The Goo Phase of Leaving Law

I imagine you all know the story of a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. During the chrysalis phase, the caterpillar is inside, busily transforming. But (in case you missed this part in biology) it’s not that the caterpillar’s body shrinks and it grows wings. Nope. The caterpillar’s body dissolves into goo, then rearranges itself into a butterfly. Leaving law feels like that.

butterfly chrysalis
Sure, the goo phase of leaving law can be painful, but it has its own quirky beauty.

The goo phase of leaving law is often highly uncomfortable, but usually quite necessary as you give up toxic lawyer ideas about work and life, and start embracing the ones that are important and real for you.

When you seriously start searching for an alternative legal career, you’re the caterpillar, devouring information and ideas, processing them and growing larger in your soul. Maybe you’re like that Very Hungry Caterpillar, and start eating some weird stuff like pickles and salami slices and chocolate cake all at the same meal. So yeah, you might get a tummyache along the way.

That’s OK. The weird foods fuel you as much as the nice green leaves. You need to take all of them with you into the cocoon. They will help create that beautiful butterfly that is coming.

When caterpillars start making their chrysalis, I doubt they know how it’s all going to turn out. They just know they have to do it. Leaving law is like that, too. At some point, you just know you have to get out, whether or not you can see 5 years into the future. Because the truth is, even if you stay in law, you don’t know what your life will look like in 5 years. You may think you do, but you don’t. Ask all the people living in New York on Sept. 10, 2001 about that.

Unlike the caterpillar, you don’t have to go through your transformation alone. The goo phase is messy, but family and friends can and will help carry you through. And if they aren’t enough, a career and life coach could help. I’m just sayin’.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who loves playing with goo, real and metaphysical. She works with unhappy attorneys to help them embrace their goo phase and then spread their gorgeous wings where they are meant to fly. She offers discounted sample coaching sessions so you can give playing in the goo a try. Email her at to schedule yours today.

One comment

  1. What about the goo phase of becoming a lawyer?

    You know, where you enter law school a mere student and emerge from your debt-addled messy goo stage as a beautiful, wealthy, and powerful elder statesman/senior BigLaw partner?

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