On Thursday, June 24, Melissa Sachs and I moderated the inaugural #LawJobChat. The topic was leaving BigLaw, and we had four fabulous guest co-hosts tweet about their experiences and answer questions. The guest co-hosts included:
- Don Cruse (@doncruse) - Texas appellate lawyer, publisher of @scotxblog, and creator of @docketdb. Don worked as a litigator at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz before returning to Texas to eventually open his own firm.
- Todd Smith (@dtoddsmith) – Texas appellate lawyer and publisher of the Texas Appellate Law Blog. Todd started his own practice in 2006 after spending nearly a decade with Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., where he was a member of the appellate and litigation groups
- Kianga Ellis (@KiangaEllis) – Art Enthusiast and founder of Avail Art, L.L.C., an incubator for innovative projects that connect people to the arts through social media and new technologies. She previously practiced at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and in-house at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.
- Renee Fishman (@reneefishman) – NYC Real Estate Broker, Vice President – Halstead Property, LLC. Renee practiced law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges as well as in-house before entering the real estate field.
Melissa and I asked the guests the following questions:
- Q1: At what point in your career did you realize you wanted to leave BigLaw to do something else? What factors motivated you?
- Q2: Did you know what you wanted to do when you left BigLaw?
- Q3: Any advice for BigLaw attorneys who want to leave but aren’t sure what they want to do next?
- Q4: Did you begin saving money before leaving BigLaw? How far in advance?
- Q5: What BigLaw opportunities should current BigLaw associates take advantage of while in BigLaw? Anything you took for granted while there?
- Q6: Share a networking tip, resource, or organization that has helped you in your entrepreneurial endeavor.
- Final Q: Would you ever return to BigLaw? Any other advice you haven’t shared but wanted to share?
You can read the transcript of the chat here (it contains most of the conversation though we noticed that some tweets tagged with #lawjobchat are missing from the transcript). Some key points include:
- Save. If you are practicing in BigLaw, start saving money now–even if you aren’t currently planning to leave.
- Wait. Do not leave BigLaw until you know where you want to go. Don’t leave just for the sake of leaving.
- Plan. If you want to leave BigLaw, you need a plan. Talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Establish a time-line.
- Volunteer. If you want to leave the practice of law completely, you need some non-legal experience on your resume. Volunteer work is one of the best ways to get non-legal experience. Serve on committees, plan events.
- Learn. Learn how to read a financial statement before you leave BigLaw.
- Understand. Life after BigLaw is not easier. You will likely work harder and longer hours–the difference is that you are doing something you love and control.
Please join us for our next chat on Thursday, July 29 at 9pm EDT/8pm CDT. Follow @LawJobChat for more details.