Hear How the Leave Law Behind Coaching Program Helped Them
“I’ve truly found my unique genius and I owe a huge amount of my new-found success and happiness to Casey Berman.”
First and foremost, regardless of his talents as a motivator, speaker, writer, businessman and yes … attorney, Casey is an amazing human being. He is the type of person I feel lucky to have met regardless of circumstances and I treasure his friendship. All of the qualities that make him a great mentor also make him a great friend — enthusiasm, empathy, intelligence, sense of humor and introspectiveness are just a few.
As a mentor, Casey has been invaluable. Without him I would not have found the boldness and persistence to do all of the things ultimately required for me to transition out of my litigation career. Casey stayed relentlessly positive while giving me his time and insight well after my work with him during the inaugural Leave Law Behind course had finished — 3 years in fact.
After the course, I did what alcoholics might refer to as “falling off the wagon.” I lost my resolve and did what got me into this situation in the first place — I did the “safe” thing and took another litigation job. Casey stuck with me and was there to help me hop back on the wagon when, after almost two years of dissatisfaction in my second litigation stint, I was truly ready to Leave the Law and never look back.
Ten months later, after numerous informational interviews, networking events, coffees, lunches, and a double-digit number of rejections, I landed a job at a consulting firm in San Francisco specializing in sales and marketing technologies.
That was four years and two jobs ago. I’m now a Director of Sales Operations specializing in systems architecture at the San Francisco based company Lookout. We build software that protects mobile devices from malware and hackers. I love every minute of my new career, which truly leverages the talents that I thought would make me successful and satisfied as an attorney — problem solving, strategy, networking, and team leadership among others.
Since changing careers, I’ve yet to fail what I call “The Sunday Night Test,” (i.e. how do you feel at 9:00 pm Sunday?). Dread? Fear? Nausea? When I was an attorney — all of those; every single Sunday night. Now? None of those. Ever.
While I occasionally don’t feel like going to work on Monday, it is always with a sense of calm and satisfaction in the knowledge that I have to wake up Monday morning and go to a job I love, even if sometimes I’d rather sitting on the couch with my wife and dogs watching Game of Thrones.
As Casey would say, I’ve truly found my unique genius and I owe a huge amount of my new-found success and happiness to him.
“I knew within the first month that law school, and probably the practice of the law, was not for me.”
I was never meant to be an attorney, my intellect was better suited for telling people which horrible movies they ought to avoid, not how to navigate federal civil procedures.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I went to law school. I assume that I am not a rare case, I went to law school because I could not think of anything else to do and what the hell does anyone do with a Literature Degree? Become a barista that silently judges the reading selections of my patrons? Constantly remind people that Frankenstein was the doctor and that the monster was not called Frankenstein?
Someone suggested I attend law school and I decided to give it a go. I liked the idea of potentially making decent money, and I loved the way people responded to the news that I would be attending law school; people were finally validating my intellect.
I knew within the first month that law school, and probably the practice of the law, was not for me. The subject matter was stuffy, I was struggling to connect with my classmates, and I was the only student being lectured not to attend hearings in jeans and a t-shirt. For some reason I convinced myself that I needed to persevere, to get through this and give the practice of law a change; so I just kept making deals with myself along the way. If I pass my classes then I’ll take the bar. If I pass the bar then I’ll just see what this lawyer thing is about.
In a blink I found myself floating around the fifth year of my own law practice. In my practice I found myself doing a little bit of everything, since I did not really like any one aspect of it. The money was ok, not great since it was my own practice, and the work was not terrible; but what sort of masochist carries on when the best thing they can say about their work is that it’s not terrible? I felt stuck and fantasized constantly about leaving the law; even just to be a barista that held the patrons in contempt.
I had no idea where to go and when I told people whom I trusted that I wanted to quit they had no idea how I’d do it or why I’d want to. To my friends and family, you don’t devote yourself to the time and debt of law school to pursue something you could have done without either. I understood and let the pressure keep me in the law for five boring years. By the end I was desperate to leave, and during one of my many google searches of “I hate being a lawyer” or “how to quit being a lawyer” I came across Leave Law Behind and I figured I’d give it a shot.
Leave Law Behind did not change me, it helped me better understand what makes me successful in the work world. My legal background was not something I just had to chalk up to poor judgment or ego, instead the program helped me understand how I could better shape my experience and my natural talents in pursuit of new and non-law opportunities.
First off, I always knew being a lawyer wasn’t for me. But I never made any change to help my life … until I began the Leave Law Behind Program. Casey and LLB helped me be honest with myself and finally understand how being a lawyer wasn’t a fit for me.
The Program then gave me the courage, the map and the tools to overcome the daunting task of taking those first steps to find a “non-law”, alternative career.
The Program gave me the tools necessary to get out of the law, and to do so in a way in which I could leverage my past to attain my new career. The Leave Law Behind Program was very well organized and conceived. By following the Modules step by step, I was able to quickly learn and build on Casey’s leave the law concepts with minimal questions or frustration. It taught me what I was looking to learn, was well organized, and well paced. And whenever I had questions, I was able to easily get an answer from Casey directly! It is a real bonus to have access to such a highly experienced professional in this field.
It helped me realize that my background was not specific to the law or even one aspect of the law but was general and exciting enough that non-law employers would be interested in my candidacy. And they were interested! I had several interviews for roles I assumed I had no business being considered for; roles that required 5-10 years’ experience in fields and professions I had never even been near. But I felt confident about who I was and they took me seriously. Eventually I landed a non-law job that I’m excited about: I left my solo law practice and now I’m the Director of Trusts, Estates and Stewardship at University of California, Santa Cruz and am loving my life. Thank you Leave Law Behind!
If I ever hit a point that I’m not excited about what I’m doing, then I have the tools and the support of Leave Law Behind to pursue change.
“I'm making more money in this role than in my average years, I've matched my highest years' earnings!”
I am a former criminal defense attorney who last year was hired as the in-house counsel for a multi-company pharmacy firm. I know that many think that transitioning from a law firm to in-house counsel is not actually "leaving the law," but I am so glad that I took this route. It now allows me to move into increasingly more "non-law" roles, which are fantastic and right in my wheelhouse.
I have a great company that is using me as in-house counsel for contracts, compliance, HR, operations, etc, but is also training me by including me in the leadership team, operations team and are soon going to begin training as a project manager. Project manager aligns perfectly with my skills and strengths (what Leave Law Behind calls your "Unique Genius"), and my COO recognized it and suggested it. I am treated as much like a second COO as I am the attorney. The dual role is incredible!
And I'm making more money in this role than in my average years, I've matched my highest years' earnings!
Why I left the law
I did not hate being an attorney. I was just done with the litigation and criminal defense. I was not too fond of the constant backbiting, positioning, and adversarial roles everyone took in the litigation practice.
When I joined LLB, I was 57 years old and had been practicing law for 20. I was in solo practice and did primarily criminal defense in a rural southern Indiana town. None of that made me hopeful that I would be able to find a job that paid what I wanted. But I knew the law was no longer for me. I would get ill on Sunday's just thinking about having to go back to the office on Monday morning. So out of desperation, I tried LLB.
How I Found Leave Law Behind
I have shared my story to help give hope and motivation to anyone who is looking to leave the law. I was depressed and lost and thought there was no hope for me to leave the law, given my age, experience, and being a small-town attorney.
Then Leave Law Behind appeared in a tweet across my feed. I can't even tell you why I bothered following the link, desperation maybe, and as Adam can tell you from our initial telephone conference, I was really on the fence due to my fears. Man, am I glad I watched the LLB video, and happy Adam reached out personally in response to an email. Thank you so much for that, Adam!
I'm not religious, but I think everything in the universe has a purpose, and things happen for a reason. I know that if I had not attended the LLB training sessions or worked the program, I would never have applied for this position.
How Leave Law Behind Helped Me
I worked through the program, watched the live feeds, and soaked up as much information as possible. I also used their resume bank and sample cover letters to help me develop mine. I would not have been able to prepare my resume, cover letter, or kill the interviews without the training I received from LLB. I was able to confidently convey my years of experience in a way that showed my value to the firm and not just another litigator.
I used many of the phrases and language that I heard from Casey's and Adam's training along with those from the folks I watched on the Wednesday night monthly training. Every question they asked, the answers were just there from the live coaching/trainings. Your membership fee was the best money I ever spent. If I remember correctly, I think I joined LLB around either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and left the law around six months later. Thank you all so much.
Segueing Out of the Law as In-House Counsel
I decided that I wanted to seek an in-house counsel position because I had no idea how the corporate world worked, but I knew the law. About six months or so of working through the LLB program, I landed my current position as in-house counsel for a pharmacy and PBM company. I didn't know anything about health law, but they liked my experience and leadership. I have been with them for around nine months now, and I have just finished the first round of project manager training that they are sending me to in order to expand my responsibilities outside of just legal matters.
It has not come without its challenges and a steep learning curve, but that is what I expected and was looking for. I am the oldest guy next to the CEO. I am not the best with technology, but all my coworkers are great and are showing me what I need to know. Plus, there are plenty of online self-paced classes to teach me what I need to know. Working for someone besides myself was a change as well, but it was a trade-off to get out of the practice.
What I get to do now that I’ve left the law
And look at all of the fears and blockers I had to overcome
As a former U.S. Marine, I am admittedly not very "touchy-feely," so I wasn't sure how the inner work from Leave Law Behind would work for me.
I go to work now and love it! I have my bad days and stressful days, but nothing like what I had in private practice. My age and years of experience are appreciated, and there are plenty of resources to learn the technology that I don't know. It was an excellent move for me. I am on a whole new path now. I look forward to going to work, and I look forward to my future.
That is my story. If you have any questions about how I used LLB or anything, feel free to ask. Age equals experience, and that is a unique thing that people our age bring to the table that the young people can't just get. I learn from them every day, and since not a day goes by that I don't have one of them in my office, or online now, asking me things, I am confident that they appreciate me as well.
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