So one afternoon a few of us Ex-Lawyers were hanging out on the massive couch in my living room when the idea for this site came to us.
We’d each left law firms, clerkships, government, or in-house positions within the last couple years to pursue our various creative projects. All of us had our stories about leaving the law, and nope, it hadn’t been easy for a single one of us.
For some of us risk-averse, Type-A, over-achievers, the intensity of the legal world was just more of the same junk that we’d been fed all our lives. We had to make a conscious decision not to eat that stuff any more. For others, the contributions we were making to society–e.g. by writing legislation, providing legal aid–justified our unhappiness. But only to a point.
No matter how we got here, we each ended up sitting on my couch one afternoon while the rest of our law school classmates were out billing hours, working in-house, clerking, and doing important things not on my couch in the living room.
I can’t speak for everyone, but clocking in at a law firm every week was what I’d always been told was the best thing I could do for myself. It kind of felt like I was already dead, though. Was that what it was supposed to be feel like to be a productive member of society? A grown-up? I wasn’t sure. One thing I did know, however, was that I had to find out by leaving the firm.
So I did. I mean, it was a process. I didn’t just rip off my button-down shirt and go running down the halls. But eventually, I did take my law degree off the office wall and now it hangs happily in my bedroom between posters of my hero Neil Patrick Harris and my favorite band The Mountain Goats. I admit, I’ve felt a fair share of regret and guilt about giving up a standard issue dream job for a life of struggling to do my own thing. And do I miss the pay? Heck yeah! Do I have moments where I dream of going back? All the time. Do I freak out sometimes without the reassuring stability of my old job and the law firm sponsored fitness instructor telling me to power through? Yep.
But then, I turn to my fellow Ex-Lawyers.
I was surprised to hear a couple months ago that a friend from the year below me in law school had left his firm. I was even more stunned when he told me, “Because you’d done it already, it was less scary for me. It wasn’t a non-option.” Wow. Was he saying I’d actually inspired him? I have to admit, it felt kinda cool.
So, back on the big couch in the living room…
I was mulling over all of the above and over the cadre of Ex-Lawyers who had inspired me to make the leap when I exclaimed, “The Ex-Lawyers Club! That’s exactly what we need!” It would be a formalization of what we already were–a loose group of people who “get” each other by virtue of having done something “weird” after leaving the law. Only, we could be bigger than the handful of us sitting on my couch that afternoon.
There must be so many Ex-Lawyers out there, we mused, with just as many interesting stories to tell.
Immediately, like a room full of lawyers, we set to determining domain name ownership and whether there should be a hyphen between Ex and Lawyers in the url.
So here you have it, one week later, may we present to you the fledgling Ex-Lawyers Club. Whether you already are an Ex-Lawyer, aspire to be one, or merely know and love one of us, this blog is dedicated to you.
Thanks for checking us out! We welcome your comments, feedback, and ideas!
Founding Member, The Ex-Lawyers Club