Recently I was waiting for my youngest son to finish his Math and English placement tests at our local community college. He completed 3/4′s of his first year of college. If you read between those lines you can tell he almost completed the year and in not such a stellar fashion. His dad and I decided to have him take at least one semester at our local community college before we consider revisiting the privilege of rezooming his academic career at a private university in Connecticut.
As I sat there waiting, I realized we rezoomers have this kind of angst too. We are starting a new phase in our lives. Looking back on how we did, so many years ago in our initial legal foray, is scary. Were we stellar, average or, heaven forbid, just skated through like my son in his freshman year in college? Whatever your trajectory is back to the law, your plan and expectations may be on target or they may need a little redefinition or refinement.
If you were stellar, chances are you maintained your connections with your old firm or practice area. Using these connections wisely will enable you to reestablish communication with old networking colleagues while initiating conversations with new colleagues who have come along in your absence.
If you were an average practitioner you may have to step up your game a notch. This may resonate with more than a few rezoomers. My son now understands this concept. The fire in our bellies upon graduation from Law school may have been dimmed or extinguished by the legal situation we found ourselves in post graduation and pre-legal service break. We may have been doing things we weren’t good at or didn’t like doing. We did ok, we were never world-beaters and welcomed the day we stopped practicing ‘that kind of law.’
This is your new grab at the legal brass ring; don’t be afraid to reach for the practice area of your choice. Rezooming means taking this ‘do over’ on your own terms! Don’t go around again without making the commitment to yourself to reach for the seemingly unattainable. If you rekindled that fire and now have a burning desire to jump back on this horse, know exactly what it is you have to do and be willing to move mountains to achieve it. Rezooming your legal career will now be a piece of cake. Making this commitment to yourself and your future will help avoid having all your hard work land in legal-limbo again…unfulfilled by the law you desperately wanted to practice. If you put quality time, directed effort and limitless imagination into re-starting your legal practice, from scratch in some instances, you will be assured of performing at the highest level; i.e. returning with a vengeance.
As you rezoom your legal career, take this opportunity to practice law the way you always wanted to. Like my son’s decision to rezoom his college career, if you are brave enough to make this commitment to yourself stack the deck in your favor and go back to the practice of law you crave. Your skin is thicker now and your advice to self more sage. If you trip a few times along the way and skin your knees those knees will be badges of honor to show off once you’ve made it.
Rezooming your legal career isn’t for everyone. You shouldn’t feel like you are missing something if you decide never to return to the practice law or never practice at all. A law degree singularly prepares you to work in so many venues. Law-school teaches you analytical skills that are highly sought after and valued by corporate America and beyond. This is the beauty of a law degree. It comes with certain perks, including the ability to analyze and research questions, provide spot on observations and valuable information to people, in a way that is easy to understand and makes every profession better. Don’t forget to apply it in self-examination as well!
As I sat there waiting for the outcome of my son’s placement tests, I hope my thoughts have spurred some of you on to rezooming your legal career or, at the very least, looking for an alternative rezooming opportunity. As with my son’s new attendance at community college, because maybe he wasn’t ready for the big college experience right out of High School, your prior experience in the law will set you up for your personal rezooming track. Set your sites high, follow your passion and get back out there. You need it and so do the people whose lives you’ll change once you commit to rezooming your career.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.