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Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the J.D. You Have (English Edition) Format Kindle
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|Format Kindle, 24 septembre 2013||
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http://www.amazon.com/review/R3CSGGOX9OUDZL/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1572486708&nodeID=283155&store=books), this book also fails to deliver any realistic, career alternatives outside of the law.
The first two parts, which together comprise some 66 pages--a little more than one fourth of the overall text--,discuss undesirable traits of the profession and general advice on imagining what else one would like to. A full chapter of the first part devotes twelve pages to problems unique to women, a useless chapter to about one half of the readership.
The second part discusses tips such as reformatting one's resume in language suited outside the law profession, the nature of the informational review, among other topics. Some of the tips demonstrate just how fickle employers are. Among these tips are recommendations to craft each and every resume and cover letter to use verbatim phrases from any classified ads, so that resume screening software does not screen out your application. Another quite frustrating tip was the admonishment against actually asking for a job or help finding a job during any so-called informational interview. The lasting impression is that such a process of so much glad-handing is a fruitless exercise in futility. One can surely understand how broaching such requests can be awkward. The problem is the author never explains how such glad-handing ever goes beyond mere informational interviews to a process reasonably calculated to actually fulfill the objective of all this: actually getting a job.
The third part however, which consists of almost three fourths of the volume's 199 pages, is by far the most disappointing. Entitled "The Role Models: Eight Basic Paths to Career Happiness for Former Lawyers," it sets forth each "path" at its most basic, intrinsic essence, with case-studies on real -life people who have made the transition. The paths are: The Writers; The Enterpeneurs The Artisans The Analysts; The Professors; The Consultants; The Advocates; The Healers; The Independents.
The general trend is that the career paths are either high risk reward (such as starting a blog like Above the Law) which may or may not require a legal background, or starting a franchise of Canadian spas here in the States, or undertaking other high-risk ventures that rely heavily on having big law experience or other such inside connections. Indeed, the vast majority of case studies hail not just from Top 14 schools, but disproportionately from the very top schools like Yale, Harvard and Stanford.
This over reliance on such backgrounds is made all the more damming when schools like UVa , for example, have about a third of third years without jobs. One notable "case study" involved a former big law associate who decided to undertake the seemingly dubious enterprise of starting a chocolate touring company in a major American city, which has since branched out to other cities. Of particular note is that a sizeable portion of her clientele seemed to consist of cushy summer associate tours on the dime of big law firms that she has coozed with. Without that big law firm connection, it beggars belief that enough people would pay for such services of a "chocolate tour" to an extent sufficient for such a business model to work. All too often, it is about who you know, and if one misses the big law train first semester second year, it is a tough road to hoe all the way around.
Similarly, at least one chapter, "The Professors," was completely useless to all but the most fortunate.
After reading this book, I was once again left wanting for any realistic, pragmatic career change. The general feel from this book and its far more ridiculous predecessor, Unhappy Lawyer, is that one can do whatever one desires, but with a law degree. One can be an actor (a real example from Unhappy Lawyer), or for that matter a rock star, but with a law degree. Pay no heed to the astronomically high failure rate of such ventures.
Ultimately, books like these seem to suggest that there is no hope for those stuck with a law degree, and either have no job, or do not have a job commensurate with the sacrifice made in one's youth in college and law school.. Even those cited with big law credentials are left to embark on highly dubious ventures, such as the "chocolate tour" gimmick. Perhaps the problem lies with greater American society as a whole, which has created a perfect storm by on one hand telling everyone and his crackhead cousin to go to college, while at the same time fostering a retail economy that simply has little need for such higher education and that indeed is quickly destroying the middle class altogether. Consequently, while this volume pays lip service to some very general, basic pointers, it simply offers no real substantive insight on how one gets out of this mess with a realistic, pragmatic career alternative not involving starting one's own business or other such high risk ventures. Such failure of the author is signified by a mere two-star rating, a rather generous two stars at that.
It wasn't really relevant to my circumstances.
Even so, I kept reading, and was very impressed with how Liz Brown has drawn a roadmap for the "other lawyers." She opens the book with observations about why the lawyers in the book's intended audience may "feel trapped by their work rather than energized by it," then delves into practical advice about how to examine and asssess those feelings, and ultimately about how to act on them. There is also a chapter devoted particularly to women lawyers. The book's final nine chapters -- about two-thirds of the book -- are devoted to 30 case studies of lawyers who have successfully transitioned to other careers using their legal background as a starting point. The book helpfully groups these career alternatives into categories: writer, entrepreneur, artisan, analyst, professor, consultant, advocate, healer, independent.
I came away from the book no less happy with my day job (indeed, feeling fortunate that I enjoy it as much as I do), but happily mindful that there are other options available, and that the doors to those other options aren't difficult to open.
Re this book not being a handbook to transition - it's does not hold your hand and tell you how to rewrite your resume or contact recruiters once you have figured out the direction you want to take. There are good books on that topic. It's good for those who are unsure of the next step to begin with.
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