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Summary: If by the end of 2014 you were burned out at your attorney job, make 2015 the year to have a fresh start.
Life as an attorney isn’t all fat paychecks and glamorous trial work. In fact, a lot of days, you work well into the night on boring paperwork and get yelled at by judges or other attorneys. If you’re unhappy in your current attorney position, there are several solutions to finding happiness in your career.
What do you enjoy?
In your day-to-day work, what is it that you enjoy? If you practice family law, do you enjoy helping children? Do you enjoy researching case law and legislative history for writing briefs? Do you like the thrill of being in the courtroom, or would you prefer to be behind the scenes? If you’re bored with your area of law, ask yourself why. Research other areas of law that may be a better fit for you—for example, areas like criminal law and family law will have you in the courtroom fairly often, whereas a real estate attorney may never step in the courtroom. Some firms need research attorneys to simply write briefs and memoranda. If you enjoy helping children, look into becoming certified as a Guardian ad Litem in your state.
Should you stay at your current firm or move to a new one?
Do you see yourself at your same firm in 10 years? Do you want the responsibilities and honor that come with being named partner? Or, rather, would you prefer to start fresh in a different firm? Perhaps a new law firm is opening a branch in your area, or perhaps a friend practices law in a discipline you’ve always been interested in. If you’re interested in the public sector, see if you can get at least some part-time work at a public defender’s or solicitor’s office to see if you want to fully make the switch, or if you can stay at your current firm and be happy with just a taste of something new.
Think outside the box
Sure, most people who have law degrees practice law, but there are many other possibilities you have with a law degree. Many non-profits need employees with law degrees to help them understand the ins and outs of the laws that affect their interests. Businesses and corporations need attorneys to ensure that they are complying with applicable laws. Colleges and universities often need attorneys in their planned gifts departments. The possibilities are there if you start networking and brainstorming.
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