Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Lawyers in Transition: Putting Your Life Wisdom to Work

You’ve spent years building your law career. You’ve invested time, sweat and tears in it.  Not to mention the grind of law school, the hours of self-study to keep your skills sharp, and the many life lessons learned in the process.

Now comes the time to put that wealth of wisdom to work in a new way.

When transitioning out of the law, you can view the future through the lens of what will be lost, or the lens of what will be gained.

To be gained are new opportunities and more time to pursue them. A chance to blend job and leisure. A chance to explore new places, meet new people, and share your talents in new ways.

Personal Considerations

Now is a time to rediscover home and hobbies, or scout out new locations in which to reside or relax. Now is more time for family and friends. A respite from the noise and stress of law life, an opening for silence and an easier pace, an occasion to investigate your inner self and spiritual side.

You can engage more deeply in your community and civic life. You can put your legal experience to use at your church. You can volunteer to coach youth sports.

Maybe you want to travel. Or plant a garden, adopt a pet, learn to paint or take up salsa dancing.

Develop a “psychological portfolio,” that includes your self-identity, significant relationships, sources of pleasure and sense of purpose.

Professional Considerations

Think of how you can pass on your experiences to the next generation. Become a mentor to youth in the community, teach at a law school or community college, or volunteer as a poll worker.

If you want to maintain ties with the legal profession, you can handle cases pro bono or become of counsel to a firm. Or you may choose to spend a few days each week at your former firm, not to take on cases but simply be available as a resource, especially for young attorneys.

Five Practice Tips for Putting Your Life Wisdom to Work

  1. Make a mission statement. Health writer Katherine Lee suggests writing down “a list of things you want to do and things you regret not doing and then identify ways you can achieve those goals.”
  2. Volunteer your time and talents. Studies show that volunteering increases feelings of purpose and meaning in life – and can even reduce the odds of having a stroke or heart attack.
  3. Stay interested in life. You now have the time and opportunity to stay on top of new happenings in the arts, media, sports, science, politics, or wherever your interests lie.
  4. Join social groups and make new friends. Research has proven that strong personal relationships reduce stress and help ward off the mental and physical effects of aging.
  5. Leave a personal, professional or financial legacy. We only get one shot. Make yours count.

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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