I’m an advice column junkie. One of my favorite ways to avoid tedious things like bookkeeping and administrative tasks is to read advice columns, especially any chat transcripts.
But I’ve never found an advice column solely for miserable lawyers who want to leave law. Then it hit me—I could do that! After a decade of career coaching, a decade in publishing, and almost a decade in law, I have a few pearls of wisdom I can throw out there.
We can talk about things like:
- Can I find a job that I really, truly like, which doesn’t require a vow of poverty?
- What can I do? I don’t have any job skills except reviewing documents and writing research memos.
- I don’t want to do anything I’m good at any more. HELP!
- I’ve invested so much in law, I can’t just walk away. But I’m miserable. HELP!
- How can I even put together a resume and hunt for a job when I can barely get out of bed most mornings?
My hope is that I can help people with their law career problems. In particular, I hope I get letters about problems that many unhappy lawyers share, and let all you unfulfilled/ unhappy/ miserable lawyers out there know that you are FAR from alone. You have lots of company, hiding behind (pasted on) smiles and (fake) enthusiastic attitudes.
Sending in Your Letter
This is the easy part:
Drop me an email (email@example.com) about what you’re struggling with in making a job or life change.
Be as specific as possible. Include what you love and what you hate (cats, dogs, iguanas, working at a computer, coffee, tea, late nights, bingeing obscure British TV shows, early morning runs—anything and everything unique to you). The more specific you are, the better answer I can give.
I’ll post a question and answer at least monthly, or more often if the volume and interest warrant it.
Don’t worry that everyone will know it’s you! First and most importantly, I will only use pseudonyms, and any personally identifying information will be deleted or changed to protect the guilty and innocent.
Also, I’ve been coaching for a decade; trust me when I say that your struggle isn’t as unique as you probably fear. It’s important, definitely. But I strongly doubt that no one else has ever had similar experiences and feelings. And if I think something could identify you, I won’t include it, or I’ll change it.
I hope y’all are as excited about this column as I am!
Truth be told, I’m scared the response to this lawyer advice column is going to be crickets. I literally have no idea how it will turn out. I think this is what we call in coaching, “Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Gulp.
So here I go, stepping out of my comfort zone. Please join me there. (pretty please?)
Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who did all the right things—Top Ten law school, federal appellate clerkship, job in Biglaw—and hated just about every minute of it. She did like some of the people, though.
For the last decade, Jennifer has been coaching unhappy attorneys about changing their careers. In addition to advice columns and true crime shows, she also has a slight craft supply addiction problem. You can send letters, or set up a discounted sample session, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.