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Why You Can Succeed In Starting A Firm Even If You Floundered At Your Job or In Law School

by Carolyn Elefant on May 20, 2008 · 2 comments

in Biglaw to Solo, Encouragement

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Some lawyers want to start law firms, but fear that they’ll fail either because they floundered at their previous place of employment or performed poorly in law school. If that’s where you find yourself, worry no more. According to new research, a lack of control in a job situation has a fundamental effect on one’s mental abilities. That’s because lack of power forces people to constantly re-evaluate and second guess themselves, thus redirecting their effort from substantive tasks and  diminishing their performance.

The theory makes sense. For example, how many times did you psyche yourself out before a law school test, trying to absorb all kinds of conflicting advice on what to do and not to do, instead of just following your gut. And on the job, how much time did you spend worrying about what your boss was thinking instead of using your own judgment to figure out what the client wanted or what would make the brief most persuasive.

So give yourself a break. Past performance is never indicative of future success, especially if you functioned in a less than ideal school or work environment.

HT to Feminist Law Profs for the link.

  • Alisa Levin

    Agreed and on point! As a new Chicago solo whose “career” was that of a stressed and disappointed associate, toiling under dictatorial partners whose idea of the practice of law was counting strokes to make par on the golf course, I have come to realize that starting your own practice and enjoying the fruits of that labor has many more benefits than firm-sponsored lunches and administrative help. From managing stress to managing clients and dollars, it just makes more sense for those like myself, who never had any desire to be partners with the partners who made me miserable. Life is simply too short! Kudos to those that left that world as I have. I don’t think I’ll ever go back voluntarily…

  • Alisa Levin

    Agreed and on point! As a new Chicago solo whose “career” was that of a stressed and disappointed associate, toiling under dictatorial partners whose idea of the practice of law was counting strokes to make par on the golf course, I have come to realize that starting your own practice and enjoying the fruits of that labor has many more benefits than firm-sponsored lunches and administrative help. From managing stress to managing clients and dollars, it just makes more sense for those like myself, who never had any desire to be partners with the partners who made me miserable. Life is simply too short! Kudos to those that left that world as I have. I don’t think I’ll ever go back voluntarily…

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