Former technology lawyer Lisa Carron Shmerling puts it out there: Career change is sweet and sour. In the Boston Post Magazine, Shmerling chronicles the intellectual excitement and social trauma of enrolling in a Master degree in public policy at Tufts University School of Medicine. One of her daughters is also a student at Tufts. Here you can read about her journey.
It probably helps Shmerling's transition that she chose this challenge. What is more typical is for lawyers to be forced to embrace another career path. That tends to push up against inner resistance. Something inside fights the seeming injustice of having to change. There is the why-me relentless questioning.
But, either way, transition is no walk on the beach. Career counselors, including at law schools and the outplacement firms hired by law firms, have to be candid: This is brutal.
Had the powers-that-be told me that straight in the early 1970s, I might have taken less time finding a replacement for my academic career. Just like the current law market, the demand for Humanities professors had tanked. No one in authority said, "Now go out there and bleed, every day. Hopefully you won't harden into a ball of hate." That would be my message to displaced lawyers, including those being cut loose at Patton Boggs.