When we start the practice of law it is often at full throttle. As our personal lives change, with spouses, children and aging parents, sometimes we are forced to slow down and pull back from full speed as we chip off pieces of our careers to keep the family unit intact. Laurel Grass of Rimon, PC, our featured rezoomer this month, tells us how she engaged in the practice of law full speed out of school, pulled back the throttle for family needs and is now speeding back into her legal career.
Ironically, Laurel started her foray back into the law this year in a world where she began her career “more than two decades ago.” She practiced as a prosecutor and assistant solicitor. When she took her career into a lower gear for family reasons Laurel worked abroad on counter terrorism projects and private corporate matters. Then she spent a few years in private practice and big law. Her specialty was financial crimes and investigations, the bank secrecy act and counter terrorism. Laurel tells us, “I was blessed to have had a rigorous career in public service and the private sector.” Laurel is now a litigation associate at Rimon PC in their New York and Tel Aviv offices. A commute few would envy.
When Laurel was asked how long she was away from the law she said, “A few years…long enough to really miss being immersed in the law.” She stressed that her love of the law drew her back in; she, “missed being away from the action.”
Why did she step away from the law? Laurel said, “often women [step away] for family and personal relationship reasons.” Why is she back? Well, her personal and family relationships changed. She is now able to think seriously about rezooming her “love of the law. And in Laurel’s case, getting behind the wheel again has been exhilarating.
You will find as you rezoom your legal career the speed at which you rezoom varies. It all depends on timing and luck.
When Laurel decided to return full time to the practice of law, she started hanging out at the New York City Bar Association. Laurel made lists of seminars to attend, people to contact and appropriate follow-up to be made. She took, “every seminar [she] could.” To enhance her speed, she approached job hunting as if it were, “her full time job.”
To further facilitate her rezoom, Laurel would, after attending seminars, email the speakers with questions or requests. She found that the speakers she contacted were very responsive to her queries. They liked helping a fellow attorney, whether they were full time or just getting started (or re-started). As she, “knocked items off that list” the throttle on her rezoom was fully open. It provided her with momentum to navigate the easiest path back to the full time practice of law.
Laurel says, “The heavens opened up when she found Rimon, PC, an alternative to Big Law.” It was like winning the Indy 500. She had interned at a firm before being hired full time at Rimon, PC. Rimon provides her with the flexibility to fly back-and-forth from her home in Israel to New York while developing business for the firm in both locales. She describes Rimon’s practice structure as spherical. She believes this method enhances everyone’s experience and professional prowess from bottom to top. According to Laurel, Rimon’s structure is dynamic and the atmosphere electric.
Laurel loves the legal work she does in her new job as well as the pro-bono projects she is able to do. She said, “I found a great firm that nourishes my legal practice. It’s fun to work at Rimon where colleagues help each other and the practice of law is alive.” Laurel has started an internship program at Rimon for returning attorneys. Talk about giving back in a big way, Laurel is creating an easy roadmap for her rezooming colleagues to follow on their own journey back to the law.
Laurel gave so many tips for her fellow rezoomers it would have been a disservice not to include them all for my readers to implement. Here is the list Laurel gave, which sums up what she did to open her rezoom back into the practice of the law full throttle.
- Network, Network, Network – Reach out to the speakers at events you attend. Ask them questions or take them out for a real or virtual cup of coffee. Learn about their practice. Remember, it is not about you at these coffees.
- Expect Bombshells – You learn more from what blows up in your face than what proceeds smoothly.
- Get Help – Hire a career coach or take a re-entry program
- Discouragement Not Allowed – Decide not to get discouraged, blaze ahead, look forward and keep moving.
- Pick your Practice – Pick the area of law you love then target your connections to people who fit that job description.
- Small Leaps Allowed – If you feel it is a quantum leap to the job you want, take internships or transition jobs that will help you climb the ladder to your dream job.
- No Negativity - its contagious. Negative thoughts will permeate your entire life. As you rezoom stay positive. You will need all the positivity you can muster to find your way back.
- Be joyful – Jobs are easier to find when the energy you exude is joyful.
Use all of Laurel’s suggestions to put the petal to the metal and rezoom your career full throttle. Now get out there and rezoom.
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®.