5 Reasons why More and More Lawyers are Interested in Career Counseling


Although many people are excited about becoming lawyers, and many practitioners large numbers of individuals are still aspiring to become lawyers and are studying towards this goal, several others who have already qualified are realizing that they have become extremely dissatisfied with their chosen careers. As such, here are just 5 of the main reasons why more lawyers than ever are now seeking career counseling.

  1. They Work Long and Demanding Hours

Lawyers are known for having to work for longer and more demanding hours than individuals in a number of other professions. It’s very seldom that a lawyer will actually be able to only work from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday because they not only need to spend many hours preparing for each case they take on; court deadlines and demanding clients often mean that lawyers will miss out on a lot of family and leisure time. 

  1. Their Schedules are Determined by Others

An aspect that many lawyers seeking career counseling have mentioned that makes their working days unbearable is the fact that they have virtually no control over their daily schedules. Being subject to demands from the courts, law firm partners and clients can be extremely frustrating because it means constantly having to rearrange their schedules. 

While some lawyers thought that opening their own practices would help lessen the demands on their schedules, it often made matters even worse because they found that they’d have to get everything done themselves. 

  1. Extreme Pressure and Stress

In addition to the long working hours, attorneys have to deal with the constant and intense pressure of trying to be everything to everyone with each case they’re working on – while also encountering other extremely serious issues along the way. 

This type of working environment results in extremely high stress levels and over time, it becomes extremely unbearable for many lawyers – causing several of them to seek out alternative career paths

  1. Constant Arguing between Parties

While stress is totally unavoidable in the legal industry, a large amount of results from the constant arguing that takes place between all parties concerned that are working on a specific case. 

Along with having to argue over matters such as precedent and case facts in court, there’s the daily struggle of dealing with legal matters in general such as when depositions should be scheduled and determining the amount of times each side will be allowed to make document requests, for instance. While some individuals thrive in this type of environment, many find that it becomes too much to handle. 

  1. Sheer Boredom

Most legal work that attorneys need to do each day is downright boring and anyone who attended law school thinking it would involve frequently executing cross-examinations and giving regular opening and closing arguments in court is in for quite a surprise to hear that this is not the case. The reality is that few cases make it to trial and many lawyers have never even been able to try a case. 

If you’re an attorney and you’ve been feeling disillusioned with your career choice, you may want to consider opting for career counseling. Chances are that there is an alternative career path that you’ll even enjoy. Contact us today to find out more about your options in this regard. 

career advice for lawyers

Career Counseling for Lawyers – Questions you Should be Asking During your Consultation

Although some lawyers love their jobs,  a large number of others find they are either burned out or have become bored with their careers. In a recent survey, the ABA found 50% or more of practicing attorneys are unhappy in their jobs. These people often wonder whether they will have to stick it out until it is time to retire or if it will be possible to make a career change, and either move into a more rewarding practice area or into a job that involves being more on the business side.

If you are one of the 50%-plus of legal professionals who are unhappy and are considering their career options, you should consider enlisting the advice of a qualified career mentor. Here are some questions you should ask when interviewing potential career coaches.

What Experience do you have in Assisting Lawyers who want to Change Careers?

Now is the time to remember that not all career counselors and recruitment companies are created equal – while some will assist individuals from all career areas, others such as Career Strategies Group, specialize in lawyers, and in mentoring attorneys who want to change careers or reposition themselves within the law.

Since lawyers possess unique skill sets and specialized knowledge within their practice areas, it is often challenging for them to know what else they are qualified to do, how to conduct an alternative career job search, and how to re-career without taking a pay cut. Enlisting professional assistance is a good way to find alternative employment, while still being able to use the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the legal industry.

While any competent career coach can be helpful, attorneys seeking to pursue alternative careers should look for guidance from specialists in this field.

What Services do you offer that will Help me Change Careers?

Not all career management professionals offer their clients the same services to help with their career transitions.

During your discussion with a potential career consultant, you should inquire about the services that they claim to offer. For instance, do they send you some standardized career assessment tools, or do they have instruments designed specifically for lawyers? Do they have off-the-shelf program packages or do they customize their proposals for each client? Do they just provide written or video materials on job search, or do they coach you individually on job search Best Practices? Do they offer broad-brush programs or do they help you select the specific services you need? How much time do they spend with you upfront to assess your needs before trying to make a sale?

It is also very important to ask if they offer services such as professional resume and cover letter writing, or if they just critique your original document? What experience do they have in preparing career change resumes? How do they handle your LinkedIn profile development? Who actually does the writing for you? You should also ask about the range of services they offer, such as career coaching, job search methods, personal marketing plans, interview preparation, and ongoing support. Can they do resume distribution for you to recruiters or venture capital companies? How do they help you prepare for interviews?

What is your approach on Networking?

A critically important question to ask is about their view on networking. Lawyers very often say they either do not have networks,  can’t use their networks for fear of discovery, or are simply uncomfortable asking people for favors.

Many career consultants base their programs on networking. A very few, like Career Strategies Group, have job search methods that don’t rely on traditional networking. Despite what some coaches say, traditional networking – asking friends and colleagues if they know of opportunities for you – is NOT the best way to find a new job.

How Can I Show my Qualifications if I don’t have Direct Experience in the Field in which I’d Like to Work?

It is particularly important to be honest with your potential consultant about how clear or cloudy you are about what you want to do next professionally. If you are rock solid certain about what you want to do, there are more coaches who can help you. If you are not certain or don’t have a clue about what else is out there that you would like to pursue, there are far fewer qualified coaches.

If you are not certain about exactly what you want, you will need a career coach who has substantial experience using tools that will help you see not only what you would like to do and what would be a good “fit” for you, but also what you can actually get hired to do and paid what you need to earn.

Coaches who do career testing often use tools that gauge your psychological makeup and skill set, but which are incapable of addressing marketability and whether you can in reality get hired to do a job you would like. That is a very specialized area in which few coaches are qualified. Make sure your coach can help you clarify your goals and create a real-world career path for you. For a basic overview of alternative legal careers, click this link, and get a copy of  “Caught by the Law? A Guide to Alternative Legal Careers” will be sent to you free of charge.

A key to a successful career change is to have an experienced consultant who will prepare compelling personal marketing materials for you in such a way that it will appeal to the right recruitment manager and show the full scope of your contributory abilities. In many cases, truly smart employers will be willing to help with the learning curve of a candidate if they can demonstrate firm communication skills, professionalism, intelligence and drive.

There are many good coaches out there, but no one coach is right for everyone. When it comes to your career and your specific situation, you should find a coach who has the knowledge of the law, the transferability of legal skills into non-legal roles, and who has the range of services and direct experience on point to help you.

Contact us today if you are a legal professional and are interested in exploring your career options and finding a job that you actually enjoy, that is fulfilling, affords a quality of life, and pays well. We look forward to speaking with you.


career change lawyer

Career Change for Lawyers – Tips from an Industry Expert

Regardless of the stage of your legal career, the prospect of taking a new career path, either elsewhere within the law or in business, academics or the non-profit world, can seem quite daunting. However, the fear can be greatly reduced, and the process made painless, by enlisting the help of a professional consultant who specializes in alternative legal careers. Below are some expert tips that will help get you started with your exploration of career options.

Work with Someone who Specializes in Career Changes for Lawyers

Although several companies and numerous coaches assist people with making career changes, most of these are general practitioners who work with all kinds of executives. Very few have the expertise required to deal with attorneys who wish to make a move or to consider their real-world options.  Other lawyers are not necessarily the best resource as coaches – they may know the law, but not much about personal marketing or how hiring decisions are made in the non-law firm world.

Career Strategies Group, founded in 1992, has extensive experience assisting legal professionals who are considering changing careers. The organization has worked with several thousand attorneys on a career change and alternative job search,  and as such, has a number of resources available to assist with the process. These include providing candidates with viable career alternatives, career coaching, career change resumes, job search strategies, interview preparation, and personal marketing plan to guide their searches.

Don’t Attempt the Process Alone

Although it may be relatively easy for some people to change career paths on their own, this is not usually the case with attorneys. The old saying, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client” is very apt here. Attorneys have very specific skill sets that often neither they nor the hiring community, can readily see as being relevant to non-legal positions. This is a critical mistake. The same skills that make you good at being a lawyer can qualify you for high-level non-legal jobs. An experienced legal career transition professional can help you, and the marketplace, see why you are qualified for positions that you have never held before. This involves an understanding of legal skills and the needs of the non-legal market. An experienced consultant, like those at Career Strategies Group, can help make this “skills translation” easy.

Amend Social Media Profiles

After setting up their social media profiles on sites like LinkedIn, many lawyers forget about their online presence. Lawyers, in particular, were initially very reluctant to promote themselves on social media. Even today, many attorneys have very sparse profiles. Big mistake. An effective social media presence is one of the most critical components of a successful job search or career change. Also, when creating or amending your profile, make sure that it reflects your relevant skills and experience. If you are a litigator and want to get into the business side of things, your profile should focus on your managerial and multi-tasking skills, not your courtroom victories. Be sure you are marketing the “right” product.

Your professional social media profile should include a clear head shot, up to date contact details, and information that will show your target market what you bring to the table that will be useful to them. If you are between positions, you should make it clear about the types of positions you are searching for. If you are still employed and need to keep your search close to the vest, you can still modify your profile so it focuses on the skills you have that are valuable to the type of position you want.

Have your Resume Professionally Updated

Recruitment experts all agree on one thing – resumes should stress results, not just practice areas and responsibilities. The hiring community indeed needs to know your duties and responsibilities, but what we really want to know is how well did you exercise those duties? What problems did you solve? How did you solve them? How did you help your clients or your firm? This is what separates the winners from the also-rans in a job search. Many attorneys take their daily work for granted and have a hard time coming up with accomplishments. A consultant who understands the ins and outs of what you do as an attorney, and who can help you identify your successes, is worth their weight in gold.

Career Strategies Group specializes in designing and writing career alternative resumes for lawyers. They also prepare special cover letters for each market: employers, recruiters, networking contacts, and venture capital or private equity firms. Each market requires a different form of a letter. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to personal marketing. A professionally written resume and cover letter will help show your true value and standout from the clutter of the dozens or even hundreds of resumes that are received for a single position.

If you are an attorney or lawyer and you’ve been thinking about exploring your career options and or discovering “what else is out there” for you, but are not sure how to even start the process, get in touch with our team today. You’ll receive a confidential, no-cost initial screening call to discuss your situation and goals. We do not accept all candidates as clients; if you meet our requirements and are deemed a suitable match for our services, we will have a second, no-cost call to do a deeper dive into your situation. Once we have enough information about your case, we can advise about how we can help you overcome your obstacles and move into a new career area that will provide the challenges, rewards, and work/life balance that you are seeking.

Did Law School Make You a Coward?

Lawyers are trained in law school to look at every angle, to find all of the potential problems, to identify the risks. They will spend hours, even days, conducting exhaustive research. They want to know everything there is to know about an issue. Then the lawyers pass on their findings and explain all the options to their clients, whether senior corporate executives or criminal defendants. They may even make recommendations. But the clients decide … the lawyers just recommend.

Lawyers know if they make a decision and it turns out to be a mistake, they can be censured, suspended, even disbarred. They certainly can be fired. So risk avoidance is ingrained in them from their first day in law school. They are taught that lawyers do research, spot issues, present options, and advocate their clients’ positions. But that’s it. When you make a decision, you might be right or you might be wrong. Being wrong means potentially losing your client or ending your career.

It saddens me that too many lawyers who dread going to work each day, who hate their quality of life, billable hours and constant battling, will nonetheless choose to remain miserable because they lack the courage to make — and implement — a decision to find something better.

Lawyers are trained to play it safe, and not to take risks. That includes not taking risks about their careers.

Business executives who play it safe are thrown out of their jobs. Companies that play it safe are doomed to die. Taking risks is the lifeblood of a business. Investing in new products, services, technologies, and markets is essential if a business is to survive, let alone to prosper.

A good executive must make critical decisions based on the best information available at the time – even when the i’s are not dotted, the t’s are not all crossed and not all of the evidence is in. Delay or equivocation can mean missing an opportunity or being too late to market. It can mean losing to a competitor. It can mean failure.

For lawyers, making decisions can lead to failure. For executives, NOT making decisions can lead to failure.

In my 26 years of counseling lawyers on alternative careers, I have interviewed more than 25,000 attorneys. I almost always ask, “Would you rather be a ‘decider’ or a ‘recommender’ – the King or an adviser to the King?” The answer is almost always to be an adviser. “They shoot at the king,” one respondent told me … but the underlying message is that there’s less risk to being the adviser.

Risk aversion is one of the key reasons so many lawyers are unhappy, but don’t do anything about it. They see all the problems, all of the risks, all of the things that can go wrong if they try to change careers to find happiness and fulfillment.

They think they might have to start back at the bottom of the ladder in an entry-level job. They think they can’t make as much money as they are making now. They think their skills as litigators or compliance specialists or defense attorneys aren’t transferrable to another discipline. They think they might not be as good at something else as they are at practicing law. All of these thoughts are wrong. All of them. We have 26 years of proof.

Lawyers don’t generally complain about how miserable they are … but their actions prove it. According to a Johns Hopkins study, lawyers are Number 1 on the list of professions whose practitioners have major depressive disorders. According to an American Bar Association study, 28% of lawyers suffer from depression, 19% from anxiety and 23% from stress. Yet another study shows that 52% of lawyers have some form of alcohol problem.

And yet these well-educated professionals refuse to do anything about it. They are cowards. They see so many risks in trying to make a change that they can’t motivate themselves or generate enough self-confidence to try to improve their situations. Out of fear, they can’t decide to move forward, so they abrogate the responsibility for their own lives. They don’t realize that not making a decision is, in fact, a decision.

I applaud the several thousand attorneys who have faced their fears, worked with us, didn’t chicken out during the middle of their programs, and ended up re-igniting their careers and loving their jobs. I have only recently started to appreciate the guts these men and women have had.

For more than two decades, I have preached my belief that a law school education is never wasted. Law school, I have often said, gives you analytical skills and a perspective that you don’t get in business school. However, I missed an important point. Business school teaches you that you have to have faith in your judgment, and have the courage to make decisions. Law school teaches you to recognize problems and leave the decision-making to someone else. No wonder so many lawyers are unhappy in their careers; they simply lack to courage to decide to change.

Alternate Careers Lawyers Should Consider

With the economy being what it is these days, more and more lawyers and law firms are feeling the pinch. Business in many segments has simply dried up. This may mean seeking a new position or career somewhere else, or it may mean you’ll need to pick up some additional income. Here are three of the easier ways to accomplish this:

1. Freelance legal work. If you’ve just been laid off from your big firm, or if you have a lot of extra time on your hands, and you do not want to make an actual career change, try doing freelance legal work. You can get in touch with the contract legal staffing or legal temp agencies and get on the list for document review or other short term assignments. You can also contact law firms that do not provide services in your practice area and work out a split for business that they can refer to you. You can also approach law firms to take on some of their over flow work.

2. Freelance writing. There are all kinds of journals, papers and magazines that could use a fresh legal perspective – your legal knowledge could earn you money, without having to do any actual legal work. Write up some query letters and send them off to as many editors as you can find. Publications like Writers Digest and Editor & Publisher will have names of companies. You can also do a Google search for publications. Lawyers doing freelance writing work can command a high per-word fee.

3. Consulting work. This is one of the easiest moves for a lawyer to make. There are lots of businesses, both large and small, that are in need of legal consultants. This work can often be rewarding, and is a fantastic way to break up the monotony of day-to-day legal work. As an added bonus, contracted consultants usually are able to charge significantly more per hour than their salaried counterparts. The hardest part of making this kind of career change is finding the actual consulting gigs, so having above average networking skills are important.

The Top 4 Reasons to Consider A Career Change

In a recent survey conducted by, 90 percent of job seekers said that they would consider a career change – and 49 percent said that they were actively seeking to change industries. Looking to make a move of your own, but aren’t sure if a career change is right for you? Below is a list of the top four reasons most people consider a career change::

1. To secure employment and a source of income. With the job market being so competitive these days, more and more people change industries just to keep some sort of income flowing in. If given the choice between waiting for a job in your own industry for an indefinite period of time or taking a lower level position like a contract legal temp job just to pay the bills, many people choose the latter.

2. To move up the ladder. Because so many companies and law firms are cutting jobs, fewer positions are available to enable employees to move people up the ladder. As a result, some are opting to make a career change instead of wallowing forever in stagnant law firm and corporate waters.

3. There’s too much competition. Sure, you might have spent the last 15 years doing real estate law, but if there aren’t any real estate law jobs in your area, what are you going to do? Some choose to go back to get an LL.M or MBA to enhance their competitive edge, while others opt to move into different practice areas; taking the proper CLE courses can provide the basic knowledge, which can be supplemented by independent reading and study.

4. To become happier. This is the big one. Sometimes, a career choice turns out to be a nightmare. When you are just not happy with your current position at all, it’s not likely that a change in employer will make you happier. We have seen people move to “lifestyle” law firms only to find out that they still need to put in 2000 hours or more. If you are a litigator but hate the constantly adversarial nature of your work, a change in law firms won’t make a fundamental difference in your happiness. Oftentimes, the best thing to do is make a bold career change move. It might be challenging at first, but if it makes you happier for the rest of your working days, it will be worth it. You can enjoy your job and be well compensated all at the same time!

In a recent survey conducted by, 90 percent of job seekers said that they would consider a career change – and 49 percent said that they were actively seeking to change industries. Looking to make a move of your own, but aren’t sure if a career change is right for you? Below is a list of the top four reasons most people consider a career change: