The Alternative Lawyer – When Traditional Practice Doesn’t Work

Far too often we hear the stories of tragedy and demise when discussing the future of the legal profession. Some room for optimism is always warranted as well though. According to CareerBuilder and the Economic Modeling Specialists in an article in The Globe, lawyers are one of the professions in Canada with the most positions added since 2012.

But not everyone with a law degree wants the traditional legal practice. Kim Covert of CBA’s PracticeLink has a new article on opportunities outside of practice. She touches on articling shortages, as well as the significant numbers of women who leave the profession,

In Canada, 44 per cent of the women called to the bar since 2003 have walked away from it. The reasons are varied: perhaps the job wasn’t what they wanted, or thought it would be; they found billable hours are kryptonite to work-life balance; maybe they needed to feed their entrepreneurial appetite.

What many discover is that a law degree opens up a world of opportunity that has nothing to do with filing papers or working 18-hour days as an associate in a downtown office tower. Some of those opportunities even pay better. But finding them requires research, taking them can involve risk, and being happy with them necessitates knowing what you want to be and do when you grow up. And after all that soul-searching, you may discover you’re in the right profession, you just need to find your proper niche.

Covert provides some resources for those looking for alternatives, as well as some brief biographies of those blazing a brave new path. Incidentally she also touches on my story. I do several of the jobs listed in The Globe’s list (4, 9, 13, 16), leading some of my colleagues to comment,

It’s overachievers like you that create unemployment. And that’s terrible.

I don’t think it’s terrible at all. It’s a testament that the law actually does open doors and creates whole new worlds of opportunity.

Are you ready to see what is on the other side of your door?

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