Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Seeking ideas for handling career burnout, wanting a break from law practice--SERIOUS RESPONSES PLZ

Hi all. I find it's so common for lawyers--esp. those lik catwoman33309/22/18
Maybe see if you can find something on the state side of thi downwardslope09/22/18
When I experienced mine, I was young enough to parlay into a fuckyouracists09/24/18
I’m already an empty husk of a human being and I’m on th misery12309/22/18
@Misery123, nothing wrong with trying it to see if you like catwoman33309/22/18
Very good points, Catwoman. I don’t have the means to hang misery12309/23/18
I'm interviewing for a contracts specialist job with a bank fettywap09/22/18
Maybe try a different area of law. I do civil now but plan t tcpaul09/22/18
Once you master your area of law the goal becomes to milk it isthisit09/22/18
Maybe try to start your own side business? I know a lot of a hotshot09/22/18
Look for meaning in different areas. Have any serious hobbi jd4hire09/24/18
It sounds like from a career point of view, you have it down greenhorn09/24/18
i hate to break it to you. the dali lama does not live in ti whiteguyinchina09/24/18
catwoman333 (Sep 22, 2018 - 3:28 pm)

Hi all.

I find it's so common for lawyers--esp. those like me with many years of experience--to get burned out some time, to want to try a different career path--at least for awhile.

I practice disability law. It's not that I dislike it (actually, it's a very interesting area of law and I enjoyed learning about it at first). But after almost a decade at it, I feel like I have hit a career ceiling, exhausted the "learning curve," etc. which is making me feel ...well.. "exhausted" and rather like a repetitive machine. CLTs ask the SAME Qs and always have the SAME complaints, I give them the SAME answers, and the judges stick to the SAME script, ask the SAME Qs in hearings. It almost feels like being trapped in a bad movie about robots: "Press button here for the SAME dialogue." LOL.

I'm finding that there seems to be a lot of career pigeonholing or typecasting, even in law practice, making the transition from one practice area or another entirely new career a bit of a challenge. I don't have the $$ to just chuck it all for a year to "seek the meaning of life" by going off to gaze at my navel with rich, bored, spa socialites in Carmel CA or the Dalai Lama in Tibet. I am just afraid if I force myself to continue this "grind" much longer, I will soon become a very unpleasant empty husk of humanity....:-).

Any serious suggestions or comments about your own experiences--esp. how you made the transition-- are appreciated. I would also appreciate if anyone could recommend a good website that posts exclusively admin. law atty. jobs. Perhaps all I need is to segue from one area of admin. practice to another.

Thanks for your time, comments!

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downwardslope (Sep 22, 2018 - 7:00 pm)

Maybe see if you can find something on the state side of things? I did that for a while and it was actually quite varied. We did stuff like facility licensing, employment exemption hearings, etc. It really depends on where you go, but state agency attorneys do a whole lot more than what you’d find in a disability law firm.

If you can get into a position where you do actual rulemaking, that is probably the place to be. Not that many people know about it and it is pretty cushy. People seem to have the wrong idea about what rulemaking is.

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fuckyouracists (Sep 24, 2018 - 6:19 am)

When I experienced mine, I was young enough to parlay into a new industry to utilize the skill set. The issue is pigeon holed, which will be problematic as non profs such as ACLU don’t pay enough as an alternative. If you do want to lessen the load, maybe high level EEOC or state Discrimination departments. At your experience level can come in Sr. or director level. That way can have your subordinates do most of the leg work to help in re burn out and you still have control over the case. Just some thoughts. Good luck.

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misery123 (Sep 22, 2018 - 3:34 pm)

I’m already an empty husk of a human being and I’m on the other side of that (govt). Was thinking about leaving and becoming a claimants’ rep. I guess that’s not a good idea?

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catwoman333 (Sep 22, 2018 - 8:40 pm)

@Misery123, nothing wrong with trying it to see if you like it or not. But be aware of the challenges:

1. This job is contingent fee, meaning if you lose, you don't get paid. 2. You will need another source of income to pay your bills while you advertise and build a big enough clientele with strong cases in the pipeline to feel able to sustain yourself long-term. 3. Long waiting periods before you get paid: at least a year to get into see a judge after a hearing request, and another 6 months post-hearing before you get a decision and fee check.

It's easy to hang out a shingle, find and get clients, not so easy to get clients with strong, winnable cases (esp. in this day and age where so many people who just don't want to work try to spin a mild condition into a disability check).

Of course you can always work for another firm as claimant's rep, but those jobs tend to pay peanuts, esp. for inexperienced reps.

Good luck.

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misery123 (Sep 23, 2018 - 9:08 pm)

Very good points, Catwoman. I don’t have the means to hang up a shingle and wait a year to get paid, so I’d have to go work for a firm. Good to know I’d get paid crap.

I like what the below poster said about dabbling in something (eg; real estate) before jumping in.

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fettywap (Sep 22, 2018 - 5:16 pm)

I'm interviewing for a contracts specialist job with a bank next week. I still don't understand what this job is. Maybe it's so easy to get an interview because nobody wants to do it.

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tcpaul (Sep 22, 2018 - 7:03 pm)

Maybe try a different area of law. I do civil now but plan to end my career at the prosecutors office. Keeps things fresh.

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isthisit (Sep 22, 2018 - 7:24 pm)

Once you master your area of law the goal becomes to milk it for all its worth. Or you can try writing articles about it or whatever.

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hotshot (Sep 22, 2018 - 8:12 pm)

Maybe try to start your own side business? I know a lot of attorneys who have something else going on like a restaurant or selling products online. I know one guy who started dabbling in real estate and did so well in it he went full time and stopped practicing.

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jd4hire (Sep 24, 2018 - 10:21 am)

Look for meaning in different areas. Have any serious hobbies? Have any items on a list that you've always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to? Scuba certification, learn a different language, learn meditation, read more, wood working, etc.?

This could be valuable as you progress in life. My father is scared to retire due to a lot of new found time and nothing to fill it with. Hobbies can be good outlets and can provide new opportunities in lots of different ways.

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greenhorn (Sep 24, 2018 - 2:11 pm)

It sounds like from a career point of view, you have it down and settled...and I mean that in a good way. I'm going to assume you make decent money ? If so, stick with this area because it's your bread and butter.

Your burnout sounds like you are just tired of doing the same thing over and over again. You can fix that in a couple of different ways.

a.) Pick a new practice area to do, in addition to plaintiffs side disability law. Pick something that interests you, learn it and develop a practice area in it.

b.) Learn something outside of law where you can maybe make some money on the side. I'm not sure what other skills you have, but real estate brokerage is something many attorneys do on the side and become successful at it. I have a law school friend that is partners in a small insurance defense firm, but earns a significant income selling homes.


c.) If you aren't looking for the above, pick up some new hobbies outside of the office. Cut back on office work, and spend more time learning something new or rekindling/developing an existing hobby. I don't know what you enjoy doing outside of work, but whatever it is, take it to the next level or learn something new !

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whiteguyinchina (Sep 24, 2018 - 6:01 pm)

i hate to break it to you. the dali lama does not live in tibet.

which means you should look for meaning in your life right where you are.

everyone gives nice suggestions.

we need novelty, meaning, challenges, accomplishments as human beings.

i would go on auto pilot - because with your expertise, you can - with your bread and butter and then look for one thing, one goal, at first.

exercise is a good one. its usually the base of anything. set a goal to get into great shape.

or set another goal. it doesn't need to be a huge goal, at first. 'learn how to make thai yellow curry.' read up on it, reasearch, experiment, feed it to your loved ones. go shop for ingredients at local stores. that kind of thing.

pretty soon you will start stacking goals and start feeling better about your situation.

if its truly about the work or money. find a way to earn more or in a different way. but maybe a little simple variety in your life is enough.

good luck.

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