The Gen Why Lawyer: The “When” of It All

I have a law school friend whom I run into every few years. Every time we see each other, we catch up on our lives. About 3 years ago, this friend had expressed to me her desire for wanting to open her own law practice.  She was fed up with her employer, disliked her firm, and wanted to hang up her shingle. I remember having a lengthy conversation with her about my experience and offering my advice. At the time, I could sense that she felt uncomfortable leaving her steady position with her firm and, since she was a young lawyer, she didn’t think she had the necessary experience.

About a year ago, I caught up with her again and we got to talking.  At that point, she had been an associate at her firm for a few years and was still holding on tightly to her dream of wanting to open her practice. When we spoke that time, she, again, expressed her lack of confidence and promised that with just a little bit more experience under her belt, she would strike out on her own. I remained optimistic and supportive.

When I ran into her a few nights ago, we talked about her job with her firm and she, of course, proceeded to complain about the fact that she was unhappy and wanted to go solo. Not wanting to sound too pessimistic, as soon as the words “In a few years, when I have a little bit more experience….” rolled off her tongue, I met her with “In two years, you’re still going to say you’re not ready.”

She fell silent.

All she could say was, “You’re right.”  

Now, I realize that you can’t push someone into making such a big decision when they don’t feel “ready” but that’s not what I was trying to do. I could sense that she had been ready for years; she was just waiting to make that leap.

Many solo practitioners will tell you that they wished they had done it sooner. They wish they hadn’t dragged their feet, made excuses, or scared themselves out of pursuing exactly what they wanted.

The seemingly-three-year-conversation with my friend made me realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to open your own practice, launch your own business, ask for a promotion, start your blog, switch practice areas, or travel the world; the “what” of the situation is irrelevant. It’s the “when” that matters most.


Connect with me on Twitter @nicoleabboud and let me know if you ever decided to make "when" right now.

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