Lawlternate is excited to continue our Trailblazers series, featuring attorneys who have followed their passion and ventured into new careers giving advice to those interested in doing the same.
Where did you go to law school?
Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ.
Did you enter law school with the intention to practice law?
I wanted to be a transactional real estate attorney.
Did you practice law at any time? If so, where and what kind?
I practiced in NYC at small and mid-size firms in the areas of real estate and insurance defense. And I worked at a AM Law 100 firm doing securities litigation.
What are your interests outside of law?
I have a love for fashion and travel.
Have you practiced anything in that interest?
The fashion part, unfortunately no. Does online shopping, reading about it and having multiple Pinterest boards count?
I am going Italy and France very soon.
How do the skills you gained as an attorney help you in your current profession?
In my day job, I work in the area of regulatory compliance. The research and writing skills are a great asset in providing advice to employees, conducting reviews and investigations. The multi-tasking, high volume of cases, fast pace of litigation was excellent training in managing employee requests and day-to-day activities. Also, dealing with the incredible personalities of the good and not-so-good clients helps in dealing with communicating with employees especially working in the financial services sector.
What advice can you give someone looking to go through a similar career trajectory?
First, figure out what you do like and don’t like in a role when you are entering a career pivot. Do your research online read articles, join LinkedIn industry specific interest groups, attend network events in the industry you seek to transition into.
Second, speak to colleagues & peers who have different roles in the industry you seek to transition into to get a clear picture of what that industry and job entails. Ask for informational interviews and come with prepared questions. Don’t waste the person’s time by saying in person or the email request “Oh, I just want to pick your brain about X industry”.
Third, have a clear & definitive plan of action when seeking career pivot. Prepare yourself financially because you may have to take a major pay cut and make lifestyle changes. Making six figures as a seasoned attorney will not be recognized when transitioning to an entry/mid-level compliance role. Have a timeline in mind of how long you are willing to make financial & lifestyle sacrifice for the career pivot.
Fourth, be realistic. The career transition isn’t going to happen overnight. Be ready and prepared to do the work- take the class, get the certification, volunteer for the experience, take the pay cut. Do not compare yourself to others. Every person’s career journey is different and not everyone follows the same exact path. You have to do what works best for you.
Lastly, you need lots of patience. The transition can be challenging on all levels: financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. When you stick to your plan of action, then you will see the results and achieve the goal that you worked hard for.
If you’re not currently practicing, would you ever return to practicing law?
Yes, where a fantastic opportunity affords itself then I would welcome the chance to work for great company or organization.
What do you think is the next generation of “legal” jobs?
The next generation of legal jobs will be a hybrid role that’s traditional in its base with some technical aspect to it or required knowledge such as digital compliance, social media lawyer, cyber security/data privacy, project and contract management. Since the amount of legal jobs has declined and the amount of competition for traditional legal jobs increased, I also believe there will be a great rise in the amount of “legalprenuer”- lawyers combining entrepreneurship in creating their own companies and startups.
If you can give one piece of advice to yourself back in law school – what would it be?
Be more flexible and relax! Don’t be too married to the idea and image of what your legal career trajectory is supposed to be like. Think outside of the box in attaining your career goals. Get the joint degree and go for the MBA.