AmyImpellizzeri95

Playing Craps with Senator McCain

Twenty years ago, I met Senator John McCain - not at a political rally, town hall meeting, or even a D.C. restaurant – but at a Craps table in Vegas. My husband and I were on a holiday from our demanding lives back home – no kids yet, but medical school for him, and a grueling litigation career for me, gave us reasons to escape every now and then. (My law firm salary also gave us a little disposable cash to squander at the casinos just for fun). We were walking through the table section of the then-newly-opened Bellagio Casino and we…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

An Investment - In Perspective

I speak to a lot of lawyers looking to transition from the practice of law, and recently I’ve realized that the most important message for those transitioning professionals is not that transition is indeed possible, but rather to manage the expectations surrounding the transition.  Here are some common responses I hear when I tell my story - now with the perspective of a decade away from the practice of law - nearly a decade since I last worked at Skadden Arps.  There’s got to be an easier way to make a living. I just need to find a job where…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Tackling the Hard Stuff First ...

When I have a pile of items cluttering my inbox, or a long list of errands littering my To Do list, I often find myself tempted to knock out a bunch of easy items and save the laborious, difficult, thankless items for last. Do you do this? DO NOT DO THIS. And if you are thinking about how you will structure your career over the next 5, 10, or more years, then you really should not do this. To review, my career has been a winding path of 13+ years of corporate litigation, followed by a year in pro bono…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Clearing Two Big Hurdles

When I visit Bar Conferences and Lawyers in Transition Committees around the country, I often hear the same two hurdles identified by potentially transitioning lawyers. How will I know who I am if I’m not a lawyer? (a/k/a the Identity Hurdle) How will I be able to afford NOT being a lawyer? (a/k/a the Financial Hurdle) I never dismiss either the Identity Hurdle or the Financial Hurdle. I acknowledge that both are real. But I’ve found that they are sort of tied up in each other and both are definitely surmountable. So, let’s be impolite. Let’s talk about money. Interestingly…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Lawyer Interrupted: Settlement Negotiations

That was yesterday. Today is a new day. I was in the middle of a lengthy telephonic settlement negotiation with my adversary, and he didn’t seem to understand why his position has weakened. New discovery had been produced. Inconsistent fact deposition testimony had been elicited. An expert witness who couldn’t possibly survive a Daubert motion was still on the pre-trial report. I was trying to explain all of this when he asked why old (expired) settlement offers were no longer on the table. When all my reasoned legal analysis seemed lost on him, I succumbed to the “that was then,…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Re-Defining Success (Or Maybe DEFINING it ... for the very first time)

From the beginning of time (or at least the first day of college!) I had exactly one professional goal in life – to be a lawyer. And not just any lawyer – a successful one. I wasn’t sure exactly what success would look like, but I knew this – I’d know it when I saw it. By 2009, I had been a corporate litigator for more than 13 years – nearly a decade of which had been spent at Skadden Arps. I had negotiated multi-million dollar settlements, and tried my first case before I was 30. I had won over…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

It’s February Bar Season. But It Doesn’t Matter If You Pass. No, Really.

Eighteen years ago this month, I was sitting for the Bar Exam in New York. I was already barred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and had been practicing law in New Jersey and Philadelphia for several years, but still, the New York Bar Exam was sitting like a roadblock to my future that February.  Or so I thought.  I had just taken a new position in the Mass Torts Department of Skadden Arps in New York City. One of the Hiring Partners called me in December 1999 to convey the offer to me while I was sitting in my Newark,…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Interview with Linda Mercurio, Esq., Founder of Transformative Impact

Linda Mercurio is the Founder of Transformative Impact, a company providing coaching, training, and consulting services to transitioning attorneys. From 2008-2016, Linda served as the Founding Executive Director of the American University Washington College of Law Lawyer Reentry Program - a program she designed and implemented. I've followed with admiration Linda's career path for some time now, and when I reached out recently to tell her so, she sent back a same time photo of her desk with my book, Lawyer Interrupted, atop her own "To Be Read" pile.  I love when life sends us those moments of impactful connection. You…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

The Best Way to Leave the Law When You’re Burned Out? Don’t.

In 2009, I took a one year sabbatical from my 13+ year law career. I turned out the lights in my 42d floor office at 4 Times Square and left.  Just a year. Nine years later, I often joke that I’m still on that one year sabbatical. The truth is, I’ve transitioned away from the active practice of law, and nine years has given me a fair perspective to understand how and why that transition has been so successful. In nine years, I’ve worked on the executive team of a pioneering start-up company, negotiated publishing contracts and a literary agency contract, launched…

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AmyImpellizzeri95

Number One Piece of Career Advice? Make Sure You’re Not Writing the Wrong Story

Very often when a group of writer friends and I get together – either in real life or in the virtual realm, we will share our works-in-progress. Premises, hooks, plot holes and characters are brought to life by their various creators. Most of us will give advice and feedback only when solicited. A few loyal friends will give advice even when it’s not. And occasionally, one writer will make a confession. I hate this process. It’s grueling. I’m miserable. One time, when I heard this familiar lament at a writers’ conference, made by a writer who was frustrated and even…

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