People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:09 am

I have a feeling this will be my trajectory as well, and I would love to hear from people who left the profession entirely after working in biglaw for a few years. What are you doing now? Any regrets?

PwnLaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby PwnLaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:52 am

I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.

User avatar
Mad Hatter

Silver
Posts: 664
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:38 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Mad Hatter » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:12 am

PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.

Would love to hear more about this. Sounds awesome.

gaddockteeg

Bronze
Posts: 373
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:33 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby gaddockteeg » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:09 am

PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.


Just wondering, why do you still post on this forum if youre not in law anymore? Habit?

mickey_mouse

Bronze
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:12 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby mickey_mouse » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:58 am

Did you already have experience as a designer/ programmer? Would love to get into startups/ tech long term somehow.

sawyercb

New
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:46 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby sawyercb » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:13 pm

PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.


Coolest job ever. Did you start the company? Just wondering.

1styearlateral

Silver
Posts: 834
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:23 pm

Yeah, we need more answers.

PwnLaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby PwnLaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:33 pm

Mad Hatter wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.

Would love to hear more about this. Sounds awesome.


In my post history I've done a bunch of question answer threads. They go back like 5 years or something and document my time in law all the way through just before founding the company I run now. I'm happy to answer questions, but just wanted to point folks to the prior threads so they can read them if interested. It's been a fun, flaming trainwreck of a career so far. :D

PwnLaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby PwnLaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:38 pm

gaddockteeg wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.


Just wondering, why do you still post on this forum if youre not in law anymore? Habit?


In part habit (I came here all the time back when I was studying for the LSAT), in part because I have had a lot of very unhappy friends that felt trapped in law. Everyone is so focused on being a lawyer that they never really take the time to ask whether sticking with it is the right decision once they're practicing. I try to come back every 6 to 12 months to check in and hopefully provide a helpful perspective. I've probably met about a dozen TLSers in real life and some have become friends.

For the record, I actually didn't hate law, I just found I enjoyed business more and I had a risk profile (a willingness to live off of cheese) to try and make some...aggressive plays. I don't think that path is for most people, but I do think there are ways to leave the profession without leaving behind your hope for a bright future.

PwnLaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby PwnLaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:44 pm

mickey_mouse wrote:Did you already have experience as a designer/ programmer? Would love to get into startups/ tech long term somehow.


No prior experience. I was liberal arts degree => T14 => Entertainment Biglaw => Game Startup 1 as BizDev => Game Startup 1 as Game Designer => Game Startup 1 as Head of Product => Game Startup 1 CEO => Sold Game Startup 1 to Big Game Company => Founded Game Startup 2 & raised money.

I acknowledge that this career path is highly unlikely, but I generally think lawyers have the mental strength to do a lot of things they wouldn't anticipate. Law was surprisingly good training for being a game designer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:47 pm

sawyercb wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.


Coolest job ever. Did you start the company? Just wondering.


Yes. I raised capital from a few well regarded VCs. We're up to about 15 people now. I had to hire someone to shovel money directly into the furnace to make sure we burned through it fast enough. :roll:

Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:33 pm

So did you have technical skills (programming/coding), design skills, or biz skills? Just wondering what skills one can pick up in law school and beyond to even think about trying to pursue a path like this.

sawyercb

New
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:46 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby sawyercb » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sawyercb wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:I left biglaw after 3 years. Went into video game startups. Eventually became a game designer. Now I run a venture backed startup. 0 regrets.


Coolest job ever. Did you start the company? Just wondering.


Yes. I raised capital from a few well regarded VCs. We're up to about 15 people now. I had to hire someone to shovel money directly into the furnace to make sure we burned through it fast enough. :roll:


Good for you. You're living the dream. 8) I would love to do something like that someday (not video games, just starting a company in general).

PwnLaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby PwnLaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So did you have technical skills (programming/coding), design skills, or biz skills? Just wondering what skills one can pick up in law school and beyond to even think about trying to pursue a path like this.


I came in with business and legal skills. I had designed pen/paper games (think D&D variants) as a hobby but I never considered it as a serious career. I view legal contracts as the structuring of incentives between parties (typically related to consequences for failure to perform). I view game design as the structuring of incentives for players (typically with variable consequences based on performance). They rhyme with each other in terms of thought process and require similar attention to detail.

I'm going to disappear for the rest of the day. I'll check if there are any questions tonight and then probably disappear for another year. I generally check private messages (since it sends an e-mail) when I get them if you have a follow up.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:11 pm

how did some of you who left the profession after your biglaw stint deal with just... starting over after having invested so much time and money into law? that's one of my biggest fears and i'd imagine many biglaw attorneys feel the same. just having to press a reset button on the past 5-6 years of your life. i feel like lawyers in general are very proud people, and i think that's a tough pill to swallow. i know it would be for me.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:17 pm

I did this when I entered law after doing a phd and working as a prof. You just deal with it. It's sort of the ultimate sunk costs fallacy - either you want to be a a lawyer or you don't. If you don't it doesn't make a difference how much time and money you put into it in the past, that's all gone already. The upside is that past experience is never wasted; even if you don't do anything connected to law, the things that you learn about yourself and life and so on are useful to you in the future. The experience is part of what makes you who you are.

Also I think it helps that as time goes on you'll see lots of people you know change jobs in all kinds of ways. It's not a failure, it's just changing your mind.

ruski

Bronze
Posts: 421
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:45 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby ruski » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:30 pm

well its not really a sunk cost. starting a company requires a pretty big chunk of change, and presumably you have been saving a decent amount, especially by the time you are a midlevel. unless you have so much debt but then you really shouldn't be looking to start a company in the first place.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:38 pm

ruski wrote:well its not really a sunk cost. starting a company requires a pretty big chunk of change, and presumably you have been saving a decent amount, especially by the time you are a midlevel. unless you have so much debt but then you really shouldn't be looking to start a company in the first place.

Yeah, hopefully you have decent savings. But the time and energy given to law school and the emotional investment in being a lawyer is a sunk cost (I also didn't read the question as being "how do you hit reset to start a company" so much as "how do you hit reset period?").

bk1

Diamond
Posts: 20072
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby bk1 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:08 pm

PwnLaw wrote:In my post history I've done a bunch of question answer threads. They go back like 5 years or something and document my time in law all the way through just before founding the company I run now. I'm happy to answer questions, but just wanted to point folks to the prior threads so they can read them if interested. It's been a fun, flaming trainwreck of a career so far. :D

For people ITT's reference I think I captured all your threads in the compilation thread:
bk1 wrote:Q&A - Biglaw Entertainment/Video Game Lawyer + OCI Interviewer --> Startup In-house/Bizdev --> Startup CEO (acquired) --> Startup Exec (threads here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

User avatar
zot1

Gold
Posts: 4474
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby zot1 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:56 pm

bk1 wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:In my post history I've done a bunch of question answer threads. They go back like 5 years or something and document my time in law all the way through just before founding the company I run now. I'm happy to answer questions, but just wanted to point folks to the prior threads so they can read them if interested. It's been a fun, flaming trainwreck of a career so far. :D

For people ITT's reference I think I captured all your threads in the compilation thread:
bk1 wrote:Q&A - Biglaw Entertainment/Video Game Lawyer + OCI Interviewer --> Startup In-house/Bizdev --> Startup CEO (acquired) --> Startup Exec (threads here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)


My hero.

lawlorbust

Bronze
Posts: 425
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:50 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby lawlorbust » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:01 pm

zot1 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:In my post history I've done a bunch of question answer threads. They go back like 5 years or something and document my time in law all the way through just before founding the company I run now. I'm happy to answer questions, but just wanted to point folks to the prior threads so they can read them if interested. It's been a fun, flaming trainwreck of a career so far. :D

For people ITT's reference I think I captured all your threads in the compilation thread:
bk1 wrote:Q&A - Biglaw Entertainment/Video Game Lawyer + OCI Interviewer --> Startup In-house/Bizdev --> Startup CEO (acquired) --> Startup Exec (threads here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)


My hero.


Can't wait for the next Chapter!

User avatar
Lexaholik

Bronze
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri May 31, 2013 10:44 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Lexaholik » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:how did some of you who left the profession after your biglaw stint deal with just... starting over after having invested so much time and money into law? that's one of my biggest fears and i'd imagine many biglaw attorneys feel the same. just having to press a reset button on the past 5-6 years of your life. i feel like lawyers in general are very proud people, and i think that's a tough pill to swallow. i know it would be for me.


I was once a successful junior lawyer (by TLS standards anyways) who ended up leaving the law to join a startup. I'm not sure if it's temporary or permanent--it sort of depends on how things go in the next few years. Here are some helpful reasons:

1. As someone else mentioned, you're never truly starting over. If you've worked in law (and Biglaw in particular) you have developed certain habits that are highly, highly desirable in any job. Being disciplined, ability to work hard, being detail oriented are a few examples. During Biglaw I was below average when it came to hours, careless mistakes, etc. But at my new job, I have been lauded for my work ethic and attention to detail--all while putting in less effort and fewer hours.

2. Pick an adjacent field to transition to. If you go from Biglaw to I dunno, car repair, your skills won't translate that well. But there are so many fields that you can switch to where you will be able to leverage your background. There's someone else on this thread who went from startup law to startup founder/CEO. That's a great example of moving to an adjacent field. As for me, my job is in the legal tech field, and we market our product to lawyers. My Biglaw background is invaluable because when I joined the company there was just one other employee who was a lawyer and zero Biglaw refugees. My background in Biglaw is a huge reason why I've achieved some success here.

3. Think long term. Be forward-looking. 5-6 years feels like a waste until you realize you're really making decisions that will affect you for the next 40 years. The real question is, should you spend decades doing something not suited to your personality? You don't have to pick the right job for your first post-law job. As long as you move in the right direction, there's nothing wrong with spending a few years figuring that out.

4. You might be amazing at something else. I transitioned to a completely different type of role/work when I left the law and it turned out to be a much better personality fit. I am naturally good at what I do now--something I could never say about law. I never realized (when I was still in law) that I was so incompatible with law until I left. So even if you do have to swallow your pride you could experience some pretty big upside.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:30 am

Biglaw -> clerkship, and hopefully to government.

I didn't hate biglaw; it was just never part of my career plan. I got along well enough with my first team that the partners and I became friends outside of work. The trouble was that hq had me reassigned after a row with some of the partners (resulting in one partner retiring, and two leaving the firm). HQ sent me to a partner that took passive aggressive to a new level. I left within a month, no regrets.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325081
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:20 pm

PwnLaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So did you have technical skills (programming/coding), design skills, or biz skills? Just wondering what skills one can pick up in law school and beyond to even think about trying to pursue a path like this.


I came in with business and legal skills. I had designed pen/paper games (think D&D variants) as a hobby but I never considered it as a serious career. I view legal contracts as the structuring of incentives between parties (typically related to consequences for failure to perform). I view game design as the structuring of incentives for players (typically with variable consequences based on performance). They rhyme with each other in terms of thought process and require similar attention to detail.

I'm going to disappear for the rest of the day. I'll check if there are any questions tonight and then probably disappear for another year. I generally check private messages (since it sends an e-mail) when I get them if you have a follow up.


How did you or do people interested in startups get a job? Many say networking. If so, how? Going to a Demo day?

whysooseriousbiglaw

New
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:44 am

Re: People who left the profession after a stint in biglaw... what are you doing now?

Postby whysooseriousbiglaw » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:14 pm

I know someone who did clerkship, then biglaw, and is now a programmer. He was an engineering undergrad though.

Still, he likes programming way more than practicing law.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.