Life After Law: Could Staying at Your Firm be More Harmful Than Quitting?
Remember when Suits made the world of law seem glamorous and thrilling. While the show did portray the chaotic nature of the profession accurately, it didn’t get it quite right on the glamorous front.
Being a litigator sure does look and sound like the dream job, but behind the impressive title are incredibly long hours, constant pressure, mental health issues, and endless courtroom battles, not to mention the unreasonable demands of high-profile clients. These are the risk that comes with pursuing this passion.
Law certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. While we perceive litigators as tough-talking, no-nonsense personalities, they too are vulnerable to mental and physical health issues brought about by the profession.
As much as we hope that this is not the reality for them, it’s hard to sugar-coat the truth. While there are some who really enjoy their work arguing in court and defending their clients, for those who don’t, the option of quitting comes into play.
Being a litigator or a trial lawyer is pretty much like what we see on TV. There are many shows that depict an attorney being the superhero of the day, defending right from wrong and making sure that justice is served – thus, it looks like you’re doing the right thing.
When you were in law school, you must have enjoyed the nitty-gritty of the process during your moot court sessions, which was what made you choose this profession in the first place.
Some firms consider litigation as their bread and butter, which means being a litigator can easily get you a job. Because there is never a shortage of people wanting to file a lawsuit or seeking a defence against one, lawyers never get a rest day — meaning there will be a continuous flow of income.
Unglamorous Side of Litigation
If money is not an issue, then you can immediately leave litigation. This field is as messy as it could get, and if you can’t stand debating or arguing with other people in court, then it’s not for you.
As a good litigator, you must understand the case you’re handling on a deeper level and discovering loopholes along the way. There is always a ton of work and research to be done on every case, which will take up the majority of your time. This means that sleeplessness, anxiety, stress — and perhaps even depression — will never leave your side.
Steps on Quitting
If you’ve ultimately decided that law is not for you (after careful consideration, we hope), there are steps you can take to exit the field.
First, understand your circumstance and acknowledge that you are not suited to this practice area. You are not the first to be in denial about your satisfaction with your profession but if you really want to quit, admit that being a litigator is really taxing on your mental and physical wellbeing.
Believe that the change will happen for the better. The unknown is really scary but what’s scarier is keeping yourself in a stressful environment that has become toxic for your health.
While it is advised to remain optimistic about the future, make sure you are also being realistic, especially in setting your goals. Be precise about what steps you’re going to take after the resignation, along with a reasonable timeline of every target you want to achieve in the order of priority.
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to start implementing it and bring that much-needed change in your life
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