Liz Brown is an Assistant Professor of Business Law at Bentley University and a frequent speaker and writer on alternative careers for lawyers. On the BiblioBlog, she shares her inspiration for Life After Law — released today! Congratulations, Liz!
What inspired you to write Life After Law?
When I was a partner in private practice, I had no idea how to get out of law without completely sacrificing my sense of self. I knew some people left law, but there is still a stigma among some lawyers about considering other options. I wrote Life After Law both to give other lawyers and law students a realistic sense of what other rewarding careers they can pursue, by profiling the transitions of thirty former lawyers into a wide variety of other fields. I also wanted to provide useful transition advice and ideas that are specifically tailored for lawyers, based on these ex-lawyers’ experiences and my own. I love what I do now, teaching business students, and I want to help other people find joy in their work. Many feel that their JD might disqualify them from that kind of happiness, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
What was your favorite part of the writing and publishing process?
Interviewing the former lawyers I profile in the book was by far my favorite part of the process. These are some of the most creative and interesting people I’ve ever met, and I chose their stories because I thought my readers would find them particularly inspiring. I had known the bare details of certain stories, like Clare Dalton’s transition from academia to acupuncture, but many others – like Jen Atkins’ move from law to pediatric nursing, or Adam Liptak’s shift from NYTimes’ counsel to its Supreme Court correspondent, or Warren Brown’s creation of the CakeLove cupcake empire, were new to me.
Who do you hope reads your book? What do you want them to get from it?
I hope that every lawyer who isn’t happy practicing law, and every law student who isn’t sure law practice is right for them, will read this book. The process of leaving the law is more difficult than I think a lot of non-lawyers realize, for a variety of reasons (and Life After Law discusses a lot of them). I hope that these lawyers and law students will learn that the transition process can and should be broken down into the stages I describe. Creating and following a thoughtful, carefully structured transition plan can lead to much greater satisfaction for the rest of their working lives. Everyone owes it to himself or herself to find work they love, and I want my readers to learn exactly how to go about doing that. Although lawyers can be fairly risk-averse, the potential payoff is enormous. As I often say, I’ve never met anyone who regretted leaving the law, but there are better and worse ways to go about it. I hope to show my readers the best way.
What are you reading right now?
I am on a constant quest to keep up with my New Yorker subscription, beyond just the cartoons. It’s a welcome struggle.