37 min

Attorney Freedom with Charlotte Smith Lawyer Business Advantage

    • Management

Imagine being offered partnership in a prestigious international law firm before your 30th birthday, only to turn it down and walk away from the practice of law! Charlotte Smith, host of the Life Design for Lawyers podcast, did exactly that. Charlotte is now a lawyer-turned-executive coach and, on this episode of Lawyer Business Advantage, Alay Yajnik speaks with Charlotte about how she helps attorneys recover from burn out and grow their books of business.

Alay Yajnik: Welcome to Lawyer Business Advantage, your source for biz dev tips, wisdom and inspiration. I’m your host, Alay Yajnik. We’re unleashing your inner rainmaker in three…two…one….

Alay Yajnik: And it’s my pleasure to welcome to the program, Charlotte Smith. Charlotte is an executive coach for lawyers and she runs the Life Design for Lawyers podcast. Charlotte, thank you so much for joining us today.

Charlotte Smith: Thank you so much. I am delighted to be here.

Alay Yajnik: Well, I’m really glad to have you on the show because you’ve got a different perspective that a lot of my guests. A lot of my guests were lawyers and they’ve they’ve been in the field for 20, 30 years, sometimes longer. And they’re just continuing to do their thing. But you’ve taken a very different path than most lawyers. And so tell us a little bit about yourself in your journey from attorney to coach.

Charlotte Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So for me, I started on the traditional lawyer path. I went to college, law school, did all of the typical things that you do in the UK to become a lawyer. And I landed in employment law and I practiced at one of the UK’s top travel law firms. And so my clients with the likes of Hilton Hotels, Expedia, British Airways. And in a lot of ways, I really enjoyed the work that I was doing. I was fascinated with human and organizational performance. And so that fit very well with being an employment lawyer. I quickly moved up the ranks within the law firm and I was awarded a 30 Under 30 award. And just before my 30th birthday, I was offered partnership at the law firm. So everything was going really well.

Alay Yajnik: And Charlotte, I’m sorry to interrupt, but is it unusual to be offered a partnership when you’re under 30 at that firm?

Charlotte Smith: It was, yeah, it had not happened before. And I was actually very good at business development and marketing. And so the fact that I was able to build my own book of business right from the onset was one of those factors that led me to being offered partnership. And I was very big into innovation as well. And I developed an employment law product that served the travel sector. And so that was what the 30 Under 30 award was all about. And so everything looked great on paper. Things were going really well.

Charlotte Smith: And I missed the drum roll, but under the surface…Things didn’t feel quite right. It felt like something was missing. I really had a desire to be more creative and I was also very much on the path to burnout. I was working crazy hours…regularly in the office until sometimes 3:00 a.m. and I could just see that if I continue down this road, then where would I end up? And I’m sure that would have been the path to burnout. And so as I was considering whether or not to accept the offer of partnership, which was a very difficult decision, and my husband came home from work and he works in finance at a tech company. And we were in the UK at this point. And he said, “Charlotte, you’ll never guess what, but I have been offered a job in Silicon Valley, California.” And so it was as if the universe was speaking to us and we decided that this was a really exciting opportunity we had always envisioned as newlyweds being able to kind of live on a more international scale.

Charlotte Smith: And so when this opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it with both hands and we moved back here to Silicon Valley. And for a while I wasn’t really sure what I was going

Imagine being offered partnership in a prestigious international law firm before your 30th birthday, only to turn it down and walk away from the practice of law! Charlotte Smith, host of the Life Design for Lawyers podcast, did exactly that. Charlotte is now a lawyer-turned-executive coach and, on this episode of Lawyer Business Advantage, Alay Yajnik speaks with Charlotte about how she helps attorneys recover from burn out and grow their books of business.

Alay Yajnik: Welcome to Lawyer Business Advantage, your source for biz dev tips, wisdom and inspiration. I’m your host, Alay Yajnik. We’re unleashing your inner rainmaker in three…two…one….

Alay Yajnik: And it’s my pleasure to welcome to the program, Charlotte Smith. Charlotte is an executive coach for lawyers and she runs the Life Design for Lawyers podcast. Charlotte, thank you so much for joining us today.

Charlotte Smith: Thank you so much. I am delighted to be here.

Alay Yajnik: Well, I’m really glad to have you on the show because you’ve got a different perspective that a lot of my guests. A lot of my guests were lawyers and they’ve they’ve been in the field for 20, 30 years, sometimes longer. And they’re just continuing to do their thing. But you’ve taken a very different path than most lawyers. And so tell us a little bit about yourself in your journey from attorney to coach.

Charlotte Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So for me, I started on the traditional lawyer path. I went to college, law school, did all of the typical things that you do in the UK to become a lawyer. And I landed in employment law and I practiced at one of the UK’s top travel law firms. And so my clients with the likes of Hilton Hotels, Expedia, British Airways. And in a lot of ways, I really enjoyed the work that I was doing. I was fascinated with human and organizational performance. And so that fit very well with being an employment lawyer. I quickly moved up the ranks within the law firm and I was awarded a 30 Under 30 award. And just before my 30th birthday, I was offered partnership at the law firm. So everything was going really well.

Alay Yajnik: And Charlotte, I’m sorry to interrupt, but is it unusual to be offered a partnership when you’re under 30 at that firm?

Charlotte Smith: It was, yeah, it had not happened before. And I was actually very good at business development and marketing. And so the fact that I was able to build my own book of business right from the onset was one of those factors that led me to being offered partnership. And I was very big into innovation as well. And I developed an employment law product that served the travel sector. And so that was what the 30 Under 30 award was all about. And so everything looked great on paper. Things were going really well.

Charlotte Smith: And I missed the drum roll, but under the surface…Things didn’t feel quite right. It felt like something was missing. I really had a desire to be more creative and I was also very much on the path to burnout. I was working crazy hours…regularly in the office until sometimes 3:00 a.m. and I could just see that if I continue down this road, then where would I end up? And I’m sure that would have been the path to burnout. And so as I was considering whether or not to accept the offer of partnership, which was a very difficult decision, and my husband came home from work and he works in finance at a tech company. And we were in the UK at this point. And he said, “Charlotte, you’ll never guess what, but I have been offered a job in Silicon Valley, California.” And so it was as if the universe was speaking to us and we decided that this was a really exciting opportunity we had always envisioned as newlyweds being able to kind of live on a more international scale.

Charlotte Smith: And so when this opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it with both hands and we moved back here to Silicon Valley. And for a while I wasn’t really sure what I was going

37 min