Genesis, Etc.

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!

Love,

Vivian
Founding Member, The Ex-Lawyers Club

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10 responses to “Genesis, Etc.

  1. Love it, especially the list of ex-lawyers who have shown the way. How about adding Barack and Michelle?

    • By pointing out the absence of Barack and Michelle, you actually bring up an issue we’ve been mulling over. There’s careers outside the law that a legal background is traditionally thought to open up (e.g. careers in government). As much as we like the Obamas (especially Michelle b/c she’s a Harvard Legal Aid Bureau girl), we felt like they didn’t buck tradition by going into politics. Whether someone has gone down a non-traditional path is a tough call sometimes. But we don’t claim to be objective here!

  2. Great idea for a blog! I’m making the transition from law to management, and if others are like me, some assurance we aren’t walking off a cliff is a good thing. My main driver: doing something, instead of serving somebody who is doing something, i.e., being the decision-maker.

  3. I enjoyed reading your comments. I’ve been considering law school and spoke to my undergraduate advisor about it and he said that I didn’t strike him as the type of person who wanted to come home stressed out all the time. (He didn’t even know me.)
    Recently, I applied for a job as a legal assistant so I could observe the process as I worked my way up. My question is, if that is emotionally exhausting for lawyers, does it work its way down through the ranks?

  4. Just the kind of people I need for my CRUZADE for CHANGE. May I offer my idea/concept for your opinion/advise. I am aware that a lawyer’s advise or opinion is his/her “bread and butter,” but I take it, this time, not so anymore, or is it?

    Please visit my blog: http://urell9odama.wordpress.com.

    Many thanks.

    Urell

  5. Hi. Thank God there is a space like this in the Internet where ambivalent law students like me get to read actual experiences from ex-lawyers! I was once a Fine Arts student but decided to quit school since I found the methods too suffocating. In fact, I feel my creativity was impeded in art achool. Thus, I decided to pursue a more practical “Pre-law” course, to which I successfully finished. I still continued with my art though on the side.

    Now, I am on my third year as a law student in one of the greatest law schools in the country. Contrary to what most of you felt, law school did not suck the creativity out of me, it actually even bolstered it. It’s just weird, but I am inspired by the experiences of those people I read about in the cases. The artist in me tries to create a vivid picture of those people–like thinking how Mr. Smith looks like, how the scene was when he killed his wife, etc–and it’s a creative activity I really enjoy!

    I just really wish that this weird interest I have for Law and Art could be healthily balanced without compromising the either.

    But really, thanks for this blog. It’s such a breath of fresh air to get to here these stories. 🙂

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  8. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
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  9. This web site really has all of the information I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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