Pivoting to Non-law Jobs (2 Ideas You Can Use Today)

An old law school classmate works at her dream job now. She left her old soul-sucking job at a law firm a few years ago.

She was able to leave the law to do work she genuinely enjoys. She doesn’t even mind if she has to stay up until midnight from time to time.

Enjoying your work is the best. It’s a lot more sustainable than being insecure about your job and money constantly. Sustainability and consistency in enjoying the day-to-day are important.

After talking to her the other day, I became more optimistic about my career path. Her story meant I could also do the same thing. I didn’t have to stay stuck and drained being an attorney forever. There are (presumably) people willing to hire me outside of law firms.

If you feel like your life is in a recession right now, realize that all recessions end. You probably have preexisting skills and interests that you’ve collected and honed over your life.

Here are two things (and game plans you can use starting today) that keep me optimistic about my future:

1. Keep a list of backup ideas for income streams

For years, I have kept and built a list of over 30 ideas I could pursue should my current job (whatever it is at the time) does not go well or I ragequit for some reason and I don’t want to or can’t find another law job. These are a few for illustrative purposes:

  • Freelancing on Upwork
  • Grow a YouTube channel in a niche
  • Build affiliate websites
  • Sell ecommerce items (e.g., print-on-demand mugs)
  • Consulting
  • Writing and self-publishing books
  • Reach out to prior contacts from networking over the years

Continue to add to the list as you run into ideas. Think about what skills you have that you ideally don’t have to start from scratch to learn.

This, along with plenty of temporary (or permanent) work available in the gig economy nowadays (Uber, DoorDash, etc.), should give you ways to stay afloat.

2. Look into alternative careers

You can have a dream career working for a company whose mission, vision, or type of work aligns with yours.

I recently ran into this list of “career-launching companies” in the tech space.

You don’t need a deep tech background to get in here. Among the products and services offered by these companies are:

  • Technology to make the process of financing a home more efficient
  • White-label consumer lending ecosystem
  • Online checkout experience platform

Of course you also have companies that deal with things like “collaborative database software” and “AI platform for finance teams.” These might also be options for a tech-tangent person (e.g., a patent attorney).

The list of companies in the link above is literally a list of places you can look into networking with. For example, you can:

  • Identify companies that are interesting to you and possibly appropriate for your existing skills
  • Reach out to people on LinkedIn who work in these places
  • Find out about the company and what’s needed to work there
  • Evaluate whether you have (or can learn) the necessary skills
  • Figure out how to pitch yourself properly to the companies that you’re still a match for

You don’t need to work at a FAANG to be well compensated.

I defer to Casey Berman’s approach at Leave Law Behind to find your way into a new career using your “unique genius.”

This is my backup-backup plan at least.

Some people are worried about being stuck in the law and not being able to escape. Or perhaps they have golden handcuffs or an identity tied to the law (like me). I also have too much pride to quit seeing how far I can go in a legal career (even though I’ve had one toe out the door since I was a 2L and found out about Leave Law Behind), and I have too many backups to consider to go for this right away.

But if you want to leave, these are game plans that can get you started. Let me know how it goes.







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