management team I was not fond of (again, edited) - stayed in it as the sole bread winner with kids approaching college years, needed to stay in it but it was painful, and had cost on my health and mental state. I finally got the opportunity to get out (with a change of control agreement I counseled management on - beautiful), and left to find something more mission based, not just about profit, which I realized was important to me. I left a lot of money on the table, but in hindsight it was the right decision. I lucked out, and through serendipity ended up teaching in a law school clinic that blends practice, education and mission of serving under served clients - again, pretty nice - but, at a huge cut in compensation - probably less than a quarter of my old GC compensation, with equity. So, my advice is to not do anything rash, continue to explore opportunities, realize as some have pointed out that although you're not shortstop for the Yankees, it's not that bad either, and there may be chances along the way to improve. Live below your means, save like crazy so that you are less dependent on the compensation which will open things up. And, in the mean time try to find balance, some other things outside of work as well as seek the best you can in your work, keep things in perspective (which should be easier in these times). Good luck!!
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by DesertMan »

OP, why not save up until your debts are paid and you have a reserve, then go start your own firm? Yes, it's a lot harder to get clients in this day and age if you're starting a solo from scratch, but you can leverage your big law connections to get referrals from other lawyers. (If you are a litigator that's mostly going to be opposing counsel that you know today so be nice to them. Not all OCs are monsters though some are and that is why I am planning to do this myself eventually.) You can potentially double as a financial planner if your state allows it. And you can always get criminal referrals to give you a base to work from.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by unclescrooge »

EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:12 am
unclescrooge wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:51 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:03 am I'm interested in learning and hearing more about the stories of lawyers and ex-lawyers here on bogleheads.

I did the whole t14 law school -> big law (2.5 years) -> in-house (so far 2 months) path as a corporate lawyer and I have to admit that I don't find my job very enjoyable. I've given some thought into maybe switching practice areas and/or completely leaving the law, and that has been one of the primary motivators in me trying to achieve financial independence. I'm going to turn 31 this year and still grinding away at my new job that is not terrible and pays very well, but ultimately very boring and feels useless. My timeline was to hit 1mm by age 34 but looks like that will be delayed now because of the economy. So either I am going to stick it through and build up my savings nest to continue with this financial goal OR if i get laid off and find it difficult to go back into a high paying legal job, might take it as a sign to try to pursue other lines of work.

Tell me your story ex-lawyers!
A million dollars isn't really worth a lot at 35.

Whatever you want to do, figure it out before the wife and kids come along.

Maybe you need to find more hobbies in your free time. I have friends who travel EVERY weekend. Once they went to Paris for a 3 day weekend.

You could move to a different area of law. Maybe a public prosecutor is more your thing? Although a girl I knew in Indianapolis said most of her job involved prosecuting public urination.

Maybe business law in different seeing might be more enjoyable?

Or you could find something where your knowledge of the law is useful, like taxation, estate planning or not so much such as financial planning/ investment management.
A million dollars is indeed quite a lot at 35. If invested wisely, it can easily be 2 million at 45, 4 million at 55, 8 million at 65. That's being conservative and excluding any growth from future contributions. A million dollars at 35 managed well almost certainly ensures financial independence well before 65 assuming reasonable expenses and no shocks like extended unemployment or severe medical issues (but the nest egg could also be a lifesaver in those circumstances). Maybe if your friends did not do silly things like go to Paris for a 3 day weekend they would be able to stop working their lawyer jobs completely and would have no need to spend their weekends distracting themselves from workweeks that they consider to be drudgery.

Sorry to be so blunt but "spend more money to distract yourself from being unhappy" is the literal exact opposite of the advice I would provide.
My understanding was that he was looking to retire early with a million dollars. In that context it isn't enough.

Life is lived in the present.

Money has no purpose if earning it makes you miserable.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by AerialWombat »

cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:25 am
AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:14 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am 3. I have a CPA license (but never really did taxation besides basic income tax class and my own taxes) but yes I do enjoy financial planning (hence why I am on this forum). Would be nice to find a good pivot point that builds on skills I already have.
I am incredibly biased, but have you ever considered going into private practice and doing tax controversy representation?

The rare CPA+JD combo is an excellent 1-2 punch for doing this kind of work, especially representing business clients with payroll tax liabilities. It is a very profitable business to be in, is effectively recession-proof, and you get to help save jobs and family businesses.

Again, I’m very biased, but your skill set may lend itself very well to this area of practice, and we need more good people with the combined accounting and law backgrounds in this field.
How'd you get into this? I would imagine it's quite difficult to transition to a knowledge intensive practice like tax (which might actually require the greatest learning curve of all the practices I've seen in big law, given how "intellectually rigorous", complex and technical the work can be). I don't have any tax knowledge besides basic knowledge that anyone would have with respect to having passed the tax section of the CPA exam and basic personal income tax. It's funny because I haven't found my CPA license very helpful in law except it signaled to employers during campus recruiting that I had professional work experience and maybe it helped in lev fin because I could read and understand financial statements.
I literally stumbled into this profession. Went bankrupt in the 2008 recession, and just needed a job. I transitioned from real estate. The learning curve is not very steep at all — at most firms, paralegals do most of the actual work. From a business perspective, it’s a service that has one of the highest fee to work ratios of any professional service I’ve ever seen.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by montanagirl »

Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill

I resigned from the Bar when I was approaching retirement and my employer stopped paying my dues and CLE costs. Since the state bar does the licensing, I don't think I can hold myself out as a lawyer still. So I'm an ex-lawyer.

Though I could petition back on .
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:18 pm
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:25 am
AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:14 am
cpan00b wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am 3. I have a CPA license (but never really did taxation besides basic income tax class and my own taxes) but yes I do enjoy financial planning (hence why I am on this forum). Would be nice to find a good pivot point that builds on skills I already have.
I am incredibly biased, but have you ever considered going into private practice and doing tax controversy representation?

The rare CPA+JD combo is an excellent 1-2 punch for doing this kind of work, especially representing business clients with payroll tax liabilities. It is a very profitable business to be in, is effectively recession-proof, and you get to help save jobs and family businesses.

Again, I’m very biased, but your skill set may lend itself very well to this area of practice, and we need more good people with the combined accounting and law backgrounds in this field.
How'd you get into this? I would imagine it's quite difficult to transition to a knowledge intensive practice like tax (which might actually require the greatest learning curve of all the practices I've seen in big law, given how "intellectually rigorous", complex and technical the work can be). I don't have any tax knowledge besides basic knowledge that anyone would have with respect to having passed the tax section of the CPA exam and basic personal income tax. It's funny because I haven't found my CPA license very helpful in law except it signaled to employers during campus recruiting that I had professional work experience and maybe it helped in lev fin because I could read and understand financial statements.
I literally stumbled into this profession. Went bankrupt in the 2008 recession, and just needed a job. I transitioned from real estate. The learning curve is not very steep at all — at most firms, paralegals do most of the actual work. From a business perspective, it’s a service that has one of the highest fee to work ratios of any professional service I’ve ever seen.
You and I must live very, very different lives.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by antiqueman »

Been practicing law 36 years. Have never liked it. But money was good. Other than that I don’t have much positive to say about it .
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Gill »

montanagirl wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:22 pm
Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill

I resigned from the Bar when I was approaching retirement and my employer stopped paying my dues and CLE costs. Since the state bar does the licensing, I don't think I can hold myself out as a lawyer still. So I'm an ex-lawyer.

Though I could petition back on .
Sure you’re a lawyer - just not licensed to practice. I’m still a member of the NY Bar, just classified as retired.
Gill
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by gjlynch17 »

I am 51 years old have been practicing law for 25 years, all in private practice. The first four years were as an associate at a megafirm and the remainder were at a mid-size firm as an associate and later as a partner. As others have said, it is a demanding career but the pay is good. Interestingly I never thought I would remain in private practice and did look seriously at a handful of in-house opportunities over the years but none was quite the right fit. In retrospect I am glad I stayed as it does get marginally easier the more senior one gets in private practice.

I am looking at transitioning to an early retirement as I have a lot of other interests, both volunteer work and travel that I would like to focus on while I am still healthy. We have investable assets that are (or at least were as of January 31) at 25x expenses. However, I am likely to remain in practice for a few more years to provide a cushion for a bear market (glad I did not retire in Dec 2019) and additional travel money.
BillWalters
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by BillWalters »

I have literally never met a happy BigLaw attorney. The divorce/addiction rates are through the roof and the ballgame is over billing soulless corporations who complain about everything. The only happy lawyers I know are in house or in small shops.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by AerialWombat »

EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:39 pm You and I must live very, very different lives.
The life that a CPA or JD lives in American society is directly connected to the career or business decisions they choose to make. I firmly believe that these professions in particular have almost limitless mobility, opportunity, and optionality.

I only say this because I’ve seen it across hundreds of consulting clients. :beer
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Tatupu »

I am not an ex-lawyer but I work with many, many colleagues that left law. They are Foreign Service Officers and I have yet to meet one who regretted leaving their career in law behind.
EFF_fan81
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by EFF_fan81 »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:42 pm
EFF_fan81 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:39 pm You and I must live very, very different lives.
The life that a CPA or JD lives in American society is directly connected to the career or business decisions they choose to make. I firmly believe that these professions in particular have almost limitless mobility, opportunity, and optionality.

I only say this because I’ve seen it across hundreds of consulting clients. :beer
My comment was related to the prior poster's claim that most lawyers just do no work and have their paralegal do everything. I have closed billions in complex commercial real estate transactions and worked with hundreds of different lawyers, investment bankers, accountants, consultants, etc. They all work very hard. The idea that there is some paralegal there doing 95% of the work while everyone else just sips bourbon and cashes checks is... not true within my professional circles. Certainly there are very competent, hard working paralegals. For the deals that I do, they typically command $100k plus salaries in line with their value-add, as they should.

I understand that things may be different for more routine type of transactions, and perhaps in that sort of market the name of the game is creating a leveraged pyramid scheme and just focusing on marketing. I'd rather not run, or work for, an electronic paper mill so I'm not planning to find out.
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cpan00b
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by cpan00b »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:18 pm

I literally stumbled into this profession. Went bankrupt in the 2008 recession, and just needed a job. I transitioned from real estate. The learning curve is not very steep at all — at most firms, paralegals do most of the actual work. From a business perspective, it’s a service that has one of the highest fee to work ratios of any professional service I’ve ever seen.
Wait, what? Do you mind explaining more in detail what representing clients in payroll tax disputes entails? I was thinking more like tax controversy and representing clients in front of the IRS or tax court. Admittedly my only understanding of tax is in the corporate setting which can get very complicated with respect to structuring. I'm surprised you can do very well if the service is commoditized enough that paralegals can handle and if it's very form based.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by JediMisty »

Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:58 pm
montanagirl wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:22 pm
Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill

I resigned from the Bar when I was approaching retirement and my employer stopped paying my dues and CLE costs. Since the state bar does the licensing, I don't think I can hold myself out as a lawyer still. So I'm an ex-lawyer.

Though I could petition back on .
Sure you’re a lawyer - just not licensed to practice. I’m still a member of the NY Bar, just classified as retired.
Gill
IANAL. Never was. Thirty-one to 35 is the age range that I think most people realize that work is, well, "work". I expected a trajectory for my career that didn't pan out for a number of reasons, none of which matters now that I just turned 62 and hope to retire in a year or ....five. I tried to make lateral moves into other fields, but that was unlikely. Starting over with a mortgage and a child to support? Nah. I didn't HATE my career and I'm good at it. Do I make the difference in the world I thought I would? Not really, and I work for "the good guys". Sigh. So, I hung in there. I've never made "lawyer money", but did OK and have always lived below my means. So retirement will most likely work out. So there is plenty of discontent in other careers for some of the same reasons. BTW, a former BF who was suspended from the bar twice for silly reasons (IMHO) now has his own dive travel business. He's much, much happier. But kinda broke, I think.
Random Poster
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Random Poster »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:42 pm The life that a CPA or JD lives in American society is directly connected to the career or business decisions they choose to make. I firmly believe that these professions in particular have almost limitless mobility, opportunity, and optionality.
Maybe a CPA has "almost limitless mobility, opportunity, and optionality," but I don't think that a practicing attorney does.

At a minimum, getting licensed in another state (permanently, not as pro hac vice) can be quite a process, and then once you are licensed you've got CLE requirements to keep up with in every state that you are licensed in (provided, of course, that you don't go inactive or non-practicing).

And if you are at all decent at what you do as a lawyer, you are probably specialized in some type of law. Going from, say, family law to corporate litigation is possible, but it won't be easy, and so there really isn't all that much "opportunity" or "optionality" in that respect.

---

To the OP:

Law pays very well for some people, pays decently for most, and pays poorly for a few. The tradeoffs that come with the higher salary might be worth it for a few years and for some people, but like a previous poster suggested, there aren't very many happy lawyers out there.

I have had a decent run as a lawyer (I'm currently unemployed), but I can't honestly say that I really enjoyed it. The clients (even in an in-house role) become, over time, annoying and needy, the work becomes repetitive and unimaginative, and it can be difficult to see how one is adding any sort of value to anything of much substance.

Quite honestly, I went to law school for the wrong reasons. Wanted to make money (and lots of it) and didn't know what else to do after graduation. Perhaps the more altruistic have a better go of it, doing immigration or legal aid or whatever, but I'm sure that eventually those attorneys get fed up with their clients and the overall system as well.

I have no idea what the future holds for me, but at the moment I rather doubt that it will be law-related. But I'd suggest to you that you build up your financial base enough so that you have options to leave the law if that is what you end up wanting to do. That is easier said than done, but you don't hear of many people who don't like having options.
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AerialWombat
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by AerialWombat »

cpan00b wrote: Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:58 pm
AerialWombat wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:18 pm

I literally stumbled into this profession. Went bankrupt in the 2008 recession, and just needed a job. I transitioned from real estate. The learning curve is not very steep at all — at most firms, paralegals do most of the actual work. From a business perspective, it’s a service that has one of the highest fee to work ratios of any professional service I’ve ever seen.
Wait, what? Do you mind explaining more in detail what representing clients in payroll tax disputes entails? I was thinking more like tax controversy and representing clients in front of the IRS or tax court. Admittedly my only understanding of tax is in the corporate setting which can get very complicated with respect to structuring. I'm surprised you can do very well if the service is commoditized enough that paralegals can handle and if it's very form based.
Yes, it is administrative representation in front of the IRS. It is very form- and procecure-based. Not all, but the majority of cases are structurally the same. Delinquent returns need to be filed, bookkeeping done, and a Collection Information Statement (financials) prepared — the attorney is not doing these things (unless a solo, of course, which exist). Revenue Officer calls, Appeals hearings (all by phone), or the finalization of resolution with a call center rep are done by you, but in terms of time, these are the shortest things. So yes, fairly formulaic, much can be done by paralegal/admin assistant.

Of course, the fun cases are the ones that break the formula and have some weird thing going on. But there are several million of these bread and butter cases every year.
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AerialWombat
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by AerialWombat »

Random Poster wrote: Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:52 pm At a minimum, getting licensed in another state (permanently, not as pro hac vice) can be quite a process, and then once you are licensed you've got CLE requirements to keep up with in every state that you are licensed in (provided, of course, that you don't go inactive or non-practicing).

And if you are at all decent at what you do as a lawyer, you are probably specialized in some type of law. Going from, say, family law to corporate litigation is possible, but it won't be easy, and so there really isn't all that much "opportunity" or "optionality”
CPAs are also licensed at the state level, and have a much more onerous CPE requirement (40 hours a year vs about 15 CLE in most states). This is likely part of the reason you’ve seen the CPA+JD folks here mention putting their CPA license on inactive status.

Yes, changing specialty is difficult, of course. But compared to, say, a physician — much easier. I’ve seen attorneys successfully bridge over to tax law from corporate, criminal, bankruptcy, and a host of others in less than a year. I’m on the tax side, so I have only seen the transition in that one direction.

My original statement regarding optionality goes beyond practice area, though. A CPA or law license opens a lot of doors in business, government, and non-profit work, where the work isn’t contracts, litigation, or financial statements, but rather management and operations. But the law or CPA background is helpful, and opens the door.
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by afan »

Physician here. I find the complaints about continuing education for CPAs and lawyers puzzling.

I get about 100 hours per year of CME. That is much more than required, but part of staying on top of my field. That is on top of many hours spent studying that do not count towards that figure.

I have multiple CME requirements. To keep my credentials where I practice, to keep my license, to keep my specialty certification. I need to maintain all of those to keep my malpractice insurance.

I don't know what would be the minimum to do all these but I am fairly sure the license requirement is the lowest.

I would be terrified of a doctor who slides by doing the minimum continuing education they could.
But maybe law and accounting change more slowly than medicine? So less need to study to keep up?
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Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by Boglegirl81 »

I retired from practicing law at 28 years old. I went to a top tier law school, graduated #1 in my class, and was a member of Law Review. I worked in big law doing M&A for 3 years. One year into practicing law, I already knew it wasn’t for me so I started learning how to fly airplanes. Two years after that, I took an entry-level flying job flying a C172. I was quite lucky to get a flying job during the last recession. I then flew for a regional airline and a charter company before I finally got my dream job. I actually enjoy going to work now, and though I’ll reevaluate as I get older, I don’t know if I would want to retire early. I would have made a lot more money if I had kept practicing law, but I was miserable!
RudyS
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Any ex-lawyers here?

Post by RudyS »

Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:58 pm
montanagirl wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:22 pm
Gill wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:29 am Not sure what an ex-lawyer is other than one who has been disbarred. The day I graduated from law school I called myself a lawyer and now, many years later, I still do. I guess you mean a non practicing lawyer which I was my entire career. I found the trust business to be a very rewarding career if you enjoy trusts and estates with a bit of sales thrown in.
Gill

I resigned from the Bar when I was approaching retirement and my employer stopped paying my dues and CLE costs. Since the state bar does the licensing, I don't think I can hold myself out as a lawyer still. So I'm an ex-lawyer.

Though I could petition back on .
Sure you’re a lawyer - just not licensed to practice. I’m still a member of the NY Bar, just classified as retired.
Gill
Not only true for lawyers. I'm an engineer, although I let my Professional Engineer license expire quite a while ago.
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"Once a marine, always a marine" is the saying, not that I am one, but I appreciate their service.
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