Claim Your Potential, Quit Your Law Job Like David Johnson

In case you haven’t already spend a boatload of billables reading, analyzing and gossiping about Sidley partner David B. Johnson’s superb departure/retirement email, here’s the link from Above the Law.

word "potential" highlighted in legal document

It might be a good idea to seek your potential outside of a legal document, if you want that alternative legal career.

Of course, my hat is off to Mr. Johnson. Welcome to the ranks of lawyer-writers, sir.

For the rest of you who want to leave law, let’s talk amongst ourselves about that “untapped potential” Johnson references in his email. I have no way of knowing what he means by that, nor do I need to (it’s damn funny regardless). What I’m wondering is why you are deciding to live with your untapped potential, instead of taking steps to realize it.

The reality is, if you’re reading a blog about leaving law, law is not doing it for you. Your soul longs for its potential to be realized, and it isn’t going to be realized while being a lawyer. That’s what your unhappiness is all about.

Here’s what wanting to leave law isn’t about:

  • being irresponsible,
  • being a flake,
  • being a hopeless dreamer,
  • being selfish,
  • being impractical in this awful economy,

or whatever other adjective your inner critic has been lobbing at those longings.

Your deep longings are your truth. Staying in a miserable job is caving to someone else’s wacko rules. It’s time to go sane. That’s what David Johnson did, and you can too.

So maybe your question for the year should be: What can I let go of to embrace my potential? or, What does my soul want me to hear?

Whatever your question is, I’m betting the answer isn’t staying in a job that you loathe on a good day.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who helps unhappy attorneys reconnect with their potential and do something about it. To find out what that’s like, schedule a discounted sample career coaching session. Email Jennifer at jalvey@jenniferalvey.com today to discover your potential and get going.


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