Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Introducing Lawyer Working Girl

When did I know that I wanted to be a Lawyer Working Girl? Somewhere between realizing Organic Chemistry sucked and admitting to myself that I hated my major, Accounting. You see, my original plan was to become an orthopedic surgeon. I majored in Accounting at the insistence of my doctor who said, "Every doctor should have a business background." No longer wanting to be a doctor, I turned to my love of law and politics. So I took the LSAT, wrote a personal statement, and applied to eight law schools. I was accepted into seven, waitlisted at one, and offered a scholarship by more than half of the schools. Being a smart Not Yet Working Girl, I went to the law school offering the full scholarship.

Since graduating from law school, I've lived in 5 different cities. Yes, 5. So I guess you can also call me Pick Up and Go Working Girl. While I don't like the physical aspect of moving (packing, hiring movers, watching them not handle my precious possessions with care), I LOVE change and moving to a new city. So where am I now and how did I get here? Well, I'm currently living in the South. After graduating from law school, I accepted a clerkship on the East Coast and later worked for two different litigation firms there. In the beginning I found going to court and arguing in (and sometimes out of) court on behalf of my clients exciting, but that excitement quickly faded. On top of that I had a boss with a serious anger management problem--everything made him angry, including me (and in my defense 99%, ok 98% of the time, it wasn't my fault which meant that he was always in my office offering up an apology). One day I realized that I had had enough. I was losing sleep, not eating, and just overall stressed out because of my boss and that says a lot because I'm a pretty laid back, stress free kind of Working Girl. So I typed up my letter of resignation on my work computer, handed it to him, and told him it was effective immediately. WOW! Yes, I quit my job with no backup plan, but it sure felt good.

Enter the recession. Finding another permanent job wasn't so easy, and looking back, I realize it was for the best that I didn't find a permanent job right away, because I likely would have ended up in another miserable situation. Instead, I began doing legal work on a contractual basis for the next year before I decided it was time for a change. I began applying for jobs in other cities outside of the traditional legal jobs and before long landed a job. So I packed up and moved to another city. YAY! A new start. Well, lo and behold, I hated that job as well, and a couple of months later I was back doing contract legal work. Eventually, I began doing contract work in yet another city for the company that is now my current employer. One year later and I'm still here. Can you believe it? (Ok, I know you're just meeting me, but I get a feeling that you've figured out my M.O.) Although my current career path doesn't offer the excitement of the courtroom, I do enjoy the legal work that I do and like the people I work with.

So that's how I ended up where I am now. It's been an interesting past few years, but I feel that career-wise, things are getting a lot smoother and heading in the right direction. I'm lucky to have gotten in with my company in its early stages, because I see a lot of growth in the future for the company and a lot of opportunity for me. I want to take you guys along for the ride in my Working Girl life and I hope that you all can relate to my stories or that you're at least entertained. As a long time Working Girl follower, I sincerely hope that you all get to know me (without really getting to know me, ha ha) and come to look forward to my posts in much the same way as I did and still do look forward to hearing from our original Working Girls.

I want to hear from all you Working Girls out there (and feel free to drop me a line at, especially those of you working in the legal field (is there anyone who needs to vent more than us?). And who knows where this Working Girl could end up next. Maybe in a city near you.


Katie said...

Many people I graduated law school with are in your boat-- multiple jobs in the few years since graduation because they're struggling to find their niche (or something they even want to get out of bed for). I was fortunate to find a small boutique firm that would allow me to follow (and even create at times) my own path and practice. But, I think most law schools could do a better job of giving law students a better picture of and experience with what the actual practice of law is like because, as we all discover, it's NOTHING like what you imagine in school.

Vivienne said...

I enjoyed reading your post! But you know what? Isn't it an environment of a company that makes an employee stay? The more pleasant a place is the less turnover? :)

Ms. Attitude said...

Welcome Lawyer Working Girl! I love this story. I have something similar and I hope that I am able to have an outcome similar to yours.

Lawyer Working Girl said...

Katie: I've always said that legal education needs to be restructured. One, they are admitted WAY too many people into law school and there aren't enough jobs for everyone. Two, we don't get a real feel for what the legal Working World is like. Also, I think there needs to be a REAL look at what to expect in law school and once you graduate BEFORE students even start applying to law school. Thanks for your comment! I look forward to hearing more for you.

Vivienne: Thanks so much! I agree that the environment makes a BIG difference, but for a lot of lawyers, I'm also finding that they just aren't happy with the substantive work they do. :-/

Erin said...

Welcome! Though I'm not a working girl, I can definitely relate. I was was an Ad/PR major in college, went to work as a test bank editor, hated the job. Quit to go back to my customer service roots. Ended up working for a company that went under during the recession and rediscovered my passion for writing. Now I am a professional (albeit struggling) freelance writer, researching options to become a wedding consultant. I love knowing I'm not alone in bouncing around to find what I love to do!

Lawyer Working Girl said...

Ms. Attitude: Thanks for the welcome! I'm happy to join the WG Crew. Best wishes to you in your career. Hopefully, things will start to turn around very soon.

Erin: Thanks! You sound like a Working Girl to me so feel free to chime in whenever. :-) I know all about finding that career that you're passionate about.

Anonymous said...

"Every doctor should have a business background."

Funny, I've never heard that!

Law school here has just been opened up - while entry into second year is still restricted, first-year is a free for all.


Lawyer Working Girl said...

eemusings: I think because he had gone into private practice with other doctors he had to learn a lot about business that he didn't learn in medical school. Lol. And law school these days seems to be the fall back plan for people when they don't know what they want to do after graduation, so I can imagine just how ridiculous it is.