30 episodes

Megan Smiley interviews recovering lawyers, career advisors, and other professionals for advice and inspiration on transitioning out of law practice.

The Lawyer's Escape Pod thelawyersescapepod

    • Careers

Megan Smiley interviews recovering lawyers, career advisors, and other professionals for advice and inspiration on transitioning out of law practice.

    Jordan Hellman leaves litigation for sales and business development

    Jordan Hellman leaves litigation for sales and business development

    Jordan Hellman is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Care Partners at Home. After working in litigation in a few different environments, Jordan decided it wasn’t a context problem - he just didn’t enjoy practicing law. So, he leaned into his strength in relationship-building to create a new career in sales and business development. Sometimes your best laid plans for your career don’t pan outPay attention to the things you enjoy about your job for cluesSome people make moves in big jumps, and others in smaller stepsEven sun and surfing in California doesn’t always make practicing tolerable :)Entrepreneurship often requires even more hours than law, but if you enjoy what you’re doing - it’s much less painfulInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.com

    • 51 min
    Jan Newman leaves Big Law to earn her PhD and become a licensed clinical psychologist and executive coach

    Jan Newman leaves Big Law to earn her PhD and become a licensed clinical psychologist and executive coach

    Dr. Jan Newman is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified executive coach, and former Big Law attorney who works with multi-passionate high achievers who want to level up their lives. Jan shows us how to take a scientific, systematic approach to leaving law and finding a new career. This process is an experiment: outline your ideas, try them out, learn from the feedback. Don’t expect to have all the answers all at once. But, if you stick with it - you’ll eventually find a good career fit. Jan has very generously offered 3 free 45-minute sessions to listeners who reference this podcast. So, I’d highly encourage you to jump on that! In this episode, we discuss:Jan knew from Day 1 that law school wasn’t the right fit“You really don’t have time to think about why you’re there, you’re just trying to survive”The law firm bubble leads you to feel like this just what working life isDon’t listen to nay-sayers who haven’t realized there are alternative paths yetNetworking and mentorship can make all the differenceTest out different options/interests and learn from the feedbackJan actively tried out psychology, wedding photography, and dive instructing to learn what would be the best long-term fitIt’s ok if the first experiment doesn’t solve all the problemsSome issues can be solved by a better practice area or geographic fitYou can make money doing something you enjoyThinking through the costs and benefits of an additional degreeDon’t let the stress and dissatisfaction grow; it can become a more wide-spread problemYou have to get your mindset, thoughts, and emotions under control before having the space to dive into larger questionsJan Newman Coaching: jannewmancoaching.comJan Newman Resources: https://drjannewman.com/resources Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.com

    • 54 min
    Heather Hubbard leaves law firm partnership to start a personal and professional development company

    Heather Hubbard leaves law firm partnership to start a personal and professional development company

    Heather Hubbard is a former Intellectual Property and Entertainment lawyer who practiced for 10 years before being drawn by her unique talents into starting her own personal and professional development company. She tells us about her journey out of practice, the limits we place on ourselves as lawyers, and tools we can leverage to help us move ourselves forward.In this episode, we discus:Heather wasn’t miserable, she just realized there was a better fit in another rollIt can take some time and reflection to realize you have unique strengths; something you may think everyone is good out might actually be your particular zone of geniusOverthinking a change may keep you stuckLaw practice can be seen as a building block rather than something you abandoned Lawyers make it so hard on ourselves We are black and white thinkers, which puts undue pressure on us to find the “right” answers Mindfulness and thought work help people reframe their thinkingYou need to give yourself time and space to gain perspectiveYou’ll take your baggage with you, so do the work upfront Heather offers a variety of services and also hosts a podcast: Hustle & FlowHeather Hubbard: https://www.heatherjoyhubbard.com/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.com

    • 42 min
    Summer Challenge: Take Action

    Summer Challenge: Take Action

    Summer Challenge!! Today’s episode is a little different. Instead of having a guest, I wanted us to take some of the inspiration we’ve gotten here and elsewhere and turn it into action. We can consume advice, wisdom, and ideas until we’re blue in the face. But, we need to translate that into action in our lives if we want to see real change. I think the important thing is that you don’t have to take one big, dramatic step. The idea is to just start showing up for yourself and doing the small things that ultimately add up to big things. So - in July and August - let’s all pick one thing we’re going to actually do. It could be hiring a career coach, taking a class on any topic of interest, starting a meditation habit, etc. I walk through a few ideas in this episode - but the world is your oyster. Most importantly - just pick something and do it! And I’d love to hear what you guys are doing - so shoot me a note!Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.com

    • 12 min
    Alex Su leaves big law litigation for legal technology sales

    Alex Su leaves big law litigation for legal technology sales

    Alex Su is a former big law litigator who now does business development and sales within the legal technology industry. Currently, he is the Director of Business Development at Evisort, an AI-powered contract intelligence platform. Alex talks about taking the time to reflect on his interests and natural inclinations, and how this allowed him to identify his unique set of skills. His thick skin and talent for persuasion may not have found their place in litigation, but he uses them all the time in sales.  Being a litigation associate is nothing like what it looks like on TVLook at the associates and partners ahead of you and think whether their job/life is something that appeals to youTrying different practice environments can help you identify whether your dissatisfaction is with the type of practice, or with being a lawyer all togetherAlex even started his own firm, which highlighted to him that he loved the sales and marketing work more than the law practiceIdentify the core of what you enjoy; for Alex it was working with peopleLook back at what has come naturally to you in the past; you have a unique set of skillsReally devote some time and effort to introspection to identify your skills and challenges You might find your answer faster by slowing downFinding success in a legal career doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your skills or your happinessLots of real conversations are happening on LinkedInDon’t get overly focused by moving up the ladder in any field; it may not lead you to a position that plays to your strengthsKeep an open mindFollow your own internal guide, not a set of job listingsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.com

    • 40 min
    Mary Cobb tells about how she took a break from law to learn to paint in Italy, and now combines her careers in law and art

    Mary Cobb tells about how she took a break from law to learn to paint in Italy, and now combines her careers in law and art

    Mary Cobb is both an artist and a working lawyer. She tells us about how she left full-time practice to move to Italy and learn to paint. She’s now built a dual career, returning to practice as a staff attorney while building her art business on the side. I think her story gives a good glimpse into how pursuing your interests and passions can be balanced with a legal job, if that’s where your comfort zone lies.Sometimes the life you carefully built no longer makes sense to youIt’s ok to make a change, even if you feel like you're too old toGet your eat, pray, love onExplore your artistic side, you might find you have oneYou can leverage your legal skills through contract work to fund a break, exploration stint, etc.Longer term, there are staff attorney roles at law firms that allow you to balance being a lawyer, making money, and exploring an interest/passionYou can balance careers, but it requires holding your boundaries clearlyYou can gradually let go your attachment to the lawyer identity Covid-19 may present opportunities to advocate for a new balance for yourselfInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelawyersescapepod/ Website: www.thelawyersescapepod.comFormer Lawyer: https://www.formerlawyer.com/collab/

    • 26 min

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