I recently read stories of two lawyers turning from legal careers to chocolate making. Steve Wallace was written about in Legal Blog Watch and in JD Bliss. He had some practical, perceptive advice for some lawyers not sure if they wanted to leave the legal profession.
Wallace was asked by J D Bliss:
Based on your success at establishing a new company and business concept, what advice would you give to attorneys who would like to become entrepreneurs but are reluctant to consider such a major change?
Wallace's words of advice:
What I’d suggest to someone who isn’t 100% sure about pushing ahead to something new and giving up what they have, is to look for ways to expand the scope of what you’re doing now. The lawyers I’ve always admired most are the generalists – the older partners whose clients love them because they are always there and are able to tackle anything. Young lawyers are trained to be specialists, and I think that can be inherently unsatisfying. Try recapturing a little of the generalist spirit, perhaps through pro bono work. The satisfaction that I get in everything from working in a warehouse to negotiating a trade agreement is a reflection of that generalist spirit. I think it can bring greater satisfaction to more lawyers if they pursue it.
When I read those words, I suspected that Steve Wallace might be a RSer. I e-mailed him to ask and he confirmed my suspicion. Steve feels fortunate because his work with his chocolate company uses so many of his talents and interests. The article I am writing for The Complete Lawyer features Renaissance Souls remaining happily in the legal profession and includes tips from them on how the RSer stays satisfied and engaged in the practice of law.
I recall someone wise once telling me that because the word "attorney" means a person "appointed to represent another person's interest," one could be an attorney at other things besides law. Perhaps a physician could be an attorney at health and a priest could be an attorney at soul? May I appoint Wallace and Schneider as my attorneys at chocolate?
To market, to market, to buy a fat [blog];
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog. Mother Goose (mostly)
Note (added October 22, 2006, 9 PM Mountain): Here are a couple of articles about a Stanford Law School grad doing something other than practicing law. From "Choreographer Has Line On Lively Steps" in SFGate.com:
During the day, Palo Alto resident Hedy McAdams negotiates domestic crises in her job as a family law mediator.
But at night, she guides enthusiastic dancers through the steps of country line dances . . . .
"I'm the only Stanford Law School graduate that I know of who is teaching country western dancing,'' she says.
A recent article from Palo Alto Online "Rhapsody in boots: Local lawyer brings elegance to country line dancing" tells more of McAdams's story, including her promoting and researching line dancing as a way to keep the aging brain active.