By Anna Johansson • January 19, 2018•Careers
Women working in law are often perceived as trying to have it all – a serious career, a relationship, children – but ultimately, this narrative reflects a broader concern about work-life balance and passion.
In law, though, even passion doesn’t ensure that you won’t burn out. The intensity of the job makes it impossible to predict. What passion does allow for is a sense of satisfaction, even when you’re overworked.
So what if your passion isn’t traditional legal work, defending cases in court and working your way up in a firm? That’s okay, and your education and research can help you find law-adjacent fields that are more fulfilling.
Ultimately, what we all want from a job is intellectual stimulation, work-life balance, and compensation, and there are many other ways to achieve those ends with a law degree.
For The Social Butterfly
Certain characteristics are more common among successful lawyers than among individuals in other professions, and one of those traits is being extroverted and sociable. Combine that need for interaction and the ability to upsell and you’ve got the makings of a great real estate broker.
Compared to the standards involved in becoming a lawyer, qualifying to become a real estate broker is fairly simple and inexpensive, but it also demands an understanding of contractual issues, knowing how to ask the right questions to obtain the best outcome for your client, and fierce competitiveness.
Though the hours may be unusual at times, they’re often quite flexible and not nearly as intense as those lawyers typically keep. Real estate brokerage is actually ideal work if you’re juggling childcare or other family responsibilities since you can set your own hours.
For The Process-Oriented
While there are many different types of law, there are essentially two different types of lawyers: those who enjoy the courtroom drama and those who enjoy the research, the background work that goes into outlining a case. If you’re in the latter category, you may be well-suited to corporate work consulting on patents, working as a compliance specialist, or addressing intellectual property issues. These jobs typically require legal expertise, but they are dramatically different from arguing court cases.
Compliance specialists essentially ensure that companies are following the rules of the industry. For example, Dignity Bio-Labs compliance team ensures product safety by crosschecking manufacturing processes, reviewing suppliers, and consulting with regulatory bodies. At investment firms like AndCo Consulting, on the other hand, compliance officers ensure all regulatory filings are complete, draft policies, and deliver trainings. Your legal background, though, provides the foundation for understanding all of those regulations and standards.
Burnout Isn’t Inevitable
Despite what some suggest, burnout isn’t an inevitable part of being a lawyer – or the outcome of legal education. So whether you start at a law firm and transition away or opt to leave Big Law behind from the start, the perfect job for you is out there.
Burnout isn’t just being overworked, it’s being alienated by the work you do. Other roles might wear you out, but if they also fulfill you on an intellectual level (and pay well enough), then that’s all you really need.