1. Life for a lawyer who leaves the law is…liberating, courageous, a long, long road, and about being challenged by others.
2. The hardest thing about being an ex-lawyer is…still carrying the “you’re a lawyer” brand on your forehead – not a favorable brand for most.
3. The best thing about being an ex-lawyer is…still carrying the “you’re a lawyer” brand on your forehead – a favorable brand for a select few (particularly friends who need legal help, and most of the time it will be random and unrelated to the kind of law you actually practiced.)
4. The primary misconception about ex-lawyers is…that they are lazy or couldn’t cut life in one of the top law firms in the country. Not true. Most of them could cut it. Most of them would have made partner. Most of them, however, had half of themselves slowly dying. In my view, it’s a matter of how powerful that half is in each particular individual. I have a very powerful rational/reasonable mind half (which made me a consummate lawyer), but I have an even more powerful creative/heart center/gut/viscera half (which makes me a consummate artist). Ignoring the latter was death to me. So for me it wasn’t a choice to leave the law. I had to.
5. The main difference between my life now and my life as a lawyer is…uncertainty. At a law firm, you know where you stand, you know you are going to make 50k more in 12 months, and after that 50k more, and so forth and so on. You know that in 7 years, if you work 300-400 hours a month (which you will), you will make partner and can buy a large house in the suburbs or a fancy apartment in New York. You know you can afford to go to all the top restaurants, buy all the fashionable clothes that you want, get married, have children (that is, if you don’t miscarry from the stress of top law firm life). There is something to be said for this certainty, I don’t deny this. These tangible things that law firm life guarantees elude the artist, at least at the beginning stages. And that’s just it, as an artist, you never know, there is always uncertainty, as to when your beginning stages will develop into something else. But that’s the sacrifice you make for choosing not to ignore the dictates of your intuitive heart center.