Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

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Anonymous User
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Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:44 am

So I'm having doubts about having entered the legal profession. The reason is that I just feel I'm not that good at it. Previously I used to be in a health-related field and I was naturally good at what I did. I worked hard, had focus, knew what I needed to do, and most importantly, my work quality was great. Along the way, the notion of being a lawyer entered my head and I went into law school. Although I did well in law, I'm now struggling in practice. Nothing comes naturally to me, it takes me too long to produce anything (even writing an email seems like it takes ages), my focus is gone, and my enthusiasm which I had before is disappearing because I feel that no matter how hard I work, I feel like I'm getting by with minimum passing standards at work. I'm worried at how long I can sustain this.

A part of me wants to exit law and return back to the health field. In the long-term, I don't see my career growing because I'm not naturally inclined to think like a lawyer and nothing I did in school prepared me for work. And if it takes me more time to do something than others, I feel that will hinder my career from many opportunities.

What should I do? I'm only a few months into working. Should I start making the transition now or work longer to test the waters and then maybe make the transition? I feel like I already know my limits, which is I'm not good at law, and I want to take the next step to save myself from the hole I got myself into. Anyone else have this problem? You can also PM. Thanks in advance for any advice

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:41 am

No one is born knowing how to practice law - it has to be learned. The plus side to this is that it is learnable. It just has a steep learning curve. I would bet that your previous field, which you were “naturally” good at, drew more directly on your previous education/training than legal practice (despite going through law school), even if you didn’t realize it at the time, or was less specialized/had less of a learning curve. I think a few months in is much to early to say “I am bad at this, I have to give up.” (Especially if you are in a setting where you don’t get a lot of detailed feedback, which is admittedly most legal jobs.) You may think you’re not doing well because no one stops to tell you you’re doing well, but you’re probably doing fine. You don’t actually mention specific fuck ups, just feeling like you don’t know how to do this.

Now, it may be *also* that you don’t like law and would be happier in another field, and that’s totally reasonable. But I don’t think that thinking you’re bad at this is a good reason at this stage in your career.

Just please stop worrying that you’re not “naturally” inclined to be a lawyer. No one is; it’s not a natural state of being. It’s learned, and you can learn it. If you don’t want to that’s a completely reasonable thing, but not the same as can’t.

Damage Over Time
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Re: Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:32 am

I am also concerned about scraping by with adequate work product because no one gives me positive feedback, and often it's impossible to tell if what I've done was actually productive or helpful, or if it was just written off. I did speak with a few people at my firm who have been here for a few years, and they essentially said that assuming that you're doing things right unless you're told otherwise is the way almost everyone approaches their job. This definitely made me feel less anxious. I spoke with a supervisor for one of my projects and he pretty much cemented that notion. "If you fuck up, you'll know."

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

Postby Lacepiece23 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I'm having doubts about having entered the legal profession. The reason is that I just feel I'm not that good at it. Previously I used to be in a health-related field and I was naturally good at what I did. I worked hard, had focus, knew what I needed to do, and most importantly, my work quality was great. Along the way, the notion of being a lawyer entered my head and I went into law school. Although I did well in law, I'm now struggling in practice. Nothing comes naturally to me, it takes me too long to produce anything (even writing an email seems like it takes ages), my focus is gone, and my enthusiasm which I had before is disappearing because I feel that no matter how hard I work, I feel like I'm getting by with minimum passing standards at work. I'm worried at how long I can sustain this.

A part of me wants to exit law and return back to the health field. In the long-term, I don't see my career growing because I'm not naturally inclined to think like a lawyer and nothing I did in school prepared me for work. And if it takes me more time to do something than others, I feel that will hinder my career from many opportunities.

What should I do? I'm only a few months into working. Should I start making the transition now or work longer to test the waters and then maybe make the transition? I feel like I already know my limits, which is I'm not good at law, and I want to take the next step to save myself from the hole I got myself into. Anyone else have this problem? You can also PM. Thanks in advance for any advice


You'll be okay. It takes time. I'm two years in and I still struggle writing some e-mails. Over time, you just sort of pick up how things are phrased and worded and practice gets a lot easier. If you're in Lit, you learn the procedure and start seeing repeat procedural issues. It's really not that hard after you get the hang of it. Being new is really hard, but hang in there. We've all felt this way before. You're not going to be an allstar lawyer after a few months.

lolwat
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Re: Advice needed...having doubts about law long-term

Postby lolwat » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:21 pm

The responses above are good.

By the way, I think things like e-mails are a pain in the ass not because they're actually difficult to write, but because everyone is afraid of doing saying something wrong, phrasing things in ways that a partner might find unacceptable or unprofessional, and all that crap. I'm careful with e-mails when it goes out to opposing counsel, but I just don't care as much when it's an internal e-mail. If there's a typo or grammatical error, so be it, the partners have worked with me for years now and know the quality of my outgoing product to the courts and clients. It's like when I'm posting shit on TLS. I'll edit if it seems like something just doesn't make sense, and I'll try to keep it error-free, but I'm not going to edit a post for hours to make it perfect.

Also, I would take the "assume you're doing things right unless you're told you're fucking up" advice only to a certain extent. People in this profession just don't have the time and energy to give positive feedback. (You're billing like 2k hours, but so is everyone else above you, and the partners probably have to do a bunch of business development shit on top of that to keep clients coming in, too.) But you should try and solicit some feedback when you can. Now that I'm in a slightly more mid-level/senior role than I was years ago, I see the challenges of going out of my way to provide feedback rather than just, e.g., re-doing a draft on my own.




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