To practice or not to practice....

  1. Hi everyone! I need a bit of advice, as I am a bit torn on what to do next career-wise. Sorry in advance if this is a bit long!

    Background:
    I graduated from law school in spring of '06. I didn't want to work for a firm where I am currently living because I had planned on moving and didn't want to want to quit after a short time or end up staying. Anyway, I took a position with a large information/research provider. I love the company, but just not the department I am in. With as much student debt as I have, the pay just doesn't cut it. I think my dad would also appreciate it if I were more financially independent :smile: Yes, I am 27 and should be by now.

    So, I am kind of at a crossroads. My choices are essentially:
    1) Look for a position at a firm in Ohio, where I am currently licensed;
    2) Stay with the company and go into sales/account management
    a) where I currently live or
    b) transfer to another location.

    I have wanted to move, if even just for a year or two. Going with option 2 would allow me to do so and already have a job. Then I could see if I like the city and then decide whether I want to take another bar and later practice. I am just worried that I am getting too far removed from the law though. I mean, I do legal research every day, but it is nothing close to practicing. I also think that I am partly scared that I will either hate practicing or that I will just be terrible at it, if that makes any sense.

    Lawyers or not, any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. I assume you work for Lexis or Westlaw now? Gosh, if so, I can understand why you don't love the department if you have a research position. I can't imagine being happy doing that.

    Okay, here is my two cents. I would try to get an actual practice position. I personally would be afraid that if you stay w/ what you are doing that you will get too far from practice, to the point where it will be difficult to actually practice in a few years. Fast forward five years- you'd technically be going into your seventh year based upon your grad date, but you'd have nowhere near the practical experience a seven year attorney should, KWIM? Also, the longer you wait, the harder I think it might be to get into practice. Another thing- if you wait a few more years and then decide you want to practice, but stayed w/ your current job, you'd likely be offered a salary that was based upon your applicable experience, which might be that of a first or second year associate. So, you could be faced w/ a pay cut, making your choice even difficult a few years down the road if you decide you want to practice.

    Don't be scared about hating practice or not being good at it. You never know until you try. Some days suck, honestly. Some days are great. I really think any job is like that. If you are scared about not liking what you'll do, go w/ a more general practice firm. Personal example- I am w/ a firm that does general defense work, but I've found I LOVE construction and building defect work. Yeah- really. Never would have thought that. So, I'd make sure you have exposure to a variety of things and don't get stuck w/a firm that does divorce only and then, oh no!, you hate divorce law.

    If you are scared about the financial aspect and I understand that totally, I would get a job lined up before leaving your current place, if you chose that option. If hope my rambling helped. You can PM if you want to as well!
     
  3. From what it sounds like, it might be difficult to move without working for a while and getting yourself on more solid financial ground. Perhaps you could practice for a year or so and get yourself some experience and save some money and find out what you like. You could also start deciding where you might want to move and prepare to take the bar there. If you don't like practicing you can always go back to research. My cousin starting out practicing law and hated it. She got a reserach job and likes it much better.
     
  4. Thank you both for your opinions!

    Elizat, yes I think you are right. That is what I am afraid of - getting too far from the law. And yes, I do work for the above. I suppose it is really a matter of where I want to live and do I want to take another bar. I think your suggestion of a general practice firm is a good one. I know I am interested in real estate, but when it comes to the actual work, will I like it? That is not something I will know until I actually try it. It is funny how often I have heard of people loving the things that they first thought they would dislike! Although to me, construction/building sounds pretty interesting :smile:

    Anyway, thank you! It is good to have some perspective from another attorney.