About Us…And You

Here, we’re all about celebrating The Big Oops (as in, oops I spent three years in law school and XX years as an attorney), The Big Aha (as in, aha! it’s time to do something else in addition to lawyering), and The Big WTF?! (as in, WTF now?) and honoring you!

Whether you:

  • Left the law decades ago;
  • Have conquered the attorney world but now seek a life without billables;
  • Totally bucked the advice of the office of career services your 3L year without a second thought;
  • Were laid off in the recession and replied, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”; or
  • Were politely asked to leave because you spent office hours doing something completely unrelated to your caseload

You’re already a member of The Ex-Lawyers Club.  Hooray for you!

For those of you who:

  • Are a weekend (and week night!) warrior;
  • Have hopscotched back and forth between lawyering and something else for years; or
  • Are still in law school but can’t see yourself main-lining Westlaw/Lexis for the rest of your life

We love you, too, and welcome you with open arms!

222 responses to “About Us…And You

  1. Finding this site is like finding a roll of twenties on the street. I’m thrilled and I’m about to completely blow through it in 15 minutes. Awesome. This site speaks to me in so many ways.

  2. You have found a new fan, and I’ll have to introduce a few more people to you.

  3. I love this website. Love it.

  4. I love this site! I just wish there were more frequent updates.

  5. I love this website. I’m an almost 6 year old lawyer..young I reckon, in lawyer years. There are days when I wonder why I became a lawyer but the good days still outnumber the bad. I’m glad there’s this site though, at least we all know there’s life after law. Kudos!

  6. Thank you thank you thank you. It’s sad how much I regret becoming a lawyer and this site is encouragement to get out and do something I love.

  7. I have just quit my job as a solicitor in London and am doing some art courses – it’s like an epiphany! Very excited to have found this site too.

  8. Hi Vivian and Ex-Lawyers Club members!

    You have an amazing blog! I am an ex-lawyer from Estonia. I quit law a bit over a year ago after many horrible workaholic years. I messed up my health completely. Now I am cured and started my own company. Namely, I became a Mental Health Advocate and therapist to support others with mental health problems. I also wrote my first book about my own healing journey. There was a short period after quitting the law, when I had no idea, what I was going to do from there on. But I kept investingating the topics that insterested me until I found that psychology is my “true love”. 🙂

    The day, when I quit being a lawyer has been one of the most happiest days of my life so far. It was a completely wrong profession for me personally, although I thought for many years that this is the only thing I wanted to do with my life.

    My little word of advice to other lawyers, who are currently thinking about quitting this job – if you have had thoughts about quitting law for a long time already, you hate going to work each morning and you do not know what the word happy means anymore, then please do quit and pursue your true passions in life.

    Nothing is worth stressing yourself out. Life is absolutely wonderful, when you follow your passions.

    Best wishes to everyone!

    • Dear Eva,

      I’ve read your post right now and what you’re doing with your life only seems to be a dream of what i would wish to pursue with my life. I’m currently 29 years old and working as a lawyer at pretty big law firm in India. The hours are incredibly taxing and just unfulfilling. There is not a single day I wake up with the initiative to want to get to work in a hurry. What you just stated is ringing true on all fronts.. The term happy. The definition or understanding of it has most definitely left me. No doubts whatsoever.

      I just wish I had the courage to set out to pursue a career which fulfills me in a deeper sense of the manner. I dont yet. Thankfully, I’m not yet married so I dont have additional responsibilities of a family life that I need to think of.

      Spending hours checking out websites about starting a new life has become the new norm for me. Wish i had your courage. Please do contact me:)

  9. A Commercial company lawyer for 8 years dealing with daily client issues, part time lawyer taking it easy.

  10. I’ve been a lawyer for one year. I went to law school 3 years after undergrad, and when I started I was debt free. My law school advertised (in spring of 2008) an employment rate above 90%. My graduating class had a 40% rate for full time legal jobs. I am 100,000 in debt and was one of the “lucky ones” to land a legal job. I work in the public sector making 41K a year. I have never in my adult life been dependent on family for anything but am now 30 and live with my mom because my take home pay is not enough to afford my own place. I hate being a lawyer and hate my life. I have no idea why I went to law school and was making more money without a law degree. Everyday I live with regret and self loathing thoughts and feel constantly ashamed and inadequate that other people my age have “made it” and here I am living at home. Life sucks. The worst part about it is that I have all this debt that keeps me from being free or pursuing other dreams, and its debt that paid for something I spend everyday wishing would have never happened to me. I’m struggling to find my way out of this, as the days pass by I feel like I’m running out of time, worried that ill be trapped in this place forever, and all I want is to be out it and free. People who aren’t lawyers don’t understand how much being one sucks.

    • Hang in there, Jared. Don’t give up.

    • Oh my God. I feel like I wrote this post myself. The only differences in our circumstances are that I’m married with 2 kids and have been practicing law as a prosecutor for 7 years. I’ve felt the same way you do since my first week on the job. Trust me…it only gets worse

    • Jared, I feel exactly the same. I was driving to a hearing this morning and started crying. I hate this so much. I also work in the public sector and feel guilt for wanting to quit. I hate the constant stress and conflict of it. I think I need to quit soon because waking up every day dreading it and hoping I get sick so I don’t have to go in…is not normal, is it?

      Hang in there. You are NOT alone. I feel like no one gets it except the people on this blog. Don’t let your mental health be compromised. if we support each other, I think we can get the courage to get out.

    • Jared it sounds like I could have written that post. I have been a lawyer for about a year and a half. I already quit one job cold turkey after 3 months. I found another job that isn’t as stressful, but the same dissatisfaction is there. Somehow I make less than the law clerks that work for me and I also have to live at home due to the excessive debt and low pay.

  11. thomas augustine

    The pain of an unemployed lawyer is real. Pain is self-imposed. We create expectations and then suffer when they are not met. The social contract is breached daily, now is our turn. Count your blessings, help others and understand that we have laws because there is no justice in this world. Attempt to provide your abilities to others. You will find solutions and in the meantime be happier. Put those brains and your training to work and avoid whining, it is demeaning and unrealistic. You have skills, use them.

  12. I am sick of getting in early and leaving late and still getting sacked because boss says ” it’s not working for me”. Lawyers are cunts.

  13. Greetings from an ex-lawyer from Greece! I just turned 31 and decided to spend the rest of my life (or at least try to) without regrets and guilt. So I admitted to myself that being a lawyer was the worst decision I ever made and have made a 100% turn. I am currently learning how to program, I started again piano lessons and I write. That’s what truly makes me happy. We only live once, it’s a shame to spend your whole life trying to make everyone else happy (my parents in my case) and never stopping to think about what you would have chosen, if you didn’t have all these social and family expectations to meet up to. So nice to have found this site!

  14. I left a promising career in design to become a lawyer, it was the worst decision of my life. I’d be making way more money now as an art director than I do as a lawyer. Huzzah to all those who have found a way to leave the profession. The god darned “honor” trap of never being able to leave because it looks like defeat is a constant problem for me but I think I’m at the end of my patience for this profession.

  15. Yep – I actually do not know what to so say. Gruesome comes to mind. Having said that I do not not know the benefit of sharing my grief. I am still a lawyer leading a miserable life but consoling myself that what I do is intellectually stimulating (and also – pathetically – justifying it by telling myself I am a A grade lawyer) That clearly does not compensate for the egotistical/narricistical monster types that abound in law. I unfortunatelty encounter them every day. Twenty plus years. It does say alot about me. For that I am ashamed.

    • Catherine Jones

      Susan-I feel your pain. I tried for many years to make my life as a lawyer work; to try to become one of “them.” It’s been a horrible disappointment to say the least. It’s been a waste of my time, energy and devastating to my psychological well being. I’ve been very fortunate not to have been totally reliant on the profession for my livelihood, but I view the decision to pursue a career as a lawyer one of the worst that I’ve ever made. In some ways I wish I could take back the many years I’ve spent trying to fit my round peg into this ridiculously square hole, but it’s been a hard lesson in learning to respect myself for who I really am. So, I can gain some solace in that knowledge. Best to all of you out there struggling with the realization that lawyering is not for you!

  16. Just turned 43 and am walking away from law as I write Ill never get the 12 years I put into it and would give anything to get them back. Unfortunately we know that wont happen so I have to move on and somehow put it behind me. I cant help this feeling of depression and loss that comes upon me every so often. I do suspect this will subside with time as I am further away from this negative profession that is tantamount to being a used car salesman. Not that there is anything wrong with being a car salesman, except for the fact a car salesman does not spend 7 years in school!

  17. I’ve been a lawyer for 3 years. 2 unsuccessful years in solo practice, while working PT as a paralegal, and 1 year as an associate attorney in a small insurance defense firm. I now work for a yeller. By that, I mean one who has 2 volumes of speech: “yell” and “yell louder.” A week does not go by that I don’t endure personal insults and threats espoused at high volumes, yet apparently I’m performing fine. Others in my legal community have commented on the difficulty of working for and against the “Yeller” and my firm’s resulting high turnover.

    I really do dread going to work on days I know the Yeller will be in the office, and am manifestly disappointed on days when the Yeller shows up by surprise.

    I’ve been thinking of abandoning on my legal career for a very long time, but I just don’t know where to go and it was so hard to find this job that the thought of leaving it for anything other than another associate position is earth-shattering and embarrassing. My only job experience prior to practicing law was secretarial, and going back to paralegal/staff work would be dehumanizing.

    I will probably suck it up and go to work tomorrow, but I’m looking for the opportunity to move on and would welcome any suggestions anyone may have for non-legal careers for an insurance defense litigator.

  18. You guys are the honest ones. The big firms do not want guys like you. They want to get more sons-abitches that they will do the scumbag work that needs to be done. Our two party system is run by these turds and you are either a part of it or not. high levels of integrity in the legal system is long gone. One of these day I tell you a great story about the power brokers (attorneys) in my area that happened to a friend of mine.

  19. I’ve been a lawyer for 15 years and I can’t take it anymore. I HATE practicing law. I tried other fields (government), but it was even more disgusting. I am so glad I found this page and see there’s many who feel like me. Thank you for existing.

    to Lost: I know EXACTLY where you are, I’m also there. I’m just looking out to the world and try to find something, because this can’t go on much longer. I used to be a cheery and friendly person in law school, but practicing it had dehumanized me to a degree I don’t think 20-year old me would even talk to 39-year-old me, and I’m not even in criminal cases.

    Maybe I’ll finally go to art school and work in a bookshop or something. Maybe I’ll emigrate in a far off country. It doesn’t matter. The lawyering has to stop.

    Thank you for letting me say this. Now I’m off to read the rest. Good luck to everyone!

  20. I just starting work as a lawyer and hate it!!!!! I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake.

  21. Did a year of law school / absolutely hated it. Felt the pressure of family to continue, but I knew it was not for me. That was in my thirties. Now, at 50, I wonder if I did the right thing by leaving law school. I work in the service sector as a field technician. Many people over the years, many who are lawyers, told me I made the right decision – practicing law is not for everyone. I wish I did not have the regret of leaving, the ‘what would have been’ thoughts. Fact is, I hated law school and had no connection with law students – I felt as if I was completely out of my element. Reading the posts on this site have helped me find some level of peace with my decision.

  22. I quit my job today! Literally walked out. Feels so good, I know it’s a cliche but it feels like a weight has been lifted. I don’t even care the mess my boss is in now. My only thought is I liked helping the people who appreciated my help. Women escaping violence, stopping people from going bankrupt, helping dads see their kids. I just couldn’t handle my boss and the cut throat legal community including the Bench that delights is public humiliation,

  23. hi all. lawyer here in practice 4 years now. i have an opportunity to become a judge. can anyone tell me if that is a better than the actual day to day practice of law? i keep thinking this may be more sane that my current rat race.

  24. I really want to be a lawyer but this website is really making me think twice…

    • Don, do something else. Do anything else. I will talk to you more or email you, whatever. I went to law school and I regret it. I think for the overwhelming majority of people it is a terrible career choice. Like everything, there are exceptions and people for whom it may be a good fit. However, for the most part and for most people, I firmly believe it is an awful investment.

  25. To all those that are miserable, ask yourselves a series of simple questions. If you knew nothing about the profession, would you pursue a career in a field where the rate of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, divorce and suicide is dramatically higher than that of the average population? Would you voluntarily submit to a profession that requires you to engage in near constant conflict? Would you pursue a profession that requires that you suppress all creativity and always go on the assumption that all around you are not telling the truth? The answer is simple (the execution is difficult and each person’s circumstances must be considered). Once I decided to finally leave and start a business, the stomach aches stopped. I was able to sleep. I smiled more and I looked forward to implementing the ideas I wanted to pursue. The practice of law is an awful way to earn a living. Admit it to yourself and get out.

  26. I did a year of law school in my mid thirties / hated every moment of it. Finally came to grips and signed out. Now nearly 15 years later I wonder what might have been had I stayed in. It was a long time ago, at the time it felt like the right decision. I was not cut out to be an attorney, I had to be honest with myself. Looking back I wonder if my wife and I would be doing better now financially, we earn a living – lead a simple life and appreciate what we have. Sometimes the level of regret can be be overwhelming – reading messages like the one you shared makes me feel much better about deciding to leave – thank you for being honest about your feelings towards the practice of law. Stay well…

  27. Hi, I have been practicing for 5 years, now working in a magic circle firm as a banking/project finance lawyer. I don’t like my job at all. I can survive for now, but i have made a promise to myself that I will leave at the latest in July 2016. I was born in a simple family. My parents worked as government employee, we didn’t have much but we always had what we needed. Now I make much more money (>$100k) than my parents combined, but I remember I was much much happier. Life as a lawyer sucks. I started out in litigation, but got depressed with the the judicial system, the people in that sector, and most of the clients (big corporations or filthy rich people) that I served. Now as a transactional lawyer I hate the fact that I am doing super complicated, demanding, and time consuming works for people who does not even work harder than I am and care about the works that I do (for them the drafting of credit agreements etc are administrative stuffs). At the end I make these people much more money and they are (and the bankers, etc) are the one who got all the credits. Take a look at the completion of big infrastructure projects or big banking deals, they never say anything about who the lawyers in those deals are. What matters are the sponsor/owners of the projects or companies and the deal makers. I also hate the facts that most of my colleagues are mean and rude and I have to deal with these people everyday. I will make my own business in 2016, I will resign by then no matter what. Hopefully I can fulfill this promise and I will be back to update my status here.

    Good luck for everyone, let’s be strong and live happily!

  28. I’ve been working for 6 months at a prestigious litigation boutique in NY. I hate my life. I can’t count the number of times that partners have waited until Friday evening to give me an assignment, just so I would be forced to cancel weekend plans and spend my Saturdays and Sundays at the office. I haven’t seen my family since I started, and my boyfriend is going to end things since I never see him and when I do I’m stressed out and angry. My work product is constantly criticized, even though prior employers always praised my work (and even though I’ve only been doing this for a few months and have much to learn). I sit at my desk dreaming of a job where I could leave before 9 pm. I know that I’m ‘lucky’ to have this job and I hope I don’t sound lazy or spoiled. I don’t want to wake up 20 years from now and realize that I missed out on what’s important in life. Seriously considering quitting law before I get too deep into the profession and finding something-anything- else.

    • Kylie, I hear everything you’re saying. Your partners sound lovely, shoveling work at you right before the weekend. People just don’t understand the stress and anger that can come with being a lawyer. I have tried to explain it to my family and they just don’t get it. I am also sorry you work so many hours but at least, as you say, you are at a prestigious firm. Hopefully you are making some decent money. I recently resigned from a position as an Associate Attorney after a mere 5 months. It was my first full-time paid job after law school. I was not working as many hours as you but a good 55, 60 a week. I was working at a small firm. The environment could be quite negative and depressing. I am back at a sales job now. I am making significantly less money than before but am happy to be out of the law. As someone who resigned from his first lawyer job so quickly, I have received a lot of negativity and judgment from friends and family who don’t understand why I would go do something else after 3 years of school and, after all, isn’t being a lawyer a great, lucrative job? That is the mindset. Every job has its stresses but there is no need to be in a career that causes you to be a highly stressed, overworked, neurotic mess. At least that is how I felt. Lastly, you seem grounded. Don’t feel guilty about being “lazy” or “spoiled.” Gratitude is great but don’t let it obstruct fulfillment. Good luck with everything!!

      • Patrick this is so true. I’ve quit lying to family and friends after four years and have come out of the closet with the admission I HATE being a lawyer. When I tell people this they are shocked, dismayed, heartbroken and disappointed! It’s so frustrating that people who have never been a lawyer can pass judgment on us…I brought up at Christmas to family that I may pursue a teaching career (I’m an adjunct biz law instructor at a local university) and you’d think I just told I have piles of bodies in my basement…

      • I have hinted at not liking being a lawyer and its amazing the responses you get from family: I’m sure it will get better, how could you NOT like it, or the best one…well, what ELSE would you do?

      • Becky and Jared, it is amazing how much one’s family can care and resent you if you tell them you don’t want to practice law anymore or, in my case, actually do leave the law to pursue another occupation. I took loans out for law school, which is devastating, but am happy in a certain way. My parents had decent jobs and are retired now. If they had paid for law school, I am sure they would be giving me even more of a hard time than they have. Jared, I agree with your point about the harsh judging. Walk a mile in my shoes and see how great being a lawyer is. What I would tell people who questioned me, felt like I owed them an explanation for leaving my law job is this: Other than whatever prestige comes with the job title of Associate Attorney, everything else about the job I hated. The environment was awful, the hours and stress were atrocious, and, considering the hours and 3 years of school I completed, I was not making that much money at the end of the day. Life is too short and sometimes you just have to move on. Do I regret law school and becoming a lawyer? Absolutely, but that regret is useless unless I learn from it and do something about it.

    • How are you Kylie? How are things? Are you still at the litigation boutique in NY? If so, I hope you are holding up as well as you can.

  29. Well said…thanks for sharing. Your honesty helps bring closure for those of us who reached the same crossroad and decided to take another career path. Being honest with oneself is key.

    • Greg, nobody knows us better than ourselves. Honesty is the key. We have to really think about who we are and what we want out of life. If we are not getting it, we need to make a change. I hope all is well with you and wish you success in whatever endeavors you pursue.

  30. Dear Cyberspace:
    I’m called the bull. I’m a member of the plaintiffs million dollar club. Additionally, I’m a consumer advocate bankruptcy and debtor rights attorney. I hate my job. My clients ungrateful etc and always complaining. The guilt transference of these cry – babies is awful. I graduated from cambridge in uk and could have stayed for my phd in history but I’m stuck doing this because I wanted to impress my dad (lawyer) and college girlfriend by going to law school. Money sucks. Porsche Canali. Fuck it. Give me Cambridge and my books back. Help me God. I want out.
    The Bull

  31. Hi to all. I feel so guilty for saying this, but I hate being a lawyer. I thought my unhappiness stemmed from working in the corporate setting so I left a corporate lawyer job for a public interest lawyer job. I love working in public interest and working for a great cause, but now 3 months into the job I am starting to realize that I hate being a lawyer: the pressure, the conflict, the stakes, going to court, and the isolation. I really think depression is starting to set in and I don’t know what to do…can I quit when I worked so hard to get this job which I thought would make me much happier?

    • Becky, the short answer is yes, you can quit. Of course, that may take some time, effort depending on specifics of your exact situation. I absolutely empathize and understand what you are saying with the pressure, conflict, stakes, going to court, etcetera. Depression was setting in on me too. We all want to have good careers but no career is worth destroying your quality of life and significantly impairing your mental health. Most of us did work very hard to get our lawyer jobs, get through law school, and pass a state Bar exam. However, the fact of the matter, which can be hard to deal with, is that the time and work spent getting through school and becoming a lawyer are gone. They cannot be retrieved. So, my rationale or method of thinking when I resigned from my position as an Associate Attorney was to say to myself “where am I now?” and “do I want to stay in this job just to stubbornly convince myself that law school was a great idea, worth it, the right move etcetera. Sometimes it’s best to move on and start a new chapter, find a fresh you again. I quit my first job out of law school after just a few months. It was tough quitting and entering a different line of work. I am in sales now. Yeah, it has its tough moments, long days, and I am making less money. But I honestly have not regretted leaving my lawyer job for even a second. So, be smart, trust your gut, and don’t feel you owe it to yourself to be miserable.

      • Thank you Patrick for your encouraging words. Sometimes its very isolating and you feel like no one understands…especially family and non-lawyer friends. I must say a lot of my fellow classmates now attorneys also feel…disappointed, disillusioned and not quite sure where to go from here.

  32. I will tell you that things NEVER get better. I’m now in my third legal job since graduating law school four years ago. I did the big firm thing–12-18 hours a day 7 days a week, absolutely hated, suffered from physical exhaustion, lost all my friends because I literally had no time, just slept a few hours a day and worked the rest of my time. Gained 20 pounds because I had no time for exercise or recreation. Made amazing money I had no time to spend. Left that job for a government attorney job and was “40 hours” a week but salary and to actually get my job done required working at minimum 50 hours and also made less money than a local teachers starting salary. Could not pay my bills. Finally, am now a solo practitioner and while this is the best of the three, the hours are still long, pay is enough I can afford a few luxuries in my life and still make ends meet. But, I figured out the main problem in my quest to find the perfect legal job–THERE ISNT ONE FOR ME! I hate being a lawyer, absolutely hate it for so many reasons. It’s not interesting to me at all and I can’t stand 90% of other attorneys. It sucks being trapped in this profession. I’d tell you my issues with being a lawyer but on top of them all, I just do not find my work interesting, and I’ve now done a variety of things. All three jobs have been litigation focused and that’s supposed to be “exciting” law, but it sucks. I feel like I die everytime I hear a younger person I know tell me he or she is going to law school. And no, to all of the stupid uninformed people out there a law degree is NOT AT ALL appealing to people hiring non legal positions. “You should be able to get a job doing just about anything with a LAW DEGREE!”. BS.

  33. Thank You. I’ve been an attorney for 7 years now and I’ve thought that I am a failure as a human because I’m 46 and really unhappy with my work.

    • Katie, do not feel you are a failure merely because you are really unhappy with your work at the time being. Plenty of people are unhappy with their jobs and even hate their chosen professions. This seems to be particularly true of law. I read a statistic online somewhere recently that 93% of lawyers that left the profession or stopped practicing did not regret doing so. That is an incredible statistic and I don’t doubt its validity. Change can be incredibly tough and take time. I wish you the best. I hope you find a way to get more joy in your current job or, in the alternative (see that legal writing course paid off, lol), to get into a new profession or venture that helps you to begin again and find some joy and fulfillment.

  34. I have been a lawyer for 11 years. I too have tried to search for a ‘better’ law job but unfortunately there isn’t any. I have worked in the large firms, worked in my own practice and now I am working as a Government lawyer. They all stink. I get the same response from people when I tell them that I hate my job – they ask “how could you hate law”, “all jobs stink – you are lucky”. I hate to say it but I can not stand all the reading of briefs and drafting of documents that goes with being a lawyer. If I knew that most of my day would be sitting at a desk reading I definitely would not have chosen this field. Sure I get to court sometimes but even that is boring and a lot of preparation work and more reading – definitely not like the movies. If I have to read one more large file I am going to scream!! I look at other careers and they definitely don’t have the pressure and negatively that being a lawyer has. Oh well, I better go – I have more files to read…..

  35. Thanks Pat / I appreciate what you wrote. This forum has been very helpful in bringing much needed closure and acceptance. I wish you all the best as well / life is a learning experience…make the most of each passing day.

  36. Hello to all again! I just wanted to vent. Yesterday, a client’s mother complained about me to my boss and a woman yelled at me over the phone and accused me of being a liar. Just another great day as a lawyer!

    • Hang in there Becky. You are not alone, although as you and others have expressed, it is hard not to feel that way in this profession. Just do your best for now and in the time being to try to retain some positive view of life. Do something to relax this evening: go out to eat with some friends or watch a good TV show that you like.

  37. This article completely resonates with how I feel right now. I woke up at 6 am this morning and cannot go back to sleep, stressed and worrried. I’m stressing out about how I could have handled a case better yesterday. I have been doing workers compensation defense for about a year and a half. Mainly, my boss have been sending me to court to deal with lien claimants. Lien claimants represent quack doctors, chiropractors, physical therapist, pharmacies, etc. trying to collect their bills from insurance companies. In workers comp, lien reps do not have to be attorneys. The whole workers comp system is so sloppy and messed up. People without a high school degree can go to court and negotiate on behalf of lien claimants. Very soul-sucking type of work. Opposing counsels, lets not get started with them….

    I like my coworkers but I cannot stand the people I have to see and deal with at the various workers comp boards on a day to day basis. I can’t stand to their faces all the time. I really hate who I have become and I don’t like my bitter self. The income is decent but I do not have time to enjoy it and let alone have kids. I am 29 years old and I’m not getting any younger. I fear it is too late to make a career change.

    All areas of law seem miserable to me. I have also done a bit of employment law, civil litigation, and public defender work in the past. I really cannot see myself being a lawyer for the rest of my life. I am constantly worried about doing things wrong and screwing up the case. I have to constantly put on this tough exterior. I can’t do it anymore. I think I just made a mistake on two cases yesterday and I cannot get restful sleep at night due to the stress and the 225 billable hours a month and of course, the partners want you to bill more. I dread going to work each day. The weekends are spent working and feeling anxious. I really want to walk away and do something else with my life but my family keeps telling me that all job sucks, the grass is always greener on the other side, etc.

    Sorry for the rant. I just needed to vent…

    • Elsa, the part of your post that really resonates for me is the “hate who you have become” part. That is no way to live. I am glad you can still sleep until 6am. Often, I would be unable to sleep much, be very stressed, and would be up at 2 or 3am and could not get back to sleep. That is not a lifestyle one can sustain. It was awful and I could rarely get a decent night’s sleep when I practiced law. Like you, my family was and is very unsupportive of the fact that I resigned from my job as a lawyer and took a less prestigious, less well-paying sales position. But I’ll tell you one thing: I don’t regret it!!! At all!! People like friends and family telling you all jobs suck, and that grass is always greener is just what they do because they don’t do what you do day to day and can’t comprehend how awful it is. For them, of course it’s easier for you to just stay where you are and do what you do: you’re employed, you have a job, you have an education, and you’re a lawyer!! Their mindset is “isn’t that enough?”. We spend more time working in our lives than we do at any other activity. You must, must love your work. I honestly don’t think where I am will be my last field or final destination. But it’s fine for now, I make a few bucks, and believe it or not I actually have LAUGHS at work (something that never ever happened when I worked at my lawyer job.) So, hang in there!! You are still young!!! I am 34, so I have some years on you and I made a change. You can do so as well.

  38. Elsa – hang in there, you are not alone. I feel like your message could have been written by me about 4 months ago when I was in a corporate law job. I think some women, like me, struggle with worrying about “missing our chance” to have a family due to the pressures of being an attorney, which are compounded by the very intense pressures associated with billing requirements. I am 34 and my husband and I put off trying for a family because of that job. I left the job when I realized that I was not only miserable but also sacrificing what I really wanted, which was to have a life…and a family.

    Please do not wait as long as I did to get out…you are only 29 and still so young! You have plenty of time to try something new, think about what you want, and go get it. Best of luck to you! 🙂

    • Hi Patrick and Becky – Thank you for the encouragement. This morning’s court hearing was the final straw for me. I was in Court and the other party just started yelling at me when he did not get his way because he thought his two decades of experience automatically made him correct. I held my ground and he lost his position on the issue. However, it made me ask myself time and time again, “Can I really do this for the next 20 years?” Answer is a resolute “NO.” The lack of support from my immediate family makes me afraid to start over. However, I started taking a class during the weekend at a local university to prepare for a career in another field. In the interim, I have to stay up to work on a status because the insurance company wants it as soon as possible, which probably means “yesterday.” I cannot wait to get out of the legal profession.

  39. What is new with everyone? How are things? I was just wondering because it seems nobody has updated or commented in a while.

    • Hi Patrick. Still plugging away…just trying to muster up the courage to admit to myself and to my friends and family that what I really want to do with my life is volunteer and be a mom…there, I said it!

      In the meantime, I have learned that it’s not safe to talk about my dissatisfaction with the law. People simply try to coax me that I like lawyering more than I actually do. Therefore, I’m keeping my feelings to myself and trying to come up with an exit strategy!

      • It’s hard reading all of the comments and not feel like the law profession should have a personality test to screen for compatability.
        I’ve been a lawyer for 27 years and have gone thru many ups and downs in that time. I’ve never loved it, right now I’m real tired of it. I tolerated it because the money was good and I had a family to raise.
        My advice to all is try to find what really interests you and go for it. It’s hard to be a success at something you hate.
        If there is one good thing about lawyering it provides a window to many careers, peek in you may see something you would like to do. Go

      • It’s hard reading all of the comments and not feel like the law profession should have a personality test to screen for compatability.
        I’ve been a lawyer for 27 years and have gone thru many ups and downs in that time. I’ve never loved it, right now I’m real tired of it. I tolerated it because the money was good and I had a family to raise.
        My advice to all is try to find what really interests you and go for it. It’s hard to be a success at something you hate.
        If there is one good thing about lawyering it provides a window to many careers, peek in you may see something you would like to do.

      • I agree. Each time I attempt to discuss my hatred/dissatisfaction with the law, the response I always get is, “you are a lawyer,” and “with experience, it will be easier and get better,” and “everyone hates their job.” Or the more you get used to opposing party yelling at you, it will be easier?? Really?? Their mentality seems to be to just keep working hard and somehow the job will “miraculously” get better. I now just keep my true feelings to myself.

      • Becky, I hear you. Sadly, I can relate to your situation. My family resents me and seems to hate me for quitting my lawyer job. It seems I am something of an embarrassment to them I suppose. They both had successful careers which required education. They say things to me like “you’re a lawyer, just stick to being a lawyer” or “you studied so hard for the Bar exam and did well on it” or “you can make the most money as a lawyer.” They just don’t get it. It’s bad enough that I have massive loans that I doubt I will ever pay back or if I do it will be 40, 50 years from now if I don’t die before then. Just know Becky that you owe it to yourself to be happy. Life will always have its difficult moments but not every Monday through Friday for 10-12 hours a day should be miserable. That is how I feel and why I left my law job. Hang in there and just know you can always vent on here.

      • Becky, hang in there. I can sadly relate very much to the people trying to convince you law is great and you should stay in it. It’s very easy for people who have never worked a day as an attorney to say such things. Good luck coming up with an exit strategy!! And just remember we owe it to ourselves to maybe not be “happy” but at least be “content” with our lives and find fulfillment in them. Keep me posted and let me know how you are doing.

  40. I am 61 and I have been licensed to practice law for 23 years, mostly full-time with the last 15 doing immigration law and working for myself. I hate being a lawyer, too. I also have 2 masters degrees. I am trying to get a job in another field (using one of my masters degrees) in my last few remaining work years because I want to finally get satisfaction in my job since I spent so much time getting an education. I hated law school, which I attended from age 22-25. My sister kept telling me to finish, although I wanted to drop out. So I did. Then it took me many tries and 13 more years to pass my first bar exam. Then I took 3 more exams and now have 3 state licenses. I was doomed from the beginning and I’ve never made more than $58,000.00 in any job. I say if you are unhappy now, you will probably always be unhappy practicing law so my suggestion would be to stop practicing ASAP and move on while you are young. I feel like I’ve wasted the best years of my life floundering when I could have done some other work and gotten good in that field. I make my husband miserable because I am so miserable and depressed. I’m also in group therapy (with other lawyers) and taking anti-depressants and have diabetes, which the stress of my job makes worse. Please don’t hurt yourself like I have. But I am determined to get a new job in a new field before the end of 2015.

    • Patty, thanks for your honesty and courage in sharing your experiences on here. I am sorry that you hate being a lawyer. I sincerely hope you find the will and opportunity to do anything else that might provide you with some degree of contentment or fulfillment soon. Life is too short. You owe it to nobody to force yourself to endure any more of the lawyering career than you have to. It seems to me from your post that you would literally be happier doing anything else at this point. You can correct me if that’s wrong. I hope the therapy has helped you somewhat. I am no doctor or therapist or anything like that. However, I try to come on here at least every couple of days. So, if you ever just need to vent or put something out there, please do. I felt so alone, miserable, and isolated during the extremely brief time I practiced law as a job. I know how it is. I resigned from my very first lawyer job after law school and passing the Bar exam. I have not regretted it even once!! I am in a better place now emotionally and socially because I did quit. Hang in there. Have a nice night.

  41. Ts, here’s a personality test: want to work in a job which places you in constant conflict? Are you a selfish individual who cares nothing for anyone else? Are you willing to bend the rules you are supposed to follow in half? Are you willing to stab your colleagues in the back? Better yet, are you at least a borderline sociopath? Than law school may be for you! Currently, I have had own small practice for the past five years, which is as good as itgets for me. There are more responsibilities, the hours are longer,mI honestly enjoy representing my clients now. However, worked at a insurance defense house counsel operation for years which was a dead end nightmare. Regardless, five more years when my wife retires and I’m out. Woot! Woot!

  42. Your honesty is admirable – your message will resonate with many like myself who wrestled the decision to take a different path in life. I wish you well with whatever you choose to do next…..Godspeed.

  43. What’s new with everyone? How is everybody holding up?

  44. I just feel stuck. Even though I have outstanding skills in my community, because I’m a lawyer nobody else wants to give me a chance to do anything else. I believe many think I’m over qualified, or under qualified for some of the specific jobs I want to do. I’m still looking for jobs outside the legal profession but bracing for the possibility that I may have to stay in my current job. So I’m thinking of ways to make it more palatable. One huge problem is that I don’t have an assistant. I do everything in a high volume practice. I answer phones, write pleadings, do research, meet with clients troubleshoot computer issues, etc. I’m overwhelmed and under paid, but in the global scheme of things (I’ve lived abroad in “emerging economy” countries) I am fortunate because I have a job, a car, a house, food, a husband, friends, family and pets. Many others would love to be in my position to escape the drudgery of their own lives. Also my job IS interesting, I just don’t like fighting with other lawyers and judges. I represented a client in an immigration court last week and the short hearing was not as bad as I had imagined. But I’m dreading the next hearing. A Texas federal court enjoined a presidential executive action yesterday and some of my clients are up the creek. I’m working alone in a legal culture of NO, and it’s emotionally painful.

    • Patty I., I appreciate everything you wrote. Most specifically, I appreciate the gratitude you have for having a job, food, a home in these economic times. It is very praiseworthy of you. However, don’t let yourself feel that you ever have to accept or settle for any career that makes you miserable. I know making any kind of change is easier said than done. And I am sure, though it may be tough, someone outside the legal profession would and will hire you. That feeling of being “stuck” is an awful one. Don’t worry about feeling like you are whining. That is the point of this site, to help people who hate being a lawyer or experience real stress and depression from the career. Hang in there. Just try to keep a healthy amount of that gratitude you have for the positive things in your life but don’t let it paralyze you into being stuck with this career. Keep me posted and let me know how you’re doing.

  45. I do feel better reading other posts so please keep them coming. Sometimes I feel like I’m whining. I guess I am.

  46. I have adhd. This makes my legal career even more difficult.

  47. Hello Patrick and to all! I hope all are doing well! I had major surgery a few weeks ago and gloriously, I have been home from work. It’s a wake up call when you look forward to major surgery because it means you won’t have to lawyer for 4-6 weeks!! The surgery went well and I am almost completely recovered, but now feeling a bit down because I will have to go back to lawyering in 2 weeks. I was hoping that I would feel recharged and ready to go back. Instead, I feel a bit sad that I have to go back. Anyone else felt like that after being sick, having surgery, or going on vacation?

    • Sadly, I can relate to your feeling 100%. I sometimes think of the days I can take off from work if I only I had some sort of medical condition (non-life threatening) which would require a good 1-2 months off from work. The thought of not having to deal with opposing counsel, adjusters, lien claimants, Judges, cases and files sound so exhilarating right now.
      I wish I did not have to be be in Court everyday this week. I am getting work piled on me left and right. A never-ending mountain of work awaits me as I type this at close to 4 am in the morning.

      • Elsa, hang in there. I am sorry to hear that you are so busy and overworked. I know it’s easier said than done but try not to get too down. Have you pursued or thought about leaving the law and pursuing any other careers lately? It definitely sounds like your job is wearing you down and not giving you much in the way of fulfillment.

    • Becky, I am glad your surgery went well. Rest up and hope the recovery continues to go well. I am sorry you feel so sad that you have to go back. I hope you find your way out of the lawyer job soon.

      • Patrick what “other career” do you suggest Elsa pursue!? That’s nice you care, but come on, there’s NOTHING for any of us to do. Being in law long enough closes more doors than it opens. The only option for most of us is to go back to school and take on additional did in our 30’s or later. It’s just unfair for you to think any of us are continuing to make ourselves suffer because we are out pursuing “other careers.” I’m open for suggestions and will leave my job today if someone offered me another career that didn’t require going back to school. We are all stuck to live the rest of our lives suffering the torment of this awful profession.

    • Becky: this is such an awful feeling to have but I completely understand. It’s Monday morning and I feel completely devastated that I have five full days ahead of me. I have to deal with several nasty opposing counsel this week and just seeing them is making me literally sick to stomach. I’m so sick of other lawyers and have been in federal court a lot recently and am just sick of all the pomp and circumstance and formalities and complete BS and fakey-fakeness and ass kissing arrogant judges that goes along with it. I HATE everything about being a lawyer, and what I hate the most is that I am trapped in this awful profession and there’s realistic way out of it. Glad you’re feeling better but sad you’re headed back to work. I really am sad for you because I too know how awful it is when that dread sets in that it’s time to return. That’s why I won’t take long vacations.

      • Jared, first of all, don’t dare put words in my mouth. I never ever said anything about people choosing to make themselves suffer because they are pursuing other careers. All that I did was ask if someone was thinking about other careers. Please get it right. That is all. Good luck to you. If you seriously think you are stuck in law and cannot get out of it, then best of luck to you trying to make the best of it and endure it. But please don’t paraphrase me and misinterpret what I say.

  48. No reason to be so hostile…apparently I did misinterpret what you said. My point is that “it” is NOT as easy as simply going out and pursuing another career. I was looking for guidance and hoped you would elaborate…how DOES one even begin to transition out of law? I appreciate the kind words you offer everyone and the encouragement, but many of us truly feel like there is no way out. Maybe you can lead.

    • Jared, do you have experience in any other career or type of job? What keeps you where you are – is it the income level and you don’t want to make less money? Do your family, parents, or significant other pressure you to stay in it? For me, it was not that tough. I only had one lawyer job and I hated it and was not making much money. Prior to law school, I worked as a sales representative for a software company for 3 years. I liked it without loving it. But eventually wound up going to law school. Law school was always something I thought about and parents and friends encouraged me to do it because I was “capable of being more than just a salesman.” When I decided I wanted out of my law job I knew I was going to go back to sales. I got a job in software sales again with a different company. It still has its stresses but I am much happier and no longer sit around all day on Sundays dreading the upcoming week like I did when I was a practicing attorney. Have you checked out Casey Berman’s leave law behind website? Check it out if you have a chance. It has some interesting stuff. Also, as I have said in prior posts, I have gotten a lot of negativity and judgment from friends and family for leaving my lawyer job. I also make 12,000 dollars less a year. But I am much happier and content. Also, there is another site besides the Casey Berman one. I will look up the name when I have a chance.

  49. Thanks will check it out. I am in my “third” legal position… I have done large firm, government, and now solo. I am making good money, but absolutely hate what I do. And yes, I’ve “come out of the closet” to friends/family about my distaste of practicing law, and it’s astounding to me the disappointment everyone expresses to me–you’d think I came out and told them I murdered someone. Friends and family literally act devastated that I cannot envision myself practicing law the rest of my life. I’m so unhappy I really don’t care anymore what they think. At first I thought–“well, I just don’t like THIS type of law…” but after a few years I’ve realized I don’t like it at all. I don’t really have any other type of experience. I went to law school because I didn’t feel “important” enough–I worked for three years out of undergrad first, and thought I needed an advanced degree to be important and respected. I’ve been seeing a therapist weekly to help me cope, which helps with depression and anxiety, but he, like all non-lawyers, just doesn’t “get it.” His solution continues to be that “law degrees open up so many doors, anyone would hire you.” Show me those open doors and I will go running through them. Law school, and my life as a practicing lawyer has morphed me into a completely different person…I’m just unhappy, miserable, and short-tempered. I am not the easy going, social, happy guy I was before. I am lucky in that I do not have any debt, other than a car payment. I really just don’t know what I else I can do. And income is part of the issue, but if I think hard about it, money doesn’t seem to be making happy, and I don’t have time to spend it anyway. I really really really just cannot stand dealing with other lawyers…I do business litigation primarily, and all trial work. Constant fighting. I’m just not the right personality for it. I truly believe a lot of lawyers in my practice area have personality disorders. Anyway, appreciate it, thanks for tips! Sorry if I came off rude in earlier post.

    • Jared, you do not have to do this forever. Like you, I just don’t like it. My family and friends dont get me but you know what, they dont have to live my life every day as a lawyer. I highly recommend Scott Dinsmore’s Live Off Your Passion course. I started it last week and it has really been amazing and has given me hope that there is more for me…I hope this helps.

    • Jared, I hear you. I too am sorry if I came off combative before. Believe me, I totally understand what you are saying on the friend and family thing. I have all this crushing debt. In a way I don’t mind it though because I feel my parents would give me even more grief and a harder time if they had paid for or given me money toward the law degree. I understand what you say about wanting a better job, feeling you should do something more important. I kind of felt the same way and, as I said before, people tell you that you are “capable of more” if you are a relatively intelligent and hard-working person. The older I get, the more I realize that there are so many other parts of who we are than our jobs or chosen professions. And you don’t necessarily need to have the best job or make the most money to have contentment and lead a fulfilling life. I hope things get better for you!!! I am pretty sure my parents and, in particular my father will always have a substantial resentment toward me for leaving law. But I don’t care. I make less money now, have less prestige. I am annoyed to get up for work tomorrow but not depressed, angry, and bitter like I was as a lawyer. Good luck.

  50. I have been practicing law now for 9 years, and am coming up on 5 years as a solo practitioner. When I used to be with a small firm, I was mainly assigned the family/divorce cases that came in to the office, and as such I involuntarily developed a specialty practicing that type of law. When I hung my own shingle in May 2010, most of my new business was referrals for family law matters such as divorces. I HATE practicing law! Maybe it’s the type of law I practice, but I feel so trapped. Right now I am in a position to where I could only get out of my area of practice by not taking anymore family law cases, and weaning myself out of it; however, that’s where the new business comes from. So I can’t just turn away business since I have a family to support and a wife who can not work due to a stroke she had. I have tried to go back to a firm environment, but no one will hire me due to a lack of experience in other areas of law. I am at my wit’s end!!! Honestly, I doubt I would even enjoy practicing in a firm environment. Before I went to law school, I drove a delivery van for Airborne Express. I made less money than what I make now, but was so much happier and not stressed out all of the time. I’ve considered just walking away from the practice and finding something else to do, but that would leave many clients hanging, and likely would cost me my license. I’m really troubled by all of this. I really wouldn’t care if I lost my license and I could be happier and less stressed, but at the same time I spent three years of my life in school to get that license, and, the last nine years of my life utilizing it. I’m just at the point where I am constantly frustrated, stressed, negative, and not fun to be around. Any suggestions or success stories of just walking away from the practice cold turkey even though your license may be at risk by doing so?

  51. Ken I understand… I am there myself. All I do is litigation, lawyers refer their trial cases to me who don’t like going to court and I takeover representation. I absolutely hate it. The work I do is difficult and stressful. I would like to transition to more of a transactional type of practice, but have pigeon holed myself into what I’m doing now. I am good at what I do, but that makes it even harder to quit, and it makes others just dumbfounded that I would “give up.” Everyone I talk to about this claims that no one likes their job “100%” of time, “that’s just life.” NO IT ISN’T… people have no idea how awful being a lawyer really is until they ARE a lawyer. Every single day is a struggle. I just won a trial yesterday and it didn’t even make me happy because I had to leave the courthouse and come back to my office and deal with all the shit that piled up this week when I was focusing on trial. It never ever ends. I too was once happy, easy going and just a fun guy to be around. I have been destroyed by this profession. It’s such a dark place to be. I’m trying to be proactive, hopeful and am now seeing a therapist and life coach (1,000 a month). My therapist, like the rest of my “supportive” family and friends, just CANNOT BELIEVE that I would want to leave my career as a lawyer!? They don’t understand, only we understand each other. Please don’t give up hope.

  52. Jared, I have my first appointment with a therapist tomorrow and I’m worried he won’t understand that being a lawyer is AWFUL. I have a good job and I do help people, but something is wrong when you wake up and cry because you dread going to another hearing. I really think I am sinking into a depression because on the weeknights, I feel really down. It’s only the weekend where I feel like myself. Does that make sense?

    • Becky: I’m sitting in my office right now getting ready to draft interrogatories…of course there are worse things in life, and there are people worse off than me, but I can’t say this is an amazing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I am dreading the upcoming Easter weekend because family commitments will put me behind on work and I will pay for it the entire following week with late nights at my office. It’s the only way I can stay ahead to work on the weekends, and holidays make me feel like I’m going insane, and if I don’t spend ENOUGH TIME with my family I get guilt trips and am treated like a horrible person. People think I ENJOY OR WANT to work as much as I do. They don’t get it. I don’t enjoy this and would much rather spend the weekend visiting with out of town family and lounging around, but I DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE but to APPEASE EVERYONE I will be partaking in family gatherings next weekend and will just deal with the craziness the following week. I hope therapy starts to make you feel better, sometimes I think it’s working and other times like today I don’t feel like it’s working. I am so sick to my stomach about this upcoming week and all of the work I have to do I haven’t eaten yet today and couldn’t sleep last night. It’s a horrible way to live.

  53. Hello all,

    I am writing to ask for some help. I am a first year associate at a mid sized firm in the tristate area. I am practicing commercial real estate and absolutely abhor it. I have spoken to other people about my situation, and some have told me to try another area of the law. I, however, know that this is not the solution. I recognize that the nature of law, regardless of practice area, is shitty. The endless research and writing about dull topics, the feeling of suffocation caused by the billable hour, the uninteresting personalities that this profession attracts and turns people into, and the lack of gratification that comes from being a glorified paper pusher..i feel like I can’t take another minute of it.

    So why don’t I leave :

    -I am neck deep in debt… 100,000+.
    -i have family responsibilities (no I don’t have kids, but my siblings and parents need help).
    -i don’t actually hate the people I work with, they’re actually all decent people. I just have no interest in practicing.
    -I find myself toeing the line between having the courage to leave and find myself vs staying and being stuck in this longer.

    Please give me some advice. Thank you all.

    • You can read my above comments… I’ve been where you are and am now in solo practice. I have hated every legal job I’ve had. If you’re not interested, you’re not interested. I feel bad for you because I know how you feel, and how it feels to be trapped because I feel the same way. I’m seeing a therapist and life coach right now…it’s expensive but am slowly making progress. I will never be happy as a lawyer, and have admitted that. I’m trying to accept that family and friends’ opinions of me need to come second to my happiness. Everyone in my life expresses disappointment and some even anger, when I tell them I want to leave the practice of law… don’t give up yet, you need to continue in your job long enough to search for another one. I recommend trying a couple different legal jobs before you decide it’s not for you.

  54. Okay, I think I am at my wit’s end. I need to quit NOW. I am struggling to get out of bed in the morning and I cry a lot. My biggest fear is that my boss will be mad/disappointed. She’s a good boss and she likes me, so I feel horrible GUILT for wanting to quit. But I need to. Any suggestions on what to say to her??

    • Becky, sounds like you are in a real bad place now. Struggling to get out of bed and crying a lot over a job is not something anyone should be doing with consistency. Every job has bad moments and really stressful times. But I think law in particular can become this on a daily basis. That is why I only lasted 5 months!!! In my very first lawyer job!! Do you have any time off or any time you can do interviews for anything else right now before you quit this job, just so you have an income? Try to do that if you can!! But remember that no job – no matter how much they pay you and how much prestige people may think it has, is worth sacrificing your mental health. I had my sales job lined up before I quit and my boss at my law job was a decent guy. I wanted to give him enough notice. So I understand your concerns. I gave him 3.5 weeks notice. I told him first thing in morning when I got in that I was going to quit and had found another opportunity. He was initially upset, cursed once, and said he wanted the firm to have some stability. I told him I was leaving for a sales job. He was somewhat shocked that I was moving out of law already. Although he was initially pissed off it seemed, he talked to me later that morning and told me thanks for giving him notice, that he appreciated it, and he was sorry the opportunity didn’t work out. He said as well that if I ever needed a reference, I could count on him.

  55. Becky:
    I totally get where you are coming from. I HATE the practice of law and have been doing it for 13 years. I want out. I practice family law in a firm and I cannot stand having to deal with these clients and conflict every damn day. I really believe it led to my divorce due to the stress that I was under. I have learned not to take things as seriously but I dread work. Further, after my divorce, I adopted a child. She, more than anything, makes me want to lead a less stressful life. The people that I work with are great but I simply hate the practice of law. I just hate the fact that I have student loans and don’t know how I will pay for them if I don’t continue to practice law. It is awful.

    • I am in the process of transitioning out of law. I was stuck as a solo like ken G, but without family obligations. Law was wrecking my health, my personality, my life in general. I was also miserable in the job. The stress, paperwork, high maintenance clients, and of course opposing counsel who only exists to make life more difficult. After 5 years of that I came to the realization that the compensation was never going to be worth the aggravation and I was headed for any early grave. I bit the bullet and quit taking new clients so I could transition out. It was a bankruptcy practice so I had to finish out all of the existing cases as they were paid on a flat fee. It has been tough financially, but if you can see light at the end of the tunnel you can make it through anything. My light was being free of that stress monster called a law practice. I put one of my last cases to bed tonight. It feels so good!and I am so much happier. I am driving airport limo now. I have lost 45 pounds and have no stress. I enrolled part time in a community college taking online nutrition classes which has put my student loans in deferment – until 2020 for some reason. I don’t know what is coming next, but I could not imagine staying in law my whole life. I still get pretty steady calls from referrals from former clients. There is absolutely zero temptation to take a case or two for some extra money no matter how tight things are – it will never be worth the freedom I feel once again.

      • D – I am so inspired by your post. I love that you decided that you had had enough and have gone into another line of work. Good for you! You are an inspiration to me!

  56. Hello. Two major things have happened since I last wrote in February. My 93 year old mother died at the end of March. It was painful for me to literally watch her die in a hospital. And much like after the death of my father 32 years ago, I felt an even stronger urge to make a change and find a job better suited to my personality in my last remaining 10 or so work years. I have found that job at a local university and it has been offered to me. I will be able to use my skills as an immigration lawyer in another setting as a foreign student advisor and immigration/visa specialist. I will also be able to use the skills I gained from my master’s degrees and previous jobs. I have taught before and worked as an assistant college administrator and law school librarian before I started practicing law. I always enjoyed the college environment, especially when I did not have to teach and grade papers. I plan to start the new job (which is a permanent position with health insurance benefits) in mid June. For now, I will continue to practice immigration law in my current position until I begin the new job. After that I will continue to practice immigration law part-time and work at the university. But I will only handle administrative immigration cases that involve preparing and submitting applications online and by mail for new Americans; they will be cases that do not require immigration court (or any other court) appearances. Hopefully, I will never have to represent anyone in an immigration court again (except for one last hearing that was already scheduled for the end of May). I hope it all works out and that I will feel better not being a full-time lawyer. Time will tell. I also hope that others on this list will find more fulfilling work.

    • I was hoping to start in late June but, due to circumstances beyond my control, after the morning orientation tomorrow I will start my new job at the university in the afternoon. The U changed the title of the job to Visa and Immigration Coordinator and I have not seen the new job description. I am very nervous to start because of a (negative) conversation I had on Friday with my new boss. I almost decided not to go tomorrow. As much as I want to stop practicing law, I am scared to leave it and my current work lifestyle. However, I AM going to show up tomorrow and at least try the new job. I am still keeping my current job of immigration lawyer for a small non-profit working part-time. On Thursday I mailed to the immigration court supporting documents for what is hopefully my last court case. I forgot to do the required 2 hole punching at the top of the documents and had to mail them again. Since the deadline was Friday, the hole punched documents will be late. I do not have a regular legal assistant so I have to do everything in my immigration law job. This also makes my current job stressful and unhappy for me. I hope the U job works out for me and is fun. I’ll keep you posted.

  57. Omg… This site!

  58. Every time I read the various comments on this site my heart and soul both bleeds and lifts simultaneously for the vast majority of you. There is no greater method of long lasting change than passive resistance. Kudos for opting out. However, losing individuals of greater character then the ones in current power within our judiciary is saddening. I cannot help myself from thinking that the vast majority of you would fair well and contribute vastly to society, if our system of justice was not so manipulated by malfeasants. The DNA scandal recently exposed is just the tip of the iceberg. I have some ideas that I have written on this website to improve our system. https://rsjexperiment.wordpress.com/home/

  59. I DID IT!! I told my boss that I was not happy and she was very gracious about it. I only have 10 weeks of lawyering and then I am done. I feel so relieved but so nervous…what do I tell my parents? What do I tell my grandparents, who pretty much funded law school for me? Any advice or tips on what to say would be very appreciated. And just so you know, I want to paint and work on becoming an artist, so I will not be taking an office job again, hopefully. Any ideas on how to break it to them but be strong and go for what I really want to do?

    • First of all congrats! Second, I really hope it works out for you. I left law to become an artist a year ago. Law got so bad that I actually had a mental breakdown and really needed to stop. My family was very supportive because they saw that law was literally killing me. Some people were not very supportive and it did hurt, but at the end of the day it’s my life, and they don’t know how tough it is to deal with being a lawyer these days, especially if you are diagnosed with a mental condition right when you are trying to get your career started.

      As for art, I already had a BFA before law school so it was mainly going back to making art. It’s a challenging field though, I’ve been taking a lot of classes just to get back to the level I was before law school. But I am very fulfilled every day with what I am doing now. Even though I make very little money, I make up for it by the fact that every day feels like a vacation. I wish you the best success and congratulate you again.

      • William, thank you so much for your response. I am perfectly fine with making NO money at all if that means each day I can feel alive and happy. I am finally starting to accept the fact that law is just not for me. And that’s okay. I know I will get criticism but I can’t let fear of criticism stop me from doing what I want.

  60. I give you so much credit for following your heart and being true to yourself. It takes great courage and honesty to change direction in life in order to seek what is truly important to your soul. I am inspired by your ‘spirit’ to do what you know is best for you. Keep the dream alive, those who love you will understand and respect your decision to leave the legal profession. You are an inspiration to many – thank you for sharing…..Godspeed.

    • Greg, thank you so much for your kind words. Its so nice to get positive encouragement instead of getting negative reactions like I do from my family. I need to surround myself with supportive people, such as yourself and others on this site!

  61. Jared,
    I’m basically in the same place as you right now! I’m a 30-something mom of 3 that worked in social services for years and got tired of being pushed around by lawyers so I went to law school to fight the elite. The problem is that there are very few opportunities out there for people trying to do the right thing. I’m hundreds of thousands in debt, hate my life, and hate being a lawyer more than anything. I regret law school 100%. It’s the worst thing I ever did. So where do I go from here? It’s a question I ask myself all the time. Has anyone ever thought of starting up a website that helps people that don’t want to pay a fortune for a lawyer but they need a lawyers advice or help filling out a form etc. Probably against the “rules” but what if you don’t gaf about being a licensed lawyer anymore?

    • I think there are many websites like that out there lawdoll27. One is legal zoom.com. If you do end up practicing law try a non-profit such as ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Applessed, Equal Justice Works, etc. Please do not give up hope. Exploration may lead you to a job outside of the law that you like.

  62. HELP ME!!! Please!! How do I get out of this??? I did move to work for a non profit. STILL SO UNHAPPY. But I’m supposed to be grateful for not being poor right? Its just so hard when every pore of my being hates this.

    • J – I feel exactly the same way. I left a more corporate law job to work in legal aid, and I am really unhappy. Don’t ignore the unhappiness. I finally told my boss that I was unhappy and I will be leaving at the end of June. Please don’t sacrifice your mental health.

    • Hey J, it all depends on your age and financial situation. I will say that the sooner you get out, the easier it will be. There is a transitional adjustment period that can be quite long.

  63. I’m even more poor (poorer?) now that I’m a lawyer so at least you’ve got that going for you. 😉

    • OMG you are so right – the student loans! I meant – shouldn’t I be happy I’m not working in a labor intensive job like waitressing (which I did before) and hating that? is it me? or is it this profession??? Am I just being whiney. I need out but need to do it so that I can still support my family (main bread winner here). sucks sucks sucks. Every avenue I have leads to debt and homelessness. Or starting a whole new job and having to devote time and attention to learning that job (which will probably have to have some relation to the law since that’s my skill set). what do I do? my “plan” to escape will put me into more debt.

  64. been a lawyer now for 15 – count ’em 15 years. i’m a managing attorney now even. gawd what did I get myself into?

  65. I’ve thought to myself that it would’ve been easier to be a welfare mom. No wonder so many people choose not to pursue any type of career! I’m still planning my escape. Online advice? Selling homemade items? (I have no skills for this, but hey, if you can sell pet rocks and make a million! ) Begging millionaires? I haven’t found the answer yet, but maybe someone here will know. 😉

  66. Warren Lawler

    I have spent 30 years as a criminal defense atty. I loved litigation and have a great trial record. I loved it back in the day but I’m DONE!!!! I closed my practice and have worked minimum wage jobs in another city. I enjoy them much more than law but there must be SOMETHING I can do that’s more useful. I’ve never had any bar issues and maintain my active status with the bar. Im just DONE with the misery of practicing a profession with colleagues who are anything but professional. I’m through and I want to know my options.

  67. I completely understand! I am very good at what I do but just hate the practice of law…so when I tell people I plan to leave at some point I get very negative pushback. The absolute worst part of the job, aside from being generally boring, is dealing with OTHER ATTORNEYS. Arrogant narcissus borderline sociopaths. I faced off with two different ones on the same day this week and the unprofessionalism and screaming, yes screaming, by one of them just had me on the verge of losing it. I put him on speakerphone and people came running into my office thinking I was being attacked lol. They are just incredible, and it makes me ashamed to be a lawyer. I’m suppose I generally “like” about 1 out 10 attorneys I meet. Most of the men are complete assholes and most of the women are absolute bitches. I wonder if lawyers were like that before they became lawyers and the profession made them this way or if the profession just tends to attract psychos…

    • Jared, I hear what you’re saying. Sadly, I think people either are like that when they enter the profession of law or they adapt and become that way over time because they realize or believe it is necessary to act that way to succeed in the job. I would put the ratio of attorneys that I liked at about 20%, little higher than yours, but that is probably as high as I’d go.

  68. Wow! I thought I was the only one who thought this way! When I was in Law School I constantly thought that 97% of the people there were WEIRD! Then I realized that it’s the “normal” personality of most lawyers. I got along well with only 5% of people in law school. They were the 5% that were HUMAN. They had personalities and a sense of humor. The crazy thing now is that out of that 5%, about 98.5% of them don’t even practice law now because they hated it too! After graduation I worked in a lawfirm with so many douchebags, backstabbers, and brown-nosers. How do people live their lives like that?!

  69. I work in super passionate non profit law. But when I went to law school and when I did work in corporate law, public defense, and generally with defense attorneys – I do encounter these types of folks. I wonder if you have to be that to survive in this profession. I’m just to peaceful to do this type of work. In addition, i can’t stand talking to other lawyers. They keep trying to make me coordinate these “social” events with lawyers here and its like dragging nails up my back in the wrong direction. GAW! Social events with lawyers to TALK ABOUT THE LAW over and over again over a drink and a bagel or whatever. PUKE! And do lawyers really want to get together with other lawyers on their FREE time. Are you fricking kidding me. Somedays I want to leave and just go work at Home Depot and work my way up again. But I could never pay off the dang debt. There’s got to be a way to make a path out of this.

  70. Hi Becky, you’re leaving soon right? Ah I envy you. Congrats and good luck with everything.

  71. Hi Niko, yes I am leaving soon!! I was going to leave earlier but they convinced me to stay and “adjust my duties.” Well that did not help…still don’t like it! You can leave too, just make a plan and be prepared to make some sacrifices…trust me, I believe it is worth your happiness and health.

  72. Very nice Becky. Yes I will leave too 🙂 I have a plan to leave in 2016, need to save some money first.

    Once you’re out, keep in touch and let us know how you are out there. Enjoy your paradise!

    • I will Niko!! Right now I am counting down. My last day is July 24th and it cannot come fast enough! Time seems to have stopped and I am more anxious than ever, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

      I just want to put this out there to everyone reading this blog – if you are crying a lot, miserable and feel depression sinking in, please get out. It’s just not worth you losing yourself.

  73. This site is a total comfort. Becky, reading your posts is like reading my own thoughts. Way to go for getting out. I went to law school to do public interest law and have been a legal aid attorney for the last few years. I believe strongly in legal aid and genuinely care about (most of) my clients and poverty issues, but I am burned out. We have zero support at my organization, and litigation is killing me. I am sick of constantly fighting with everyone — idiot opposing attorneys, my own clients, the judges, the clerks — and am at my limit. I dread every day of work, spend nights googling “I hate my job” and “how to escape”, and have been waking up in the middle of the night due to stress (as you can see it’s 4am…I’ve been awake since 2am, and have court this morning). Weekends are my only respite, but because Monday is a normal court day, I often work on Sundays. I’m actually starting a long maternity leave in four months, but it feels like a lifetime. I feel so silly for saying this, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it until then. If not for my student loan debt, I would just quit, but I’m counting on public service loan forgiveness. I don’t know if I’d be happy being a stay-at-home mom, but I’m so burned out that I can’t even conceive of what it is I want to do or what would make me happy anymore. The feeling of needing to escape is all-consuming and blurs my ability to really think about my life. I’ve been taking days off here and there to try to ease the misery, but it doesn’t seem to help. It feels like I’m losing myself, and I don’t know what to do.

    • A, you are not alone. So many of us are struggling with everything you are describing. It has been a long struggle for me to decide to quit, but I finally made the decision and I know its the right one for me. I know that I will be making major sacrifices regarding material comfort, and that sucks having to go to one rather small income. For awhile, I didn’t know what I should do, and then it became very clear that my mental health was on a quick decline, and I needed to get out. I realized that from Monday through Friday, I was pretending to be someone else, and I only got to be the real me on the weekends. Also, please let me know if you want to e-mail or Facebook so we can chat further.

    • Not sure if you are still at Legal Aid but I’m curious if your not, what options you have explored? I’m in a similar situation. Thank you in advance for your time.

  74. Isn’t all of this so true…I’ve been on vacation all week, am in Arizona and was hiking yesterday through oak creek canyon, and I stopped in a spot by the creek and just stared at the rushing water, alone with no one around me, and stared for an hour. I felt at peace and I could not stop crying. It was the first time I’ve felt calm and serene in a long, long time. I think the issue everyone who has been posting here has, is, that we all seem to be empathetic people. It takes a special kind of attorney to do litigation, and though I seem to get good results, I’m not the right person for the job. I’ve found most trial attorneys likely have personality disorders (sociopath, borderlines, narcissists,etc). You really have to not care about other people and sincerely enjoy inflicting pain and humiliation upon others. I’ve made my decision to get out as soon as I can and I’m actively working now to spend as much time away as I can nurture my mental health until I find the key to the exit door. I am not the same person I was, and I have also lost myself. I’ll never be the same again. Doesn’t mean there’s no hope, but you have to start over. It’s a sad, dark place to be at times, please continue posting, it’s so important we share our stories. There are so many others trapped in the isolation and darkness of law.

    • This is so true. I am currently going through a phase right now (been about 5 months) where I am trying to leave my current job and I’m really questioning whether being a lawyer is for me long term. I feel like I’d get more pleasure out of an administrative assistant job then dealing with the BS of a custody dispute, criminal matter, eviction etc. The only cooperative area of law seems to be real estate. Im looking at working at strictly a real estate firm but even that’s so competitive until something with the state opens up. But I’m torn between that or just going to work as an administrative assistant or at a car company. I’ve had a really bad experience at my firm now and it’s questioned everything. Does anyone have any advice?

    • Jared, I hope you’re doing better and taking care of yourself. My husband is a lawyer and I cry every day. I cry for the man he used to be – the one I fell in love with before he passed the bar. I cry for the loss of his mental health. I cry for all of the vacations ruined by his work. I totally see now the nightmare that is practicing law. I sincerely empathize with you and my heart goes out to you. I pray every day that my husband finds a different line of work that lifts him up instead of tearing him apart. Sending wishes of comfort to you as you make a transition.

      • Thanks Cammie…what do we do? I feel like once you’ve been a lawyer no one else wants you anymore. I don’t know where I would get a job. I really just don’t care anymore at all. Nothing about practicing law interests me anymore. I am so sick of other lawyers, clients, the pomp and circumstance of the judicial system, the boring drudgery of legal research. Answering a complaint or discovery the thought of having to draft another motion makes me absolutely sick to my stomach–I just can’t deal with it anymore. I absolutely hate it. This was all exciting for a few months or maybe generously my first year out of law school, but then you realize how fucked up the whole system is, and how so many disputes should be easily resolved outside of court but giant ego and a “fuck them” mentality stand in the way of settlements and plea negotiations. Law is disgusting all around, a cesspool of filth, lies, deceit, greed and masochism–and I’m trapped in it. It’s such a horrible place to live. Dantes inner circle.

  75. So I’m crying as I type this… Please forgive typos. I’ve been a lawyer for over 10 years now. Did the big firm thing: sexually harassed – check; blamed for things I told the partner to do that he did not do and I was right – check; did the same breach of contract case every day – check; hated life – check check. Left for the public sector… That was better for awhile because I felt like I was part of something. I had the chance to make what I felt like we’re significant contributions to new laws. The pay was less than half but I felt better. Then I had all my kids and my boss left office. Now I work for a different agency. My kids are very young. I don’t feel like I make any kind of difference at work. My health is horrible – numerous tests with no results – probably because hating you job doesn’t show up on any scans. I have a masters degree I don’t use and don’t want to use. I’m still paying for my law degree. Since I was a kid, everyone said I should be a lawyer. I’m tired. I’m sad. I feel stupid and like a failure. I am so at the end of my rope that I have little to no patience with my kids so what little time I have with them is not quality. But I don’t feel like I can quit financially. My kids are all still in daycare and love their school and I don’t feel that I can replicate that education – academic or social. We pay over $3000 a month for daycare alone. I want to pick them up earlier and have real time with them! I’m stuck. My kids feel it and that kills me. I don’t know where to go. Trying for a part time job but I’ve been in government too long and part time legal jobs are few and far between. Sorry to vent in such a long post but I appreciate having this web site and knowing I’m not alone. I just don’t know who I’d be without the lawyer title. I’ve always been my job. I hate my job.

  76. Hi, you’re indeed not alone. I guess what you can do right now is to explore ways to be able to survive financially even if you leave law. If you think you can’t make much money if you leave law, then one of your options is to cut your expenses. This can be done, among others, by living a minimalist lifestyle. You might want to read this blog: http://www.theminimalists.com/ or this article: http://www.theminimalists.com/leo/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theminimalists%2FHztx+%28The+Minimalists%29

    Hopefully the above helps. Good luck and keep sharing here.

    To Becky, you have been officially out of law right? congrats and keep us updated.

    • Niko – Yes I am DONE!!! Today is day 3 of unemployment and it feels great. I’ve already lost some weight and I don’t have trouble getting out of bed. My husband and I are completely broke and we won’t be buying a house any time soon, but it was worth it to not be miserable anymore.

      Looking back, my only regret was not getting out sooner. Trust your gut…if it just doesn’t feel right, it may not be the best fit for you.

      • I've had enough

        Congratulations Becky. What are your plans? If you don’t have any yet, don’t fret. Might be good just to unwind for a while!

  77. I've had enough

    About me- I’m 32, never married, no kids. Ive practiced in 4 firms in the last 7 years. Like all of you above, I am disillusioned with the law. I was just terminated from a small firm that is owned by your prototypical maniac boss- accusatory, cheap, slave driving, mandatory Saturday’s, etc. I could go on, but I know you know the type, and many of you have worked for this type of person. The law is rife with asshole bosses. I was not even sad when I was let go. It was LIBERATING. However it has been a couple of weeks, weeks spent thinking, watching daytime tv, trying to piece things back together. I’ve got a small nest egg (42 k), and low expenses. I may even get unemployment (not where I want to be at 32, but ill take it if I can get it). My parents and family are supportive. I had made it clear to my family that my work was not enjoyable, and stuck it out as long as I could. I’m doing ok financially for the now, but my mental health is suffering as I’ve gone from working 65 hour weeks, to having nothing to do. I don’t have any direction, aside from a goal to work somewhere that will not exploit me, respect that workers are human beings and should be allowed a vacation from time to time (heck even take a Saturday off), and not feel like my job is in jeopardy when I take three whole days off from work after fairly major surgery. Working there I knew I could never sustain a girlfriend, let alone a marriage. Before I read the entries on this site, I had a good idea I might be done with law. Now I’m pretty convinced it won’t get any better. No amount of money is worth the type of crap we deal with each day. So I’m willing to make less (I never made much 45k-85k a year among the 4 jobs I’ve had). 55k was about average. I respectfully ask you all to suggest a route that you would take in my position. It seems like I may be in a better than most position to leave this awful career, considering my finances and lack of family commitments. If you were me, what would it be? Going back to school is an option, btw. I thank you all in advance. I wish us all luck in this journey and am extremely thankful that each of you is willing to speak up about this soul sucking career.

    • Hey man, I left the law about a year and 3 or so months ago after working for a few firms and companies (and one particular asshole). I’m 30, soon to be 31. Like you I had some money saved up and my family was very supportive. My solution so far was to go back to what I was doing before law school. I studied art and most of the work I’ve had since I quit has been graphic design and web design related, though I’ve been trying to move more into concept art. I’ve been taking classes in it again because I was rusty as hell and I was recently accepted into a very tough graduate program in concept design. I’m not sure it’s the right call to go, but it’ hard to find decent work at my level of skill in art and it would give me something to do for a couple of years. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you I’ve been really happy being back in art. I wake up every day and feel like I’m doing the right thing and that success will come with time and effort. I also don’t have to worry about my license and bar exams and all that nonsense. I would say that if there is something you have interest in, it might be a good idea to pursue it, even if you have to go back to school. You probably won’t be the only early 30s guy starting out in it. (I’ve met several people my age and older in the same position as me in art). Also, it’s probably a good idea to get in really good shape. Now that you are unemployed you will be able to keep a stricter diet and exercise regimen, so take advantage of that.

      • I've had enough

        Hi William, thanks a bunch for your thoughts. Part of me still thinks that another job in law won’t be so bad. But the other part says to me it’s time to cut bait and move on to something else. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I’m very happy for you that you have been able to pursue your passion. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if your existence is unbearable. Just to be able to be excited about life again would be a huge refresher. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up with those getting married, buying houses, having kids. All of that is beyond my control and may be things that never happen for me. If so, I will need to come to grips with that. But that realization is mine to own. There’s no need to consider the people I’ve maybe let down (parents). The daily misery of a legal career teaches you that success cannot be measured in dollars and cents. If what you do makes you happy, what more can you ask for? I am just thankful right now that I have an opportunity to assess and decide what is best for myself. I have no prior career as I went straight from college to law school. My undergrad degree is worthless. A good two year program in the in demand medical field might be a good move. Good Lord how good would it feel to be in demand after spending years as a dime a dozen attorney? I just wonder if the stain of the j.d.would carry over to my employment prospects in a new field. Even after retraining.

  78. So, I don’t just hate, but actively despise, being a lawyer. At least that’s what I think, though am not sure. It’s difficult to recall but I think I hated university (where I did a law degree). I recall lectures were ok (as could switch off) but small group seminars were hell. I was once told by a tutor I’d come to a sticky end, just because I didn’t know what a peer was. But I trudged along anyway, naive and blinded by law forms coming in (big law) to lecture us on why we should want to work for them and pushed by peer pressure and competition to go straight to law college and training contract. (I’m in the UK for my US counterparts). Again I trudged along, securing a place with a mid-sized firm, hating the majority of my training contract before qualifying into a job I hated equally as much. Several years have passed (12 to be exact) and I’m now a partner in a small firm, dealing in all manner of litigation, going to court and hating it more and more. Gave notice end of April, was going to take some time off and figure out what to do instead. A combination of being talked out of it by colleagues and getting scared and resignation withdrawn and hating each day. Each day I walk to work thinking “only x more days this week”, happy on a Friday night, depressed by Saturday night at the thought I have to do it all again Monday. Have lost quite a bit of hair (I’m 36 and female) and just don’t know what to do. Scared of doing something else which I may hate just as much but which pays significantly less. By same token, know I don’t want to progress my career in law and feel only way I’ll quit is if I do without anything else to go to. Help!!!

  79. Hels,
    There are platitudes that someone can suggest – like you should speak with a life coach, take time away from your job to relax and regroup, that your health is obviously being affected and therefore maybe you should simply quit – but I have another idea. You are young, intelligent and compassionate. What if you found a legal aid society or organization where you can donate time as a means of refocusing your attention while you are trying to figure this out. life. I am suggesting part time, but not giving up your day job. Maybe a few hours per week. Here in California, for instance, there are innumerable groups (religious or otherwise) that assist victims of domestic violence, indigents, immigrants, prisoners, homeliness individuals, families with serious financial and emotional issues that they are struggling with, etc. Why not become involved. Use this as a means of refocusing. The positive impact you can make in the lives of these people cannot be overstated. I am NOT discounting your issues, not for an instant. As I am struggling through the same issues from a somewhat different perspective (male, 62, just renewed my law office lease for 3 years believing that I had no other option) – and suddenly I am finding that the marketplace competition has greatly eaten into my business. Have enjoyed being an attorney all of my career, but this aspect of the business has infected my outlook on everything. No fun. In any event, I hope you find your solace.

    • Hi Andy

      Thanks for that.

      If where I am based had those types of organisations then I probably would do that. Sadly it doesn’t and I can’t/don’t want to move as am settled in this place/my partner is here.

      Sadly the only viable options in terms of law where I am are private practice or in-house.

      I just think I’ve no passion for law anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. The only real reason to stay is salary but eventually I can make the same in another job so what’s the point?

      I have to get out. It’s making me depressed. As someone on here correctly identified, take the stress of finals week and double it and finals week never ends, it’s just one finals week after another

  80. Hello ex-law people,
    I have recently dropped out of lawschool…3 days to be exact. As a background first:

    I have always thought I wanted to be a lawyer and have tried countless times to get into lawschool but some situations in life arose which prevented me from enrolling like getting into serious life commitments. Until one day when these other commitments did not work out so I had some free time and money in my hands that I finally jumped into lawschool head first and forget everything else.

    I just finished the first semester of my 1L and let me tell you guys I hate it. For the life of me, I do love the law but then I realized I dont love it enough to devote the rest of my life to it. I went to my career counselors who said ‘yah you can do it.’ So I went to my prof who gave me her honest opinion: I might hate the practice of law in only a few months or even a year into it. Besides I was already hating the back stabbing that was happening in our class of 35 which is a very small group and yet STILL managed to poison the well for some.

    My friends who are practicing criminal lawyers said knowing how I am as a person, I would probably hate and leave the law within two years as a friend of ours did. He just had enough and walked out of the office without any kind of provocation from his asshole boss that day.

    I was trying to find some positive reinforcement that I made the right decision. Yesterday I had some anxiety attacks coz of the big decision I made but which I think is the better one. Running into this website helped me with the ‘law-withdrawal’ or buyer remorse. Thanks to everyone’s opinions, it helped me solidify my stance on the whole lawschool thing and finally on christmas family dinner I have a better way of explaining to family why I did what I believe is the right choice.

    • You’ll feel a bit anxious until you find some other work to do, but I am pretty confident that quitting law school is the right answer for 90% of law students. Most people try to stick it out to save face… but all they are doing is accumulating more debt and getting into a worse situation. I’m not making much money yet, but I am really happy with my decision to quit. The ordinary lives of people not in law are way better than the hell the practice of law has become. Good luck and stay strong!

  81. Oh and going to work for a few months and possibly considering becoming a teacher.

  82. My husband has been a lawyer for 6 years. I want him to quit. After working for a few small firms, he went to work for a larger firm and was laid off after 9 months. Then he went out on his own and struggles to run a business, deal with clients who don’t want to pay him, and is smothered by soul-crushing loan debt. I do not care about any money that he might make in law. I just want him to get out. On top of everything else, he has to deal with the bureaucratic body that is attorney regulation as he had his first grievance last year from a client that is totally NUTS. 11 months later it’s still not resolved. That’s 11 months of not sleeping, 11 months of not eating, 11 months of weight loss, tearful fights, chest pains, health scares, lack of free time, having to smoke dope just to feel normal and sleep. We have almost no quality of life. I am not a lawyer myself, but would advise anyone thinking of law school to CAREFULLY weigh their options – financially, emotionally, mentally. It is frightening and frankly shocking how awful some of these other attorneys can be: condescending, egotistical, unethical beyond imagination. I am in a constant state of panic and stress, but I can’t show it because I have to be strong for him so that he knows he can lean on me no matter what happens.

    I will continue to support his decision to practice, but deep down I am so desperate for him to walk away. I told him that I would support him 1000% percent if he chooses a different career. I don’t care if we have to be broke forever and just live in a tent. We are broke now. What’s the difference? I just want him to be content and at least somewhat fulfilled in whatever he does for a living. Maybe it’s law or maybe it’s driving a school bus.

    Thank God for this blog. I don’t feel alone anymore.

    • Tell him what they do to the lawyers in federal tax court that push to hard for the clients. I’m not an attorney but I’m even able to tell about how corrupt the Judiciary is. The stories abound. The group should co-author a book on Judicial and prosecutorial malfeasants and corruption. By the way, they disbar and fine them, etc. Try getting due process against the IRS. A friend filed a petition for quite title, a known and well established state court issue. The US Attorney had it moved to the district court where they had it dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. What they have done and are continuing to due is unconscionable and is abrogating our rule of law and Constitution. Does anyone know that almost all Notice of Federal Tax Liens (NFTL) being issued by the IRS are legally insufficient as the do not note on them the “tax liability giving rise tot he lien”, as required by Federal Statute? Let me know, if anyone that you have ever spoken with, can give me the name of the act and when it was passed that requires Citizens of the 50 States to file and pay a Federal Individual Income Tax. Remember Title 26 is not Positive Law and is a consolidation by the Treasury of all the tax laws ever passed by Congress. Can a section in the IRC be prima fascia evidence? It appears to be the law?

      An example of another abrogation of our Constitution: In We The People v. US, 485 F.3d 140 (2007) members of the We The People Congress as individuals, myself one of the plaintiffs, initially filed a formal petition for redress of grievances under the 1st Amendment. Sixty-two questions relating to Federal Individual Income Tax law to the IRS, Treasury and the President as well as all members of Congress on two different occasions via USPO return receipt. Everyone who was issued the petition ignored it, so we sued. According to the Federal Judiciary, they do not have to answer “our” questions about the “our” rule of law.

      http://www.givemeliberty.org/FreedomDrive/Redress/PetitionTax.htm – you can start here to read the questions posed. They have every document in the suit archived on this site.

      I ask you “why” have a 1st amendment right to petition in our Constitution, if those in government can just ignore it? 2,000 + individuals were involved in the case with some of its members retaliated against for their participation. This is what our system has turned into. If those competent enough to fight back, do not, we are doomed. We are in a Constitutional crisis and no one is doing anything about it.

  83. hkskiprob, wow. In reading your reply, I am even more disturbed by the level of abuse and incompetence of our judiciary. My question is: Who regulates attorney regulation? To me, they’re just a coercive, power-hungry body and they seem to not want to follow or answer to their own rules – the very rules they set forth and impose upon other attorneys. There is very little transparency, and I have heard stories about lawyers who were disciplined / had letters on their record even though they won their case – because they were “too aggressive.” It seems like it would be difficult to be a good lawyer if you’re worried about a malpractice/grievance at every.single.turn. Even if you win a case and fight for your clients as hard as you can! Is that not the point???

    Anyway, I am still worried sick. I am tempted to move to a small community where we can live on one income, so that I can work, support both of us, and give him time to rest and figure out what Act II will be. That’s what I really want. I realize that life can’t be this Utopian cake walk without any work or some stress, HOWEVER. I am worried that this kind of CHRONIC stress will lead to a premature death, or a serious illness.

    Being a non-attorney in a pretty low-stress field, I know people who make a living doing jobs that might not pay six figures, but that also do not make them suicidal. So, yeah. There’s other ways to make a living.

    • This site is so comforting. I hear everything you’re saying and I truly feel for you and your husband. I practiced law for a mere 5 months before deciding I couldn’t take it anymore. I was stressed out, filled with anxiety and depression all the time. My boss, who deep down I think was a decent guy, would throw a fit and temper tantrum, shouting and screaming at the office whenever I had something in court that did not go our way. I hardly slept. I was on edge all the time, would wind up taking showers at 3am or 4am in morning, then just laying in bed, dreading the day.

      I now work at a job making 12K less than I did at my lawyer job. I have made my peace with the fact that I will be saddled with huge debt until pretty much the day I die. It is an awful situation to be in but I am at least glad to be out of law. It is a profession where you realize how corrupt our courts are. I am much more content now than I was practicing law. I do software sales and it is still stressful at times but the people I work with are nice and I do actually get some sleep at nights now. If this site helps just one person to avoid law school and the profession of law, that is a great thing. And I am happy to contribute to it any way I can. There are some people for whom the law may be a good career choice but I feel for the overwhelming majority of people another field would be better.

  84. I really do admire all of you who have been brave enough to actually leave. I resigned at the end of april this year but got talked out of it by my partners (I’m a partner in a mid-sized firm). However, I’ve still been desperately unhappy. I wanted to give (and my other half wanted me to give) my notice at the end of september so I could finish at the end of the year. However, I came up with excuses such as “we need a new mattress”, “I’ll get screwed on public holidays in december if I’m leaving then” and “but we are going on holiday in february and I need the money”. Now I am meant to give notice end of october (i have to work 3 months’ notice) but I am panicking about not having another job to go to.

    In reality, i need some time off. This job has worn me down and screwed my health. I’ve lost a lot of hair (I’m female), I’m depressed, stressed, exhausted, have regular anxiety attacks, headaches, upset stomach and i have zero patience. Even on a 2 week holiday recently I couldn’t relax and my other half said I had no patience with other tourists.

    I know this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know this deep down and, if I’m totally honest with myself, its never been what I wanted to do. Issue is: I have no idea what else I want to do and the thought of leaving such a secure job and pay packet petrifies me. That said, I am not sure I can hang on much longer than the end of january – I am not sure my physical or mental health can take it.

    for anyone reading this who is thinking of going to law school or who is in law school and thinking about starting out in practice please, please, please make sure it is what you are passionate about. otherwise you are in for a very miserable life. as someone quite rightly said on here – take how you feel in finals week and triple it – oh, and every week is finals week. After 14 years in private practice and being a partner for the last 3 that is SO true. And it doesn’t get any easier, the higher you get, the harder the cases and the more demanding the clients.

    It’s not worth it. Not even for the money. Heck, my personal trainer is buying a house of a value i can only just afford and he loves his job!

    please just think.

    and if anyone has any words of wisdom/motivation re my situation they would be gratefully received!

  85. “It’s like finals week every week.” So true. I too want to leave, but I honestly don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m really not passionate about anything :-(. And it’s true, being a lawyer gets more and more stressful the higher up you get–cases are more difficult and complex and clients are more demanding. It never gets better. I’m constantly sick to stomach worrying about my ongoing cases, I never calm down. I appear happy and in the moment to others, but in reality my brain is constantly going apeshit worrying about deadlines. I went with my significant other last week hiking on a Saturday afternoon, and I was consumed with guilt and worry over the work I should be doing, and felt like hiking was such a waste of my time. I feigned happiness as usual and told him how much better I felt taking some time out to destress, when in reality it made me feel worse. No one understands what we go through but us.

  86. that is exactly true Jared. For the first week after holiday (given what my other half said) I pretended to be totally happy. It really improved our relationship but deep down I was totally depressed and fed up about work.

    Yesterday was a prime example about what is wrong with the legal profession. I got into work and told the head man I was feeling really sick but was here and would see how I went. Was sat in my office and he came in and sat in the chair opposite me talking about a case and the work I needed to do. I thought I was going to be sick so grabbed my bin and said “really sorry, but I think I might be sick”. Am sat there wretching and trying not to be sick and he goes “it’s ok, don’t worry” then CARRIES ON talking about the case and the work I need to get done. When he left I threw up in my bin – it was bile and I think it was down to anxiety.

    I went home but spent all day feeling anxious and nervous and checking my emails. Of course the people who were supposed to be doing work for me weren’t doing it then having the nerve to give me back chat.

    I then thought “I’ve had enough”. Been trying to speak to head man today to give him notice of my intention to give notice (I do really need the money) but think he has cottoned on to fact I’m going to do it so avoided me all day. I had horrid stomach cramps and headaches all day.

    It’s such a poisonous profession, particularly litigation – I was once told I was “starting world war 3” on a case. Lord give me strength.

    I think I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst (according to some) I am very good at what I do, I am just not cut out for it. I hate the confrontation, sniping, backstabbing and that’s just from own clients and colleagues, not just opposing counsel.

    I read an article yesterday about how a test was done by a recruiter and most lawyers had personality disorders. I think that’s right. This profession slowly and surely destroys you. It makes you anxious, callous, suspicious, stressed and turns you into a person you don’t want to be.

    I’ve had enough. I am getting out. Scared or not. Money or no money. You get one life and it should be spent at least doing something you mildly enjoy or can tolerate. Not something you hate an which makes you unwell and, quite frankly, starts you developing the traits of a sociopath.

  87. so, i spent most of yesterday in tears over work. I have just over 3.5 months left to go and hate the fact it’s that long. 5 days a week (sometimes more) every week, no let up and though i have 3 days off week after next, no further time off until christmas. It just sucks. I am anxious and depressed all the time. This job is destroying my soul and my relationship, not to mention my health.

    • Sorry it’s going so badly Hels, but at least you are leaving in a few months. Hopefully they won’t keep loading you up with work. Try to stay positive and focus on the fact that it will all be over in a few months. BTW, why are you staying so long? Did they make you do it because of all the cases you were involved in?

  88. thank you william. I’ve not told them yet. And I have to give them 3 months’ notice. I’m giving them notice of my intention to give notice today. I doubt they’ll let me go early as we have lost a lot of staff and I’m one of the only people who can do the work to a certain standard (not to blow my own trumpet, that’s just the way it is). Plus, I need the money as I want some time off but don’t want to touch my savings as my partner and I might want to buy a different house next year (when I’m in another job obviously) and so we will need that money (if I wanted to go early and spend that he would not take issue – it’s my money anyway but he is so supportive of whatever I want to do – it’s me who is trying to be at least a little bit sensible and save over the next few months so I can have some relatively guilt free time off). That said, I have applied for an in-house role this weekend. Not sure if I’ll get an interview as its a mixed corporate role (IP, employment, corporate) and I’m a litigator but we will have to see. Feel sick again and having stomach problems again this morning. A whole week of this shit.

  89. so, today I told them. Done. They were ok, well, sort of. There is no going back now as this is second time and they now know I’m not committed. But that’s ok as I really felt a sense of calm this time after I’d told them and I did’t feel that last time. Now just have to get through notice period.

  90. Hi Hels,

    Congrats, you’re already on your way out. Take it one day at a time over the next 3 months. If you face difficulties in your works, at this point just face it and do your best and don’t think about the outcome. Remember, you’re leaving soon anyway.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, hopefully you’ll be much better after you leave litigation.

  91. Greetings all!! I was very miserable as a lawyer and I quit the end of July. I am now 3 months on the outside and I have to say I don’t miss it AT ALL. I do struggle with the knee jerk feeling that I should get another lawyer job because that’s what I’m trained for, but I am fighting it. It is great being out of law but it can be an emotional struggle…I feel like I am not living up to my potential even though I know what I want to do with my life. Anyway, I wish everyone the best and please know there is life on the other side!! 🙂

  92. Great for you Becky! There were some landscapers outside the building today, laughing, smoking cigarettes in the 75 degree weather and I thought how carefree and content I might be if I had a job like that. I’m proud of you, even though I don’t know you, for walking away. I’m too much of coward–the fear of the unknown keeps me from leaving. I also don’t know how someone switches careers in their 30’s…no one would want me, and I can’t see myself being content in an entry level position in a new job field.

  93. I was making decent money working in a municipal job – one of those jobs you can’t lose – but I had reached the top of the ladder I was on and felt like I was wasting my potential. I was 40. There are several lawyers in my family and I thought my options were limited; so, I went to law school. My first job after passing the bar was working for Legal Services. I could have been happy doing that for the rest of my life; the money wasn’t great, but I was helping poor people who were being taken advantage of, and I lived for that. Unfortunately, the office manager – not a lawyer, but pals with the board – had other plans. She and I went toe-to-toe early in my tenure, and she had me relocated to a satellite office. After six months, I was let go. From there, my legal career had been all downhill.

    I eventually tried to find work outside the profession, and I couldn’t even get an interview. I had an employment agency tell me I should leave my legal qualifications off my resume because they were the “kiss of death.” This was never explained, but my experience bears out the truth of it. They taught us in law school that not to disclose your legal qualifications on a job application is an ethical violation, so I kept on disclosing them and kept being ignored. Finally, after years of this, in desperation, I applied for a job and didn’t disclose them. I was hired.

    I’m not making any money. Loans are paid, but I have poverty-level income. Had I stayed where I was, I might have gone insane out of boredom, but I would be much better off financially than I am now.

    I saw a post on this blog that said that the profession itself has become corrupt. I tend to agree. The last work I did as an attorney was a pro bono case for a woman trying to keep her ex away from her child. Her ex was one of about three people I have encountered in my life whom I can saw are truly evil – not just bad, not accidentally evil, but people who embrace the darkest parts of their humanity with joy. I put everything I had into fighting for this woman and her child. Then, I went to court. Every time I tried to get the evidence in of this man’s history of violence, his lawyer’s objections were sustained. The judge’s expression was one of amusement, and the objections were never explained. Of course, she lost. The witness I had brought in to testify was terrified on the stand, and terrified afterward. Have you ever seen terror on a witness’ face? It’s not like it is in the movies. They’re paralyzed. They can barely speak.

    I went to the Legal Services people (not the same office) who had referred me and told them what had happened. I told them, “I don’t understand it.” They replied, “We don’t understand it, either.” The evil man’s attorney is now a judge. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I didn’t know whether this woman had lost because I was incompetent or because the court was corrupt; but, either way, I had no business soliciting clients’ trust when I couldn’t, for whatever reason, be trusted.

    I would not encourage anyone to practice law. I’m sure there are people whose gifts lie in that direction; but I would think them the exception, and not the rule. Save your soul. Find more wholesome and rewarding work.

  94. I am SO glad I am getting out. Just shy of 3 months now. Friday was another classic. Got criticised by the judge and screamed at outside court by opposing counsel. Didn’t get the result the client wanted then client angry. It really is constant verbal and written fencing. Like someone on here said – like game of thrones – you win, or you die. This profession attracts some of the most evil, cold hearted, sociopathic people in the world. I am sure there are so many people who are NOT like that who feel they have walked into the wrong profession.

    I’m scared of not being employed. But equally I’m scared of allowing this profession to continue to suck out my soul and make me into a person I hate (the person I am right now is bordering on being someone I hate – lack of patience, snappy, condescending, controlling). One of my bosses tried again yesterday to talk me out of it saying I’m really good at what I do and that it’s really sad that I have lost my confidence (which I have after a really rough year last year). Made me question my decision last night. However, it’s more than that. The thought of having to do this day in day out for the next 25-30 years fills me with complete dread.

    Last week I was asked to do a last minute trial this week – on a matter which has been going on years and which I know nothing about, before the judge who tore strips off me the last 2 years. I had an absolute meltdown and actually threw up. I got told I didn’t have to do it but then we made a whole heap of other applications. All of last week I had reflux, feeling like I had something stuck in my throat, upset stomach, felt sick and felt anxious, even to the point where my partner’s mum sent me a message to see if I was ok as I had been so stressed at her house. Sadly, the higher you get the harder it is and even if i were to tell them I wanted to take a step back (i.e. not be a partner anymore and just assist) you get just as much pressure piled on you as they know you can do the work.

    I used to be able to take lots of pressure. Now I can’t. I told my firm I was struggling with litigation at the start of this year and they agreed I could do a more non-contentious role, then we lost people in litigation and they needed me back. I think if I stayed, I would always be pulled into litigation asI am one of the only people who can do it.

    Thank god I am getting out.

  95. Congratulations to all of you who have left the lawyering business and re-claimed your souls. You all have an understanding of (and always have understood – that’s why you were so miserable) how your “profession” has relentlessly raped the American Justice System, until what now remains is nothing more than a sinister, vicious game of chicken to see which lawyer blinks first, or lies most convincingly, who’s got the best “in” with the judge, how much money you can suck dry out of each client, etc. The most successful at these skills being the wealthiest and congratulating each other on whose cleverness made the fiercest mockery of the intent of the legal system: truth and justice. It is, in a nutshell, what J.P. Morgan once said, “I don’t pay my lawyers to tell me what I can’t do. I pay them to tell me how to do what I want to do”. Don’t lament your decision to stop worshipping the Golden Calf that is the American legal system. The centuries-old standards of a civilized society are still true today and will always remain true because no matter how hard some of us try, we simply cannot deny in ourselves what differentiates us from common animals: our compassion for others and our conscience. Money is the root of all evil. The best things in life are free. These truths are unalterable. You cannot buy love, you cannot buy true and real friendship. Once money becomes your idol you will never be satisfied because you can never have or get enough of it. Live minimally (it is not only not that difficult, its actually very freeing), make the sacrifices on the superficial things in life and you’ll soon have the time, inclinations and abilities to appreciate the true beauty that surrounds you in your family, your friends, nature, art, all those things you’ve been missing. Understand the most precious possession you own is your soul: your honor, your morality, your compassion, your conscience, all that make you “human”. Of course, taking the next step – actively trying to change all that is corrupt and evil about the American Justice System – would be beneficial not only to society but to you as well. But, for now, one step at a time…..

  96. I am 29 and just sighed my way through my first year as a lawyer. I absolutely abhor this profession. I enjoyed law school as I enjoyed college in general, but the practice is nothing but a sour mixture of boredom interspersed with negative stress. I wake every morning angry and upset that I have to start another day at that hellhole. I must take the leap and get out. I have lost my sense of myself amid opposing counsel bickering, client bickering, due dates, obscure laws and rules, and progress reports. My family is a little disappointed that I didn’t find more enjoyment in this field, but I fail to see how I can. I despise it and know something better awaits when I finally conjure up the courage to leave.
    Any suggestions on ways to leave without burning a bridge? (Not because I desire to find another legal job, but because I my boss isn’t the worst in the world and I know the less bridges burned, the better.)

  97. Finally some of us are coming out. I’m a quitter a loser …but a grateful loser. My family hates me. The have literally called me a ” “pariah ” just because I left my ” solo practise” or shall I say ” utterly alone practice”. I was wasting my life away, my youth and my dreams. So guess what I did? ..I remember staring at my computer drafting some proposterous legal shite ( yet again) , meanwhile my boss was yet again yelling at someone else… there I had an epiphany… I saw myself out of the Rat race, abandoning all my possessions ( including my fully paid flat in a nice part of the city) , abandoning my family, my #Status …etc…I got off my chair, grabbed my belongings, said ” Adios to my Boss”, went back home ..packed my suitcase, booked a flight to Spain. All of this with the intention of fulfilling my lifelong dream of living in London. I studied English for 2 weeks.
    That was 5 years ago, now I’m married, live by the sea and work in health care. I couldn’t be more happy. I can’t say everything is honky dory. My family still hates me, and my earnings are not the same, however, I feel free to pursue my dreams. I’m actually thinking on studying a second degree ( healthcare related). Sometimes I wake up thinking I’m still a lawyer and I feel an awful pain in my stomach, other times I feel so guilty about studying all those effing years that I almost go suicidal. So, all I can say is that to quit, to be free it is not an easy journey, but I’m sure that at the end you will be more content.
    My 2 cents to all of you who are thinking on quitting or those who are on the regret boat, is trust your instincts do not let anyone tell you what it is best for you. ( sorry for my English… Lol)

  98. Hi Quitters, Losers or whatever your family circle or your inner voice is naming you right now!!…let me start again..
    Good Morning Happy , ethical, honest people! ( or ex lawyers ). I would like to make a few points

    1._ we have not wasted 10 + years doing law. We have learned a lot about how this filthy society works and how to deal with most types of people. All that law data base will stay with you and will be useful whatever endeavor or new path in life YOU decide to take from.now.

    2. Yes, our personalities are not suited to deal with psychopatic bosses , egomaniac judges,parasitic envious and shallow colleagues. They represent the worst of our world and we have just been enlightened. We want out!

    3. Did you ever slept with some girl or guy who was awesome during the night out. Went to bed , had amazing sex…ahhhh…but at 6 am you woke up with the taste of his or her mouth all over you. Run to brush your teeth, looked back seeing them snoring in the most unattractive position and said ..WTF…was I that drunk?..yeah baby you just slept with the LAw Bitch!….was nice for a night out but you will snap out of it….
    What I’m trying to say is that you did not commit a mistake it was a life experience. Maybe an expensive one…and if your parents, friends, GF , spouse think you are doing wrong… Send them to sleep with the bitch just for one night!!! And see how awesome they find it.

    Understand that most people out there will judge your decision because TV channels are still airing ” the law and order” , CSI Miami ..etcc…They think that’s what we do…” Father forgive them; for they not know what they do ” ..DON’T FEEd THe Monkey s!!!!

    3. Exit plan? I know you hate it , you are crying every morning exactly as I did. But you need a good plan. My advise is to write down a deadline stick up to it and search for something you want to do. And please remember you don’t need to go to college again to turn your life around. Learning a trade in a community college is equally good.
    I myself retrained to learn a trade, and I love it. I know of 2 lady lawyers in the UK who started their own plumbing business. Yes ..they are female plumbers ex solicitors…and they look happy..

    4. College debt ? What about emigrating and living that fecking debt behind. You can start all over again in another country. True..you won’t get a glamorous job or a big pay check, but you have to be realistic, leaving law is doable but it takes time and patience to see your dreams fulfilled.

    My background, I was a lawyer I qualified when I was 25. I practised law till I was 27 …before I qualified I worked as a paralegal…I was making money. Living the dream. Bought my first flat at 27 fully paid in a nice area of the city. Wow …by all means a winner
    ..I was ( and I’m still told) very good looking..I would go to court and guys will joke that I was a model so maybe I had no brains. Judges …well I received plenty of indecent proposals that could have sky rocketed my chances in the Rat race. I was sexually harassed by my first boss.
    I decided to go solo practise…just to receive the same kind of treatment from corporate clients….However, this wasn’t the most horrible part if my job. The awful part was that I had no life, no friends, no boyfriend, making money for what?..for the prestige, to make my family happy? Just for the record, I was also chasing clients who would not pay my fees..
    I tought maybe if I become a judge I could change things. Went to pass all the tests to become a judge just to realise how fucking corrupted they are…that was the end of it..I was suicidal, my family was verbally abusive towards me because I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just couldn’t do it. I was vomiting on a daily basis. I went to the doctor just to be diagnosed with IBS. I was neurotic…
    In.all that madness I wrote a 3 step plan to get out..Step 1 . get money / Step2/ need holiday ( forever) . Step 3. Just do the bungee jump. Get out!

    My life dream was to live in England, so I put myself to refresh my English in 2 weeks. After that ,I booked a flight to Spain; once that done I informed my family that I was taking “holidays”.
    They looked at me as if I was crazy, after all I had cases still going. They knew I had to go back to work.
    What happens next is funny…they never believed me I was leaving till the time I rang from the airport to say goodbye. They were so shocked that they even tried to contact the international police to track my whereabouts ( they claimed I was suffering from schizophrenia, but they didn’t have a med cert to prove it so the police told them to feck off!! ;)) .
    Where I am now? Not in Spain , not in England somewhere in Europe ( an English speaking country). I met my husband in Spain and he asked me to go to his country. Here I have been given the chance to work in a health related field..and I love it…I have almost forgotten my native language, and to get a job I had to lie about the fact I holded a degree in law.

    PlanC? At 30 something I’m thinking on going back to college to study a degree in health sciences, but even if I decide against it I’m still happy doing what I do. It is not a status job, but it makes ME happy. My constant stomach pain is gone for good and I look as young as I did when I left law.

    My piece of advice is , you are never to old to change directions, save yourself a few wrinkles, enjoy your looks while you have them …and stop fucking the LAW Whore!! Sure , she is attractive, pays your bills ,car etc…but at the end of the day she is a BITch who fucks with your head …and even though she might not transmit STD’s she will give you a Mental disease…so get out if it…
    And if you do,…please do not say you were a lawyer if you want to get a new job…lie about it…

    All my best wishes to my comrades in suffering…and dont forget that your lawyer brains will be useful in whatever field you choose..we are smart people , plus we know how this thing works…to be a lawyer not letting others know you are one is an asset and a life saving skill…just remember that …
    PS…please pardon my English …;)

    • I’m not a lawyer but a student attending community college that was once interested in the legal field… I can’t tell you how much all of this has helped me to finalize my thoughts on whether or not I should actually pursue law, it sucks… Or it seems to be the case. All I know is that growing up I always had intended to become a lawyer but last year and this year especially I’ve been doubting and questioning it all. I’m stuck on the idea of it because growing up–idk why, I just wanted to go into the field… Now it’s hard for me to look in other directions because I never really allowed myself to explore other options, but… I’m going to change that. English was always a subject I tried harder in than math perhaps that’s why I normally assumed okay… Law school, being a lawyer it is! I don’t know SHIT about the law and it all seems SO boring… I’m realizing I don’t even like the content, I could care less about rules and the law… To that extent, and I would hate to work in an office doing boring administrative stuff… And I’m not good at it at all. Also, since english came more naturally I failed to give math or science a try but I want to change that… I may have to try harder in math but lately I’ve been curious and very interested in it and on the other hand english has become quite tiresome and boring to me. I can’t even stomach the thought of pursuing an English degree… Gah. I haven’t even gone to Law school yet, not even close… But thank God you all posted here, just know that your experiences and comments not only are helping other lawyers but us students as well. I keep going back and forth with the idea of law school but I truly believe it’s because I’m just stuck on the idea, growing up I had all of this ‘planned out’ and now that I’m starting to see things differently it’s a bit overwhelming because I don’t even really know what exactly I like or what it is I’m good at, that’s why I’ll be trying various things… I just hope like you all, I find something I truly enjoy. Until then, I’ll be as confused as ever hahah. On a side note, at least I saved myself from all of that debt.

    • I’m not a lawyer but a student attending community college that was once interested in the legal field… I can’t tell you how much all of this has helped me to finalize my thoughts on whether or not I should actually pursue law, it sucks… Or it seems to be the case. All I know is that growing up I always had intended to become a lawyer but last year and this year especially I’ve been doubting and questioning it all. I’m stuck on the idea of it because growing up–idk why, I just wanted to go into the field… Now it’s hard for me to look in other directions because I never really allowed myself to explore other options, but… I’m going to change that. English was always a subject I tried harder in than math perhaps that’s why I normally assumed okay… Law school, being a lawyer it is! I don’t know SHIT about the law and it all seems SO boring… I’m realizing I don’t even like the content, I could care less about rules and the law… To that extent, I doubt I have the personality for it, and I would hate to work in an office doing boring administrative stuff… And I’m not good at it at all. Also, since english came more naturally I failed to give math or science a try but I want to change that… I may have to try harder in math but lately I’ve been curious and very interested in it and on the other hand english has become quite tiresome and boring to me. I can’t even stomach the thought of pursuing an English degree… Gah. I haven’t even gone to Law school yet, not even close… But thank God you all posted here, just know that your experiences and comments not only are helping other lawyers but us students as well. I keep going back and forth with the idea of law school but I truly believe it’s because I’m just stuck on the idea, growing up I had all of this ‘planned out’ and now that I’m starting to see things differently and the reality of it all it’s a bit overwhelming because I don’t even really know what exactly I like or what it is I’m really good at, that’s why I’ll be trying various things… I just hope like you all, I find something I truly enjoy. Until then, I’ll be as confused as ever hahah. On a side note, at least I saved myself from all of that debt.

  99. I’m not a lawyer but a student attending community college that was once interested in the legal field… I can’t tell you how much all of this has helped me to finalize my thoughts on whether or not I should actually pursue law, it sucks… Or it seems to be the case. All I know is that growing up I always had intended to become a lawyer but last year and this year especially I’ve been doubting and questioning it all. I’m stuck on the idea of law because growing up–idk why, I just wanted to go into the field…perhaps it was for the title and prestige but now it’s hard for me to look in other directions because I never really allowed myself to explore other options back then, but… I’m going to change that. English was always a subject I tried harder in than math perhaps that’s why I normally assumed okay… Law school, being a lawyer it is! Truth be told, although I ‘planned ahead’ the reality of it all is just starting to hit me, I don’t know SHIT about the law and it all seems SO boring… I’m realizing I don’t even like the content, I could care less about rules and the law to that extent, I doubt I have the personality for it (I already seem to have a weakened state of mind as I suffer from anxiety so the pressure would probably get to me easily), and I would hate to work in an office doing boring administrative stuff… And I’m not good at it at all. Also, since english came more naturally I failed to give math or science a try but I want to change that… I may have to try harder in math but lately I’ve been curious and very interested in it and on the other hand ironically english has become quite dull and boring for me. One thing I suck at is taking risks, but change is good. I can’t even stomach the thought of pursuing an English degree now… Gah. I haven’t even gone to Law school yet, not even close… But thank God you all posted here, just know that your experiences and comments are not only helping other lawyers but us students as well. I keep going back and forth with the idea of law school but I truly believe it’s because I’m just stuck on the idea, growing up I had all of this ‘planned out’ and now that I’m starting to see things differently and the reality of it all it’s a bit overwhelming because I don’t even know what exactly I like or what it is I’m really good at, I’ve been so blindsided and for someone like me it’s like taking a few steps backwards… that’s why I’ll be trying various things… I just hope like you all, I find something I truly enjoy. Until then, I’ll be as confused as ever hahah. I think the idea of going back to wanting to become a lawyer is kind of like having a security blanket, since I was unable to venture out and try other things before law it gave me a sense of direction, a goal, an identity and comfort to look forward to but I know now that I need to stop here and find something that I’m truly passionate about because even though I may be in love with the idea of law, the reality sucks. I’m even taking a law course and it’s boring as hell. On a side note: at least I saved myself from all of that debt.👍

  100. Old School Lawyer

    My Lord, My Lord, I can’t believe this site exists. I am 39 and have been practicing for 15 years, with very, very little to show for it. I finally made the decision earlier this year to give this wretched profession only 5 more years of my life. But now I am really questioning whether that would be 5 more years too many. Of course I write this submission at 9pm while sitting at my office desk instead of being at home watching my 3 year old and 1 year old sons grow and develop.
    Becoming an active practicing lawyer ranks as one of the biggest regrets of my life. I had zero debt coming out of undergrad. Each and every single one of my peers who have been in other professions and trades as long as I have been an attorney outearns me by at least $50K and some by $100K-$200K.
    Even when the good days outnumber the bad, the bad days are bad enough to warrant re-thinking what I am doing here. It is demoralizing to obtain astonishing results for your clients only to receive emails and voicemails with unwarranted complaints of some imagined faux pas. Or to have clients walk into your office driving luxury vehicle but complain about the fee that you charge them even after they admit that my fee is more reasonable than other quotes they have received.
    I am not going to beat a dead horse re-hashing everyone else’s comments. I am just at the point where I am realizing that we have one life to live and it would be a dire shame to spend the second half of mine saying “what if…”

  101. Your honesty resonates with every word you wrote…reading your message helps me to better accept my decision to leave law schoo. I suffered many years after leaving with regret and disappointment in myself. Be true to yourself, ‘listen’ to your heart, follow the path that will provide you with real happiness. I have met many attorneys who wished they had taken a different career path. Thank you for sharing…. Best of luck in whatever decisions you make going forward.

  102. Sleepless in London

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this. I’m a junior associate in the City (London) and I absolutely hate my job with the passion of a thousand burning suns. That may seem like an exaggeration but its how I feel right now as I sit here on a Sunday evening having worked for 6 hours today (having taken Saturday off work…but having spent the Saturday stressed that I was ‘falling behind’ with my workload).

    My boss is a total asshole, clients are abnormal and tend to call at odd hours when normal people are sleeping. I recently made a ‘big money move’ on the basis that I can save more and exit the profession far quicker this way. I dont regret becoming a lawyer as the experience has taught me alot (not about law but about people, life, how to behave in adversity, how not to behave, what I love myself, what I hate about myself, what makes me ‘tick’). I’ve promised myself I will leave by early 2017. My soul could not take it if I stayed for much longer than that and the toxicity of my working environment has got to be doing some internal damage to my body. I try to do all I can to keep healthy but I’m seriously worried the stress levels have aged me. Reading this page is so comforting to me as I can see I am well and truly not alone.

    Thank you all for commenting and letting others out there know that we are not alone!

  103. I am not a lawyer, but I have been an electrical engineer for over 25 years and I HATE, HATE, HATE it. There are so many blogs re unhappy lawyers. But, I feel a need to warn youth to stay away from the so-called STEM careers. Engineering majors are akin to trade school and are not flexible.

  104. Hey there everyone, I just graduated from law school in May 2015 and shortly thereafter got into a law firm (yes! I know its the worst) and now, after 8-9 months I just cannot stand my work environment or my boss any more. Everyday I get yelled at for ‘not performing up to industry standards’ and I don’t know, I just don’t know, I feel I am cut out(read: meant) for something else, something bigger and more fulfilling where the hours won’t be billable and the clients aren’t wolves for fake justice. I just wish, I could end up with something better. If I may ask, what do you guys do, after quitting, because truth be told, I am so fucking scared of being jobless and directionless and I am writing this with utmost sadness maybe even scared shitless. Need help guys, deep mental help. i am from India btw.

  105. I knew I was not alone but I am still happy to see that a site like this exists. I am currently a litigator in a top law firm. We have over 1000 attorneys nationwide and the number seems to be growing every couple of months as the firms’ managing partners keep absorbing smaller law firms in other states. Anyway, I have been a lawyer for 7 years. I have been a full time litigator for 4 years in the field of Workers’ Compensation. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of leaving my job and doing something else.

    Most civil litigators have a large case load at 30 ongoing cases. In Workers’ Compensation (for defense) the average case load is 75 to 80 ongoing cases. That is 80 cases that I have to keep in my head at all times and constantly bounce around from one thing to the next to make sure a motion is filed timely, a hearing is scheduled, exhibits are prepared, a trial is ready to go forward, ongoing discovery motions and all manner of letters in between are sent and all clients are adequately responded to in a timely fashion. The depressing thing about being a lawyer is that this cycle never stops. If I settle a case and close a file…I get a feeling of relief that one more thing is off my plate….but then 15 minutes later happens and your boss is already slamming a new file down on your desk to handle. Then you have to go through the same process all over again. Analyzing defenses, trying to get the other side to settle, doing discovery, trying again to get the other side to settle, setting the matter for trial, preparing witnesses, exhibits, etc…, dealing with a corrupt system exploited by attorneys for the other side for the sake of pure profit for profit’s sake. Nobody cares about injured workers and nobody cares about insurance companies/employers or the cost they have to endure to defend these mostly meritless claims. This is a system that is extremely corrupt and is only allowed to exist because it is a multimillion dollar business in my state.

    This is a horrible process that runs my life. My health has gone down hill. I am only in my early 30’s but I have the prevalent gray hairs of a 40 something. I am tired all the time. I have gained 20 pounds since law school. I have no time to go to the gym or do anything that is enjoyable. I constantly play the billable hour catch up game (meaning I am required to bill 8 hours per day on average, but if I don’t bill 8 hours then I use the first part of the following morning to catch up and bill to get up to 8 hours). Then I start on my work for that day and hope I can catch up. I rarely see my fiancee. We both work so much that it took us 2 years to set a wedding date. I am generally angry most of the time as all patience that I previously had for people in general has gone out the window because I am forced to defend cases against the worst kind of people imaginable. They are all angry, pissed off, ridiculous people who were probably the evil little nerds in school who loved to point out when people were wrong. Everything is a constant fight everyday. Court is not fun. Trial is not fun. Writing pleadings are not fun. There is always someone who is poking holes in your argument, exposing you for a fraud, and understandably that is their job, but it pretty much makes you question yourself and your life constantly. I am constantly worried about having my mistakes thrown back in my face. I have developed a lot of anxiety over it and I even get so angry with opposing counsel that I start having mock angry arguments with them in the bathroom mirror so that I can be more calm when I see them in court. I am miserable and so will you be if you decide to enter this profession. The only good thing about my job is that the pay is somewhat decent (however it took me awhile to get here) and I can work anywhere I want. I don’t have to be in the office to work. As long as I hit my billable hours I could be on the moon for all my firm cares. However, what goes along with that is that there is no set vacation time. If you take 2 weeks off you have to work for twice as many hours the next 2 weeks after you get back to make up the billable hours you didn’t hit that month. It makes taking a vacation not worth it. Also since monetary compensation is the only real value to this job, I feel like I have to spend money on things just to make myself happy. However, I am now in a not so modest amount of credit card debt and feeling stuck in a job that I have to keep going to just to make enough money to pay down the debt I incurred. I graduated from law school 8 years ago and I still probably have another 10 years to go before I pay off my law school debt. I am even shirking my duties right now by sitting in a Starbucks writing this post because the thought of doing one more pleading or reviewing one more medical report makes me want to break down and cry.

    I actually had a very real conversation with a judge one day about what other things I could be doing with my life because this is the most depressing and thankless job there is where you are only as valuable as your last “win.” He pointed me to several options and I am hoping other options exist because I am so dreadfully unhappy.

    It seems that life is too short to live life like this. There has to be something better than living day by day in constant argument with other people for a cause that is nowhere near noble.

    • I 100% feel your pain. You have summed up exactly how this profession is – a horrible thankless treadmill. I too am angry all the time (less so now I’ve changed to a PSL role) and when I was a practising litigator, my health problems were rife. Litigators fall in 2 camps in my opinion – (1) those who thrive on it and love being confrontational, love the status, the money, the power – they will be the successful ones as they generally have no morals or conscience and don’t actually care about their clients or what others think of them or do to them, as long as they get stacks of cash, (2) the rest of us who have morals, a conscience and compassion. We hate our jobs because we actually care what happens to people (whether our client or the other party) and we hate the fact that all that matters is money and power. Us types won’t succeed in litigation (or we will but be very miserable about it) because to do so, you have to be ruthless, you have to sell your whole life to the profession and forget about family time or down time since all that matters is winning and making money. I know which camp I’d rather be in. You will have picked up many valuable skills other companies will value – have you thought about a PSL role? Means no clients and no court – you can pretty much chart your own course. Yes, it means drafting precedent pleadings, arguments etc but you have the luxury of time and being able to research everything properly with no clients yelling at you and no billable targets.

  106. Whoops – only been in the job (commercial/property lawyer) for 6 months in NZ and already looking at other avenues. That can’t be good. Am exhausted for less that what I earned in a temping role. Facepalm stuff indeed.

    • Disillousiond (sp)

      Have today pulled the pin on working as a lawyer. Not sure what to do next. Will see where I land. V hard decision to make, but deep down gut telling me it’s a big, fat ‘nope’.

  107. Elizabeth Alvord

    Like so many others who have left their comments here, I am very grateful to have found your website! I have been in practice for over 20 years. That seems impossible to believe at this point. Over these two decades, I tried to get out of the practice of law on multiple occasions. I came back to my practice whenever I needed to earn more money. The stupid thing was that I never earned enough to justify the horrendous stress and misery I experienced in the dark world of civil litigation.
    I’m 50 years old now and I’m quitting for good. I have 5 cases to finish then that’s it. I have no idea how I am going to make a living, but I just cannot do this anymore.
    I’m hoping that I can get inspiration and ideas from all of you as to a new career. Again, my most sincere gratitude for being here!!

  108. Hi Folks,
    Thanks all for validating my feelings of anxiety and extreme frustration in practicing law. I’ve been at it for far too long, and deeply regret that I spent so much time away from my husband (who died almost 5 years ago), and young son while he was growing up. I’ve finally reached a point where I can give up the profession of law, and I’m going to start living again. Your words are inspiring. Thanks again!

  109. I have practiced as a litigation lawyer for 8.5 years and it has certainly been extremely stressful at times. However it has gotten less stressful for me over time every year, although it will never be as low stress as almost any other job, which means I will end up shifting into something else at some point in the not too distant future.

    I have implemented a number of strategies to help me with coping, and I am happy to share if they are of any assistance:

    – First and foremost. Serious wealth management. I have practiced serious frugality from day 1. Being extremely creative to trim down all costs and do everything DIY. Destroy student loan debt and save and invest the savings. This has helped me feel in control of my life and I increasingly have the ability to walk out of practice if and when I want. I am no longer trapped like I was the first few years.

    – Client management. We deal with some awful people as litigation lawyers and deal with the worst side of people. I allocate a label to clients – A,B, C and D. A listers are kind, pay their bills and give me regular work. B listers are mostly the same but do require some management. C listers will be failing at least one of those categories. D listers are usually failing all of them, they will be awful rude aggressive hostile people who dont pay bills and are usually one offs. A listers get taken to lunch, to drinks, schmoozed, called out of the blue to see how they are. B listers get their work done first after A listers. C listers get their work done after that if I get time, and get their phone calls returned last and get bossed around by me. D listers I generally watch like a hawk, I treat them harshly and try to sever the lawyer client relationship if their poor behaviour continues and 3 months outstanding bills is usually a valid reason. Its funny how all the bad stuff seems to come at once. I definitely dont want to show D-listers any kindness as I dont want to do work for them twice – they are risky people to work with. I also tend to focus on trying to do work for larger corporates. Individuals or small businesses who see litigation lawyers often are likely to be problem people. Whereas corporates will regularly deal with litigation lawyers because they are dealing with so much stuff it is inevitable they will need to do so. On a regular basis. You can also have more of a relationship with corporates and have a more relaxed and rewarding practice experience. I have increasingly conducted business development so that I research and hand pick my desired corporate clients and will work on them to get and then keep their business. I know basically have a well set up portfolio of paying on time, respectful, kind, corporate clients, and I rarely need to pick up the one hit wonders that so often come with warts and all. In fact I often pawn off some of my new business development work to others in the team as I am at full capacity.

    – Live close to work, So you dont have to add commute time to those 60+ hours of work each week. I have lived within a 15 minute walk of my workplaces the entire time.

    – Pay hommage to the billable hour. I was regularly pressured by my workplaces to do other work which interferes with my billable time. Writing articles, speaking at conferences all the time. Conducting training sessions. Doing work at a cheap rate etc it goes on. I realised that the only think which attracts praise and respect is how much you billed. So I decided years ago to focus only on that and on business development. Every time partners try to get me to do such stuff I push back and tell them they want me to bring in more clients and bill more time, leave me alone. I seem to bring in more new business than the partners, and it is recognised it is a strength I have (fuck its way nicer than lawyering – I get to meet people when they are actually happy) so I have some leeway with avoiding other work.

    Hope you all manage to experience some better times. It is hard slog isnt it.

  110. Hi all,

    Im glad I found this website. Im a lawyer presently working at a firm in India since 3 years and not at all happy with my life. Each day i wake up feeling stressed and unhappy for what im going to deal with. I feel like quitting this field almost every day. Having said that i have no clue as to what im going to, thats why cant leave it at the moment. Im deeply disturbed dont know what im going to do with my life and I dont want to waste my time any further but simply cant decide what to do. Any suggesions would be highly appreciable


  111. Hi All! it’s been a year since I posted on here, and wanted to give you all an update:

    My post from March 28, 2015 conveyed how much I hated this profession. So, when I hit the one year mark, I quit…and moved across the country, jobless. I was in a very dark place in my life—depressed, anxious, restless, etc., and worried how I would ever find anything else to pursue. So here I am, in another part of the country, with no job and a lot of depression. I did all I could to land a job (informational interviews, mass emailing my resume, hooking up with people in my network) and somehow, someway, I got the a temp-to-permanent position at a PE firm working under the general counsel. Things worked out, and I was offered a full time position as associate counsel. It has truly been great—way better work life balance, young, vibrant company, everyone is super nice and I am (somewhat) involved in the decision making. It’s empowering.

    So what I’m saying is this (and many of you will already know this): WORK IN A COMPANY. It is generally much better than private practice (more fulfilling at least) and it pays better than public service. It’s really the best of both worlds–the hours are good, the work culture is good and your only client is the company. Granted the overall atmosphere of a company will depend on the company and perhaps the culture of the region you work in, but it should generally be a lot more bearable than private practice law firm (do not work in private practice law firms unless you have no other choice).

    I understand that many people may not get the opportunity/chance to work in a company–but if you stumble upon some luck and get the chance to apply to one or work for one, DO IT. I wish you all the best.

  112. I HATE being an attorney. I have been practicing family law for just over 3 years and I literally want to kill myself every time I walk into the office. Client’s are insufferable, and opposing counsel’s are the scum of the earth. Judges are lazy and unpredictable. I had a case this morning for our motion to enforce a portion of a 2011 judgment. The judge asked for my dissomaster calculation to determine child support….FYI there are no minor children, and support was not even motioned. I sometimes find myself staring at the monitor unable to write a sentence.

    I have begun to see the lack of care in my work product, as well as in court arguments. If I was single without a family I would of quit 3 years ago and took anything but this. I can’t though I have two children and a wife. I want to find a transition to a field that not every second of the day is a constant battle. I don’t even know where to start. I feel lost and hopeless. The only positive thing is I work with great people (which is an oddity in law).

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  113. I will be leaving my job this summer after 2 years as a lawyer. Got a Federal government job in Ottawa. Couldn’t be happier.

    • Hi guys, this website is like a godsend. I’m currently training and I always thought law is everything I ever wanted – wrong. No one at the firm has anytime for my training and development, they just throw files at me which I have no clue how to handle say they are too busy when I ask for help then have a go at me when I make mistakes. Every day is a challenge but not a good type of challenge – the stressful anxious want to drop off the face of the earth type of challenge. I just don’t know what to do. I think I would feel better if I was in a more supportive environment that provided constructive criticism and on top of that the constant billable hours and targets just suck out all the joy of everything. Has anyone felt like they wanted to do something else this early on? Should I stick at it and hope it improves? Would be very grateful for your suggestions…

  114. Disillousiond (sp)

    Finished my job today – cleaned out the office and all that – no idea what will happen next work-wise – scary/exciting.

  115. Oh goodness I just stumbled on this and I’m so excited. I’m an Industrial Relations Lawyer and I fucking HATE IT. I’m totally thinking “why the hell did I spend so many years in law school, and what am i going to do now!!!?” Ahh gosh I’m stumped…

  116. This is a great site. The comments from lawyers in varying stages of their respective careers who feel exactly as I have throughout my career is incredibly refreshing and inspiring.

    I stumbled upon this because I am a 25-year lawyer in Michigan and I am looking for: (A) hope, and; (B) some guidance to a way out.

    My career has taken many turns. I’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company. I’ve worked for a small PI firm. Now, I am working in a firm that specializes in defending no-fault fraud cases. I took the job because the change from my last firm entailed a nice salary increase. As you can imagine, the job is miserable such that I am contemplating taking a pay-cut to go back to my last firm just because it’s the lesser of evils.

    Lying doctors and health care providers who, in tandem with their patients, are out to defraud the insurance industry. In turn, the insurance industry out to defraud everyone because that’s the nature of the business. I’m stuck reading medical records, taking depositions, going to court, and running on the endless treadmill that we call “litigation.” Viewed objectively, it all seems pretty pointless and silly. People are making lots of money from it, of course.

    I realize that no amount of money can justify doing a job that is not rewarding in any way, shape or form and for which you have no passion or belief. I’ve long-since reached the end of my proverbial rope with this career. I need to make a change for the sake of my kids, my wife and myself. Sadly, like many, I’ve found that there is very little one can do with a law degree besides practice law.

    For those readers who have escaped, any suggestions for those of us still bound by the ‘golden handcuffs’ and mired in the law will be very much appreciated.

    Best regards.

  117. Like many here, I am not an ex-lawyer. Yet. I am thinking about it, however. Trying to figure out what would come next. I’m a sole practitioner in a small town, and I genuinely can’t figure out if it’s the town or the job that I hate. I suspect it’s both. After years of barely breaking even (and living off a line of credit because I wasn’t breaking even) my business is finally making some cash. All that’s doing is making me see how easy it is to get addicted to the regular pay checks. But I’ll be 40 in a year and a half, and I feel like this job is why I can’t have a baby. I don’t want to have a child and then let day care or a nanny raise it. I have always wanted to stay home for as long as I can and be a full time parent. My husband moved to this town for me, and now his job isn’t giving him regular hours and we have a massive mortgage. We can’t rely on his income to pay our costs if we have a child. Honestly, I didn’t hate this job when I started. It’s been in the last few years that I really started to see that things had changed, and it’s only the last few months that I have been able to say, clearly and unequivocally, that I am not happy. I gave my father a heads up that I’m not happy here, and he said “Of course you are”. You can’t argue with someone who thinks they know better than you what your feelings are. It’s a waste of oxygen to try.

    I’ve been putting a ton of thought into WHY so many of us are unhappy. I do think it’s got a lot to do with the constant confrontation. I am not a litigation lawyer, but it seems like it’s constant confrontation anyway. Are we, as a society, really getting less civil to each other? That’s what it feels like.

    Anyway, I have a plan. I gave myself a deadline of 2020. By then, hopefully, we’ll have paid the mortgage down to a manageable level. And if hubby’s hours are more regular, then maybe we’ll stay. If they aren’t, then we’ll sell and get the heck out of here.

    Meanwhile… that song by Sugarland has been on repeat in my head for three days. The one that goes “There’s got to be something more… I could work my life away but why…”

  118. I haven’t left the law but have moved direction within it. I was a litigation partner, very trial heavy. I hated absolutely every minute of it. Especially court stuff. The judges are so rude and personal about it, yet that’s seen as acceptable. Opposing counsel, well, don’t even get me started on them – most of them crooks, willing to stab their own grandmothers to get ahead. And the clients, demanding, a fair amount dishonest, you bend over backwards, get to meetings at 6am on their demand, deal with opposing counsel from home, on holiday. Then if you don’t get the result they want, they complain about you and then don’t pay your bills. The money was good but not that good. I could have earned more if I moved to an equity partner (which was on the cards) but I decided I didn’t want to buy into and then be stuck in this life forever. Health problems galore, caused by stress. Being bothered by clients/issues, evenings, early mornings, weekends, even on vacation. The court is so disrespectful of family life – they put cases over family and think nothing of ordering you to cancel plans last minute on a friday so you miss family events over the weekend, all to file papers on monday for a client who ultimately more often than not, ends up complaining about you and not paying your bills so you get criticised for not having met your target and then don’t get any bonus or pay rise which might have gone some way to at least giving you something tangible for having given up your life and your sanity. I’ve now changed to a PSL role. It’s still hard but there is no longer the pressure of client demands (now stakeholder demands instead) or court demands. It’s less pay, though given I was not being paid market rate anyway, it’s actually not much less as new place has more by way of benefits to balance it out (pension, bonus, etc). It’s much less stressful also and there are some good days but mostly, I still hate the law. I just wish I’d never gone down that path. But my fiancé and I want to buy a place together so I can’t really start again at something new. I am going to try to fulfil myself outside of work by taking up a number of hobbies that may hopefully make a life within the law bearable. If I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with children and they ever tell me they want to be a lawyer, there is no question I will try and talk them out of it. It is an evil profession full of horrible, messed up evil people.

  119. From a future ex-lawyer. God damn your comments are depressing but I already knew about it. I’m 27, finished my degree when I was 21 but decided to pursue a career in music instead. I still have my band and we have a pretty good following here in Montreal, but it’s a hard life too. Last year I decided I would pass the bar so my degree wouldn’t be useless (plus outside pressure, especially friends and parents wondering why I’m not finding a ”real” job). I finished May of this year and am now about to engage in my internship (6 months here in Canada). My plan is to get over this internship and go back to doing odd-jobs and following my dreams (yeah, so corny). I’m just wondering if these 6 months alone will drain all creativity from my soul as well as prevent me from practicing and doing shows (just working as a paralegal last year and having a band was dragging me down). Anyway, I guess I’m in a dead end for the next 6 months. Anybody here went through law school, then the bar, then just quit ?

    P.S.: I don’t hate law on an academic point of view but practising seems like a whole lot of bullshit. I don’t think I can make it.

    • Hi Chuck! I am from Montreal too, and I too finished the Bar last May. I have completed my internship in January and I found a job as a lawyer few days later. However I had to quit. The whole package that comes with working in law, is simply unbearable. I would wake up wishing to have an accident and die.
      I used to be in the beauty industry. Now I want to go back to it, but I don’t know, I just feel my creativity had somehow died during the process.
      I would really like to get in touch with you.
      magikviolet (at) hotmail (dot) com

  120. Hey man, I quit law two and a half years ago. I’ve been working as a freelance computer graphics artist and making money where I can. I passed the NY and NJ bar exams and gave up on law after 4 years of pain. I moved to California and began the struggle to become a known artist. It’s been hard but doable. I think that if you have a reasonable chance of making it as an artist you should go for it. Having the bar is kind of a pain since everyone wonders why you haven’t been working law jobs rather than art, but it is an accomplishment that I am proud of. I’ve been lucky to have made some money that I’ve been slowly drawing on to survive, but eventually I think my art will be able to sustain me financially. I wish you the best.

  121. Hi,

    It’s been almost a year since my last post and two years from my first post here. In my first post I said I have put July 2016 as my deadline to leave lawyering. Well it’s August 2016 now and I am still working at my firm. I have made a massive progress though. I am establishing an exciting start-up focusing in fintech. It turns out my background helps me a lot in establishing this start-up, without my experience as a transactional lawyer I would not have been able to start this. I am teaming up with my cousin who is a financial consultant and my brother who is an auditor at one of the big 4 accounting firms. They helped me a lot with the finance side of the works.

    I have commissioned a software house to develop the website and if things go well it will be ready by the end of October. I will start raising venture capital right after my web is finish, and will resign immediately after we get funding commitment, hopefully by the end of this year.

    I will keep updating my status here, and hopefully it can inspire all the lawyers who wish to do something else in their life.

    All the best!

  122. I’m a South African attorney who practiced in Biglaw for 2 years and 5 months. I am deeply saddened to see that this is a global problem. I left cold turkey with no plan,the depression and anxiety got intolerable. I was lucky to be young enough to not have major financial obligations and have resorted to living off my savings.

    During my time off I have been applying for other jobs like a mad man. I have two interviews coming up, one for a consulting position in the legal and tax division at KPMG and another for a financial crime position at Deloitte’s risk advisory division. Perhaps these are some ideas that you all can look into when seeking to transition out of private practice? It’s still law but heck it’s not Biglaw or practice, hopefully things can’t get any worse than that

  123. Holly Marie Colino

    I have independently managed several legal cases and they regarded employment educational criminal and civil law.

    For the most part, I was able to mitigate the case before it escalated to The legal system or a trial.

    I have challenge the state twice and I succeeded in both cases.

    I have always handled my own traffic related court appearances.

    I have one case, where I hired two attorneys, and that resulted into me having to get rid of them, because of their incompetence and corruption.

    I am a message bearer, and I always stay true to maintaining my purity and clean conscious.

    No, I’m not asking for any excuse, gift, or validation, but I really have been consistently targeted by ‘crime’. It had nearly happened every day, for a good five years Basically, I am a constant target retaliation and the cowardice and approval problem. Yes, I have been targeted with various forms of secret characters theft, copyright infringement, public exploitation, public slander and the like. Oh, and yes, just about every main crime. Now, I have never enabled myself to become a victim of any type of conduct related crime. I have never pursue any legal action and anybody.

    I have always seen the lessons and wisdom gained within the circumstance, and by default, I have gained ability to publicly expose many of these despicable people.

    There was not one case that was initiated by me. Every case was an attempt to slander, secretly sabotage, arrest, steal my character, and or retaliate, and one was due to an honest police error. I simply act accordingly, in respects to what they had initiated.

    In most cases… Exposure is the appropriate consequence for these ‘types’.

    Now, money could be, if it has anything to do with taking down a business that destroys purity spirituality, humanity, and justice, all while doing so, to the grand mass. But, if the message bearer could get the exposure… A penalty with money would not be necessary.

    Ok.. So now.. Yeah, I have also obtained criminal justice field work and I have done some internal investigations. So, how many people got away with misdemeanors and felonies..? I don’t care to count all of them right now. Several of them had affiliation with town police, The upper upper management of large franchises etc.

    Here is a common one…

    He or she gets justification, access to the ministration, and they have a motive for some kind of gain.

    Yeah, he’s a security guard, and he’s been fudging incident reports, per the request if the pier upper management, but he’s got over $1000 worth of resources that he needs, for something very meaningful and important to him.

    Yeah.. It’s easy for him to do it, and it’s justified!

    Did he get charges pressed him for grand larceny…?

    No, he can still from the business, because the business directed them to do their dirty work!

    I can go on and on about these types of things.

    I’m glad you guys looked at the legal system, did an ‘about face’, and marched away from it.

    Holly Marie Colino

  124. Holly Marie Colino

    I have independently managed several legal cases and they regarded employment educational criminal and civil law.

    For the most part, I was able to mitigate the case before it escalated to The legal system or a trial.

    I have challenge the state twice and I succeeded in both cases.

    I have always handled my own traffic related court appearances.

    I have one case, where I hired two attorneys, and that resulted into me having to get rid of them, because of their incompetence and corruption.

    I am a message bearer, and I always stay true to maintaining my purity and clean conscious.

    No, I’m not asking for any excuse, gift, or validation, but I really have been consistently targeted by ‘crime’. It had nearly happened every day, for a good five years Basically, I am a constant target retaliation and the cowardice and approval problem. Yes, I have been targeted with various forms of secret characters theft, copyright infringement, public exploitation, public slander and the like. Oh, and yes, just about every main crime. Now, I have never enabled myself to become a victim of any type of conduct related crime. I have never pursue any legal action and anybody.

    I have always seen the lessons and wisdom gained within the circumstance, and by default, I have gained ability to publicly expose many of these despicable people.

    There was not one case that was initiated by me. Every case was an attempt to slander, secretly sabotage, arrest, steal my character, and or retaliate, and one was due to an honest police error. I simply act accordingly, in respects to what they had initiated.

    In most cases… Exposure is the appropriate consequence for these ‘types’.

    Now, money could be, if it has anything to do with taking down a business that destroys purity spirituality, humanity, and justice, all while doing so, to the grand mass. But, if the message bearer could get the exposure… A penalty with money would not be necessary.

    Ok.. So now.. Yeah, I have also obtained criminal justice field work and I have done some internal investigations. So, how many people got away with misdemeanors and felonies..? I don’t care to count all of them right now. Several of them had affiliation with town police, The upper upper management of large franchises etc.

    Here is a common one…

    He or she gets justification, access to the ministration, and they have a motive for some kind of gain.

    Yeah, he’s a security guard, and he’s been fudging incident reports, per the request if the pier upper management, but he’s got over $1000 worth of resources that he needs, for something very meaningful and important to him.

    Yeah.. It’s easy for him to do it, and it’s justified!

    Did he get charges pressed him for grand larceny…?

    No, he can still from the business, because the business directed them to do their dirty work!

    I can go on and on about these types of things.

    I’m glad you guys looked at the legal system, did an ‘about face’, and marched away from it.

  125. Pingback: Movie data integration and analytics – Movie Machina

  126. Hi All,

    Could really use all your advice! I have just finished 6 years of law school and have done a number of clermships, including working as a law clerk for nearly 2 years while I was studying. I was “lucky” enough to land a graduate job at a corporate law firm and have only been there for one month. The boss there is absolutely crazy and has made me feel like absolute crap already and I am contemplating quitting. The other partner in the firm is very nice and helpful but the founding partner is crazy, but everyone just puts up with him. He had a go at me the other day and it has really made me think whether law is the path I want to go down. I have never felt passionate about it or truly connected with it and do not see myself doing it in the long run. It has also made me extremely insecure and lose a lot of confidence in myself studying law and trying to practice law. I am really scared to quit as I do not know what other opportunities are out there and it is extremely hard to land jobs atm. I don’t know how long I could put up with this boss I feel sick thinking about seeing him. What should I do? What other jobs have people found happiness in?

  127. Disillousiond (sp)

    John – your situation sounds remarkably similar to my experience in big law – I got into a firm, but I think everyone else was more excited for me than I was! I ended up hating going to work every day – I couldn’t focus on the sort of work I wanted to, and got tired of working for a control freak partner. In the end, it was a casing of figuring out that it was a wasteful exercise putting a square peg into a round hole – I didn’t feel passionate or connected to it either, so after the first year, I resigned. I ended up doing contractual work for a city hall – the transferable skills from studying law came in very handy, I didn’t have to work stupid hours and the pay was better. Unfortunately, the contract has finished, but this time of the year has been brilliant to think about what works; will be looking at creative or charitable endeavors. I wish you well – trust your instincts and go for it. Life’s too short.

  128. I have been a paralegal for 4 years and recently qualified as a property solicitor. I am 29 going on to 30 in just a few months, I have spent my whole time as a paralegal working the in the office till ridiculous hours.. and as a solicitor things just have gotten worse. No respect at work, being delegated partners work, lack of training, quick turnover, personal attacks, to do lists, “what you have done” list.. oh and of course close analysis of those lists has made me absolutely hate what I do. I hate my job, I am so unhappy, I hate life because majority of time is spent at work, I dread Mondays and only work to get a wage.. my only happiness is that I will be planning my wedding this year. Despite how I feel I am so afraid to change my career path, to be able to do something I love leaves me feeling at peace.. happy.. puts a smile on my face.. to have to go to work tomorrow and have clients chase me 9.00 on the dot frustrates me.. maybe I am just not good enough but as is the case is with most of what I have read.. I think to myself what will my family say if I give up? What will the society think of me? I hate this stress.. I just hate what I do..

    • Disillousiond (sp)

      Oh my – totally relate. I was a paralegal and then became a solicitor and things didn’t improve. Congrats on your pending nuptials and on turning 30;what a time to be alive!… because with milestones like that, you can’t help but reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going. Did my OE at 30, better late than never and then did the legal exec to eventually lawyer thing. Wouldn’t worry about what society or your family think; it’s not them that are having to rock up to many hours of being 100% present and yet over stressed and un(der)appreciated. Suggest discussing it with future hubby – am picking he will like having you around rather than you spending a whole heap of time at work and not investing time in a new marriage. Good luck.

  129. Hey Everyone,

    I’m about to finish my one year internship at the DA’s office (criminal) while hating every minute of my internship. I came to a realization that working in Law is a total inspiration kill, dreadful, you work too many hours for NOTHING, almost all of your colleagues are ANTI-social pricks, I barely gett any credit for my work and I’m just out of fucks to give honestly. I don’t feel like I’m doing any good or enhancing the community, I’m just an officer of the court, doing what the law is telling me to do and that’s it. I’m not stopping crime, I’m getting criminals in jail who will probably commit same felonies again, on and on, it never stops we do the same shit everyday. anyway, since I’m still in my 20’s I’m going to try it out and go for my dreams, I’m done selling myself short and be treated like a slave ! . also I might try out going for IP law or High-tech..just because I’m very interested in innovation and new technology..

    stay strong everyone and remember you live only once !!

  130. Hi. I am a paralegal working in a law firm and now feel that working in the legal field isn’t for me. It isn’t the fiest firm that i have worked at and the feeling of being miserable jist won’t go away. I am looking into different options but I am at a loss as to where I cn go from here. I would love my own business, enjoy anything beauty related, writing and working to help others. Any ideas of what jobs I can do this? Your help is much appreciated.
    Thanks :))

  131. Been a lawyer for 15 years in London and I’ve hated it for almost that long. Ive only stuck it out this long because my family expect it of me. I’m tired of being told that “work is supposed to be stressful” by people who just don’t get it. I’m desperate to get out and start living my life. I’m turning 40 this year and hate the person I’ve become and I just can’t face taking this into another decade. I actually walk past a couple of homeless guys every morning on the way into work and feel envious of them and their freedom. I think when things get to that stage it’s clearly time to get out..

  132. I have been practicing for nine years now and have pretty much hated every minute of it. I’m a good litigator, and I care about people and I’m good at helping them feel comfortable in stressful situations. However, I hate reading the law, and I hate writing, and I hate the constant pressure to perform.
    I worked as a contract attorney defending parents in Child Protective Services cases for three years. That was gut-wrenchingly painful, even though I was good at it. Prior to that I had opened my own practice and was primarily doing family law which again was awful. Prior to that my first position was working at legal aid as a housing attorney. I pretty much hated that as well.
    I just got a job at a prestigious firm as a family law attorney and they are telling me how I’m going to be so great and they’re putting all this time and energy into me and all I can think about is how I don’t want to do it. I have no savings and my girlfriend was so excited when I got this job because I’ll be making very good money and it’s a very prestigious firm.
    I don’t want to get up and go to work in the morning and I just started two weeks ago. I need to find something else to do but I have no savings and I don’t know where to turn. I wanted to teach years ago, and if considered going back to school and getting my teaching certificate. But then I think “what if I don’t like that and then I’ve wasted that time and am broke. I don’t know but I just know that I’m absolutely miserable.
    I was diagnosed with panic anxiety disorder and PTSD years ago before I went to law school, and my symptoms have just worsened overtime with this career. I don’t even really know what makes me happy anymore. I try to play guitar and play drums like I used to, and I go hiking, and I just can’t seem to find my happy.

  133. Hi everyone!
    I would like to thank everyone who have commented above.
    Reading all the above comments really brought me a sense of validation that I couldn’t otherwise get. As a matter of fact, when I talk to people around me about quitting the law, everyone tells me “But the law is SOOO good, and you make SOO much money! You want to quit? are you mad?”
    Going into law, I never expected to make big money, but just a way of earning a living. But seems like when you begin, that is something impossible to achieve. The last step before being called to the bar was to complete a 6 months full time articling position. Mine was unpaid (but I did receive a 1 500$ CND after the 6 months as a “bonus”). Even if it was unpaid, I took it, because it is hard to find articling positions, and I was thinking (very naively) that doing so would allow me to have a foot in the profession. It ended up being 6 months of nightmare. My boss was fat shaming me calling me all kinds of names, even going as far as making fun of a tic I have due to a medical condition, and that, on a daily basis. I tried many strategies to make the whole thing stop. Then my boss got afraid that I would file a complaint to the bar for discriminatory behavior, so he stopped calling “fat” “fatty” and other unflattering comments about my physical appearance and about my tic. However, his nastiness transposed in other things, in other types of comments, which, can be labelled off as “comments on my work”. Meaning, if I were to complain, one wouldn’t be able to understand the whole picture. But anyways, by that time, I was half way into my articling position, and I didn’t want that to deter me front getting my license. Also, my boss was a family friend, so there’s this whole aspect of not wanting to loose face. And if I were to quit, I would have to find another articling position, which is very hard.
    Few days after I finished my articling position, I did find other positions. I went to the interviews, and 2 of them told me that I would have to work voluntarily and if I can get clients of my own and finish the whole file on my own, then I would get 20% of the total bill. And the third place were I was offered a position, I was offered 400$ a week.So I took the latter. But turned out, my new boss would make up excuses and ended up just giving me 300$ for the 2 first weeks and then 350$ for the following ones. The weeks during which I was paid 300$, I worked for about 45-40 hours, and the weeks which I was paid 350$ that was 50-55 hours. I was not declared as an employee, so the minimum wage (11.50$ an hour) didn’t apply to me. I was declared as self-employed, and my “salary” was declared as professional fees. I had to pay my own professional insurance, mandatory continuous education etc… and the job was just horribly stressful. We were always in a rush, the office was a mess, I never knew at what time I’d be able to leave the workplace. I was absolutely ridiculous to earn almost twice as less as the minimum salary, and yet, to have so much responsibility and liability. The only thing was that that boss, unlike the previous one, was relatively nice, in the way that she would never call me names or fat shame me.
    Otherwise, the stress of the job was just extreme.
    My work place was situated on the 25th floor of a skyscraper, so one day, I tried to open one of those huge windows, in the hope of being able to jump off. Then, I didn’t have the courage to quit, I didn’t have the courage to admit to myself that this is not what I want in life, so I thought the only “honorable way” to end this all, was to end my life. Fortunately, I was never able to open those windows, and I realized it’s not worth it to kill myself, I still have my boyfriend who loves me a lot, and my child too. So one day, I just quit.
    Before coming to the law, I used to be a hairstylist. There’s always a lot of drama in hair salons, clients can be very difficult and mean, so are coworkers and bosses. With the years in hairstyling, I grew a thick skin, but nothing could have prepared me to the craziness of the legal field. People in the legal industry, somehow manage to take the drama and the bullsh*t to the next level sh*t. And I was amazed at how cheap people are in the legal field, even when they are very wealthy. They always make excuses to justify not to pay you or to pay you as twice as lower as the minimum wage. When I begun my hairstylist career, as an assistant, I remember how senior hairdressers would share their tips with me because the client to whom I did a shampoo, or applied color, didn’t tip me. I was also given minimum salary, and my bosses would send me to specialized color and/or advanced cutting classes, for free. Even when I had the most horrible bosses in the beauty industry I felt like I was still a human, with a soul and a heart. Even the craziest bosses I had in the beauty industry, would tell me to go on break or to go eat something. But in the legal field, I can only count a few moments when I actually felt like a human. It was all about running against the clock.

    I came to the law, because I was thinking that I needed some intellectual challenges, and I thought it would be a fulfilling career path. How wrong and naive I was!
    In my opinion the reason why there is so much problems in the legal industry, is because there’s this mentality of having to prove yourself and especially having to suck it up at any cost. It’s taboo to talk about the dysfunctional aspects of the profession. When I talk to people I know in law, everything is beautiful, gorgeous, marvelous, and even to people who have been called to the bar few months before me, they would actually tell me that I am a loser, because they are making 15 000$ CND a month, so if they can do it, so do I.
    Some people I know, have been called to the bar 2 or 3 years ago, make
    23 000$ CND (gross income), and they explain to me that only the “real” and the “tough” and people with “real guts” make it, Those people work until very late at night, and to them, I am just a looser because I want to have a life and not shooting caffeine through IV and stay at the office the whole night. They always tell me how there’s this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. To me, this is called gambling. To invest so much in something that you’re not even that sure about the outcome.

    On the last day of my articling position, a lawyer who worked on the same floor (but from another law firm) told me I was a loser and would go nowhere in life. His reasons: he have noticed that I leave way too early and didn’t come that much on Saturdays and Sundays. I would like to precise that during the 3 first months of my articling, I would come to the office at 8:30 AM and leave around 8:30- 9:00 PM, most days, and too many days leaving around 10:30 PM. I would also come on Saturdays and Sundays. But after 3 months, I decided not to kill myself for people who didn’t even pay me, so I stopped coming on the weekends and left at 6:30 PM (coming in at 8:30 AM). So that made me a loser accordingly to that lawyer with whom I didn’t even work, and who was not even part of the firm for which I worked. This incident, is just a symptom: in the law, you have to be a mad workaholic who puts everything on the line, otherwise you are nothing.

    So I would want to go back to hairdressing, but I’m still ambivalent about it. My ego is screaming that if I go back to hair, I’m a loser. I feel so inadequate about my choices. Maybe I just need time to process all this. At the same time, I feel like being in the law really killed a part of me. When i worked in hair salons, I would sing coming to work, I was a clown, I was funny and creative. Now, I became like this sad thing, I don’t really find joy in anything. The law is just horrible. my articling position and my work in law, were in small firms. I thought by avoiding big law, I would have avoided all the craziness but I was so wrong.

    Talking to people around me, trying to find support, just make me feel few notches more desperate: everyone just tell me that I should work as in house counsel or for the government, because those jobs are SO SO easy. First, it’s really hard to land in those jobs these days, especially if you just started. Most companies ask for at the very least 5 to 7 years experience in litigation, or in similar positions. Second, governments don’t hire as much as they did. And third, I am very well aware that even in those jobs, one can’t avoid the lawyer mentality, and if some things are better than working for law firms, in those position, one would have to cope with all the internal and external policy cr*p that come with the territory,

    Now all I want is to have the strength to follow my own path, and put this whole law thing behind me once and for all.
    I would really like to get in touch with people who stepped out of the law and did something else.

  134. Rach – your comment is exactly how I feel.

  135. Awful, isn’t it?

  136. It is killing my spirit. I cannot believe I have been practicing law for over 15 years. And, for the most part, have hated every single moment of it.

  137. Hi, I have finally ended my career as a lawyer three weeks ago (see my initial post on October 18th, 2014). Now I am a full time entrepreneur, I established a fin tech startup, and gosh I feel liberated. I am, of course, taking a huge financial risk. But I believe it’s really worth the risk, since working as a lawyer is the worst thing ever. I do not feel anxious anymore and I enjoy my weekends. I even work harder and longer, but it feels very different. I feel liberated.

    My advise, listen to your gut, take a leap of faith, and follow your dream and passion.

    • I’m a lurker and one-time prior poster. I return occasionally for inspiration.

      To begin with, congratulations on your move and your freedom. It’s a brave step but the fact that you feel liberated is justification enough. Sadly, I fit the classic lawyer profile, i.e., I’m highly risk-averse. I have been practicing over twenty years and I can only dream of what you have achieved.

      I’ve been very miserable for the last ten years and I finally have to come to realize that it’s because I have been in a job for which I have no passion. My wife has implored me to quit practicing because she knows that I’m miserable and because my misery has affected my health as well as our family dynamic. My wife sees it as do our two children.

      My wife has a great job that she loves and she’s successful. She’s confident that we can survive on her salary. I’m not so sure. Nonetheless, I’m afraid to quit out of fear of the unknown. I’m afraid that if I simply quit I will be basically unemployed unless I accept a low-income job somewhere. I learned long ago that there’s very little truth to the propaganda churned out by law schools about the portability of a law degree (unless the degree is from Harvard, Yale or Stanford.)

      I feel that I am highly limited in my options due to my career trajectory which, for all intents and purposes, has limited me to being an insurance defense lawyer. As much as I would love to I can’t get a job in this profession doing anything else.

      I have lost my ambition, my passion for life, and I am incapable of conceiving of any alternative to what I am doing now. It’s a sad state to be in.

  138. Hi E.J., many thanks. You also have options btw. It’s really not worth it to stay in a profession which makes you lose your ambition and passion for life. You can make it, trust your instinct. The fact that your wife supports you is also very important and it shows that she believes in you and she knows you can make it. Start by making plans on what you would like to do outside lawyering. Don’t limit yourself to work another job, you can also be an entrepreneur and start your own business. Cheer up, you can do it.

    • Niko, thanks for your reply. Everything you’ve noted is true. I’ll continue to plug away and work towards an exit. Once again, congrats to you for making it over the proverbial wall.

  139. Non Lawyer to Be

    OMG!! I have been an attorney for 10 years this May and have not enjoyed it at all! I tried different kinds of practice. I tried getting a job. I tried, I tried, I tried to like it but I can’t. I made a living but do not own anything to show for it. I’m constantly stressed and filled with anxiety. I can’t tell people what happens, my wife doesn’t want to hear it anymore. It’s always about work. I’m taking a non lawyer job that pays me less than when I was a nonlawyer. I went to law school and racked up student loans I will not be able to pay back for 30 years, if that. I’m taking a government job that will lower my monthly student loan payment and possibly grant me loan forgiveness after ten years.

    At 46 years of age, without a retirement plan and hella debt I felt this government job was my best option. The pay is probably more then what I’m making if I add up all the hours that I put into my current job I think I make about $15 an hour. Woohoo! My non lawyer friends don’t get it either they just don’t feel I should complain and receive $1500 retainers.

    Clients are a different story. Some of them are grateful but others, the one’s you do the most for (without pay) seem to be the least grateful.

    I start my job beginning of May, it’s 13 weeks of training (can you imagine a law firm that actually trains their employees), 8am to 5pm Monday – Friday. After which they hand you an outline of skills you should conquer in the next two years to be noncompetitively (Yea I Know What is that Word! I never heard that word!) NON COMPETITIVELY promoted to the next level of status and pay.

    We shall see how it goes…it is actually the kind of job that I did before law school and for which everyone told me I should get a Master’s in Social Work but of course I didn’t listen. I wanted to be a Lawyer! With what seems to be a useless Doctorate Degree!

  140. Greetings from the other side!! I have not posted in a long time but I took some time off and had a baby! 🙂 I am now back to teaching (I was a teacher before becoming a lawyer). It’s stressful and busy but completely fulfilling for me. And no, I don’t teach law I teach music instead!

    It doesn’t pay what lawyering does and I have students ask me why would you do this instead of being a lawyer??? From the outside, it may not make sense but for me, I don’t dread waking up every morning like I did before. That’s enough for me to swallow my pride and teach instead of practice law.

  141. i loved reading this. i am a lawyer 15 years in and currently trying to figure out a way to get out!! i have practised in crime for all 15 years and i have had enough. i feel like i am drowning in a sinkhole of shit. i tried talking to a couple of close friends about leaving the profession (they think i am mad to leave) however i am struggling getting out of bed daily to do my work. i am fortunate to have no debt, so there is nothing really stopping me except other peoples expectations.

  142. Hey, in house legal here. I used to work as a Contracts Administrator for energy sector company and just recently moved to a company as in house legal and I dread coming to office everyday. I work from 8AM – 6:30PM, including Saturday. Since I live in a country (somewhere in Asia) where the pay is low and vacation is as low as 10 days only, I feel like I’m about to pop out. I complain everyday, I feel tired everyday. My friends told me to find activity after work, but I don’t have much money (need to pay the bills) and I feel exhausted after work. I don’t know how to get out from this situation. My mom told me to quit work and take time to rest while looking for other jobs, but the bills are waiting to be paid…

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