He Left: Was He Right? We watch our colleagues and people we know, change jobs, change firms, change practice areas, or even go to the extreme of changing careers and leaving law practice altogether. Every time I hear such a story about somebody I knew, I wonder about the reasons, and I wonder how it will work out for the person. While leaving a job or changing firms is understandable for many simple reasons, leaving a practice area is difficult, for it seems a great waste of time and acquired skill.
However, attorneys, especially litigators, change practice areas often enough. Sometimes, it creates a problem, and sometimes it provides a solution. Whatever be the consequences, when attorneys leave court practice, they do so with the hope of improving their lots. It seems sad, for these same people had joined court practice with so much zeal, and invariably, most of their law school days had passed in fantasizing about what they would do in the courtrooms. The reasons for litigators leaving their practice areas are common enough. Most change over to corporate law or to practice as in-house attorneys. The biggest reason for making such a decision is to gain work-life balance. Solo law practice or court practice in general has little room for personal time. That is, if you are serious about your practice, and if you have high work ethics. When young students join court practice, they are often motivated by the lure of independence and chance of being the master of their own time. Five years into law, and they realize that their clients are the masters of their time and the greater the number of clients, the greater the number of masters. A good number of litigators switch over to other areas of legal practice in search of greater financial security and the chance of making quick money and retire early. Some attorneys do
find greater benefits in other practice areas, but the rate of success appears small. However, instances of successful changes in practice area exist and keep on growing every day. Many litigators switch over to corporate law because they are unable to take the stress of constant conflict and adversarial environment. To an extent, many lawyers create situations by themselves. While the overtly aggressive personality is idolized throughout childhood, teenage, and student life, such personality types rarely succeed in court practice. In fact, people who lack social graces and ignore the feelings of their colleagues find the pressure building quickly upon them. The law court premises foster a community, a community which is at once friendly and receptive to those who play by the rules, and harsh in the judgment of those who do not. Most successful litigators are graceful and cordial in social interaction, and are learned people who write well, strategize excellently, and find their purpose in the life of a litigator. Good litigators know how to overlook the egos of others and instead relate to their emotions. People, who do not possess these qualities, do much better in other fields than in the life of a litigator. Mostly though, the decision to make a change works out better for the person who felt it necessary to make a move, if all things are holistically summed up.
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Published on Nov 27, 2012
Published on Nov 27, 2012
The reasons for litigators leaving their practice areas are common enough. Most change over to corporate law or to practice as in-house atto...