Last week, the New York Times reported that since May, there’s been a rise in new business start ups by Americans between the age of 55 and 64 — who were already starting new businesses at record clips even before the onset of the pandemic. Some of the new older founders launched businesses of necessity after layoffs, while others saw an opportunity to do purposeful work. Said one career coach quoted in the article:
It hits you, especially during the coronavirus crisis, that time no longer feels unlimited…You’re aware of your own clock ticking. Since you don’t have a seemingly endless vista of work ahead of you, you may be motivated to finally retool and learn a new trade, or just try something different.
It’s unclear whether those statistics apply equally to lawyers. I’m aware that some older attorneys who were still running dinosaur, paper-based, brick and mortar practices have decided to wind things down rather than build a firm geared for the future. But I have to believe that there are other lawyers deep into their careers ready to take the plunge to start – because after all, life is too short.
Starting a new venture later in life can prove challenging and yet, as Steve Jobs famously said, there’s a lightness to being a beginner that is freeing and can unleash creativity in ways not possible when burdened by the heaviness of longevity and success.
Maybe as a partner at biglaw, you’ve earned all the money you need and then some – but long for something new. Maybe that idea of starting a firm has nagged at you for decades and went ignored. Or maybe you just feel as if you’ve never reached your full potential in the law. It’s never too late to start a law firm.