I could tell you I wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was a child, but that would be only partly true. I had many dreams and they were not cemented in stone: they took various forms and changed over time. But my career dreams did have a common theme: I wanted to help the underdog, as I liked to speak in front  of audiences and I wanted to be a voice for those who could not speak for themselves. Being a lawyer seemed like I could do all of those things and that this career path would allow my strengths to be most effective. But are there alternative careers to Law?

     I was disillusioned and disenchanted pretty quickly. As a newer lawyer, I rarely had the opportunity to speak in court and fighting for the underdog became second to fighting with my adversaries who seemed intent on winning without knowing exactly what they would win or what they would destroy along the way. I wanted to interact with people, share their stories,  and help solve some of their problems. Along the way I found my own way and I have been very fortunate to be able to find a career as an attorney that has afforded me some of the pathways I had once envisioned. I also branched out into other areas that I loved: real estate, podcast host, author.  But many attorneys are not as lucky, particularly female lawyers as a group are one of the more unhappy professionals. Why is that and can we find a way to change that? The legal profession has long been considered one of the most prestigious and lucrative career options available. Despite being a highly-viewed career choice, in recent years there has been a growing trend of lawyers leaving the legal profession and seeking alternative careers to law, and it is not difficult to understand why.

 

 

The profession can be high-stress and lead to mental and physical health issues

 

     One of the primary reasons for the exodus of lawyers from the profession and the desire for alternative careers to law, is the high levels of stress and burnout that are often associated with the job. Long hours, intense workloads, and the pressure to win cases can all take a toll on a lawyer. This can lead to mental and physical health problems, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, which can ultimately force lawyers to leave the profession. According to a study by the American Bar Association, 28% of lawyers experience symptoms of depression, 19% experience symptoms of anxiety, and 21% engage in problematic alcohol use.[1] Of course, these problems can exist in almost any profession, and seeking professional help for these struggles is crucial. With awareness of the personal issues that lawyers face, the American Bar Association has created Lawyer Assistance Programs throughout the country to provide confidential support and services to judges, lawyers, and law school students who face mental health or substance abuse issues.[2]

 

 

The price of schooling and licensure may outweigh the eventual high salary of associates

 

     Additionally, the high cost of law school and the significant student loan debt that many lawyers carry can also make it difficult to remain in the legal profession and make one speculate about the alternative careers to law. A survey by the National Association for Law Placement found that the median salary for lawyers in their first year of practice is $72,000, while the median law school debt is around $145,500: this means that for many years, lawyers will work just to pay off their debts owed.[3] Not only do individuals expend large sums of money for school itself, but are also forced to pay substantial fees for bar examinations and admissions. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the number of people taking the bar exam in the United States has declined significantly in recent years. In 2020, there was a 22.6% decrease in the number of test takers compared to the previous year, and there was also a reported a decline in bar exam takers in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic: between 2010 and 2019, the number of people taking the exam decreased by 25%.[4] These declines may likely have to do with not only the decreasing number of law school graduates but also the price to prepare for and take the bar exam, which varies from state to state.

     While the earning potential for lawyers can be substantial, it often takes years to build a successful practice and reputation in the field, and finding a job in the current economy can be difficult. The leaves many new lawyers struggling to make ends meet while trying to establish themselves in the industry.

 

 

A rapidly changing industry and new technology

 

     Another factor contributing to the exodus of lawyers from the legal field is the ever-changing nature of the industry and the job economy. The rise of technology and the increased use of automation have made some aspects of many jobs obsolete, and many lawyers are finding that their skills are no longer in high demand as they were in the past. In addition to many other industries, the legal profession is beginning to see the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on various aspects of the practice of law. AI refers to the development of computer programs and algorithms that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as decision-making, problem-solving, and translation. There have been many recent studies that provide some insight into the adoption of AI in the legal profession:

  1. A survey by Altman Weil found that 6.4% of law firms with 50 or more lawyers reported using AI tools for legal work in 2018: this is an increase from 3.2% in 2017.[5]
  2. A survey by Thomson Reuters found that 21% of corporate legal departments were using AI tools in 2019; and increase from 13% in 2018.[6]
  3. A survey by the American Bar Association found that 10% of lawyers reported that they used AI tools for their legal work in 2020.[7]

     While these adoption rates are still relatively low, it’s worth noting that AI adoption in the legal profession is still in its early stages. As AI technology continues to grow and become more accessible across the board, it is likely that we will see more law firms adopting these tools in the near future.

     In addition to technology developments, the growth of alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration has reduced the need for lawyers to litigate cases, which has the impact of limiting job opportunities in the field.

 

 

A lack of passion and true interest

 

     Lastly, lawyers may leave the legal profession due to a lack of fulfillment or a desire to pursue other passions. While the legal profession can be intellectually stimulating and rewarding, it is not the right fit for everyone. Some lawyers may find that they have interests in other places, or that they are no longer passionate about the work they are doing. In these situations, leaving the legal profession can give lawyers the opportunity to pursue other careers that align more closely with their current interests. This is why it is important to maintain hobbies and even other side quests to fulfill the deeper desires and interests.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

     In conclusion, there are many reasons why lawyers are leaving the legal profession and contemplating alternative careers to the Law. From high stress levels and burnout to the changing nature of the industry and the lack of sufficient income to cover debt, the challenges of practicing law are causing many lawyers to reconsider their career paths. While the legal profession will continue to be an essential part of society, it is important to address the issues that are causing lawyers to leave and work to create a more sustainable and fulfilling environment for those who choose to remain in the field.

     Earning a living is one of the reasons why we as humans wake up and go to work every day, but when your main stream of income is not providing enough to support you or your family, it sometimes requires us to think outside the box and figure out other ways to generate income. One of the best ways to create income is by investing in real estate: it is often passive and generates income without the need of constant monitoring and effort. As a mom, entrepreneur, and attorney, I know first-hand that many attorneys are so busy with their professional careers and their lives outside of work and forget that their money can grow and multiply if invested properly.  As attorneys ,let’s remember why we went to law school and also remember that our day to day work should be meaningful and not just a vehicle to enable us to accumulate things.

 

 

About Atara Twersky

Atara Twersky, is real estate owner, sponsor, and syndicator.  She is principal and founder at Ascendo Capital LLC.  Atara is also an attorney in NYC and  the bestselling author of the children’s book series, Curlee Girlee, inspired by her own young curly haired daughter and written for all curly girls in an effort to ensure they love themselves and their hair exactly as they are.  Atara is the host of a popular investment podcast, Bridging the Gap:  Real Estate for Women

As a mother of 3 school age children, Atara Twersky knows how children can be impacted by their surroundings: how the place they call home will directly affect their ability to do homework, to interact with their friends and siblings, and ultimately have the ability to empower them to grow into happy and healthy young adults. Positive community and apartment living is one of the key components to a well-adjusted child, and it has become Atara’s mission as a multi-family owner to help build communities that will allow its members, young and old alike, to thrive and grow and be happy.

In addition, Atara has been a securities class action attorney for over 15 years, but what many of her clients do not know is that she was able put herself through law school buying and selling HUD properties in the New York area by using the BRRR (Buy, Rehab, Refinance, Repeat) method before it had a name. Before she knew it, she was buying and flipping homes totally based on her instincts and a quick back of the napkin numbers check.

Today as a multifamily sponsor and owner, Atara’s mission is to create communities where tenants feel at home, whether they are there for a short time or plan to stay for many years, because the place where one chooses to hang his or her hat and kick up their feet has to feel just right.

Investing alongside Atara will be an experience in full transparency and disclosure. As an investor in her properties, you will make returns on your investment money and be privy to the process.

Invest with Atara Twersky and you will help build community all while increasing your wealth!

Any examples of cases that are used herein are for illustrative purposes. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent advice from a licensed professional in your state. Since all cases are different, and legal authority may change from year to year, it is important to remember that prior results in any particular case do not guarantee or predict similar outcomes with respect to any future matter, including yours. You should consult your own attorney in connection with matters affecting your own legal interests.

This site may not be quoted in any legal brief or any other document to be filed with any Court unless the author has given her written consent in advance.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Twersky Law Group or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

 

[1] https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/publications/youraba/2017/december-2017/secrecy-and-fear-of-stigma-among-the-barriers-to-lawyer-well-bei/

[2] https://www.americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance/resources/covid-19–mental-health-resources/

[3] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/082416/going-law-school-worth-it-anymore.asp

[4] https://www.ncbex.org/statistics-and-research/

[5] https://www.altmanweil.com/LFiT2018/

[6] https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/reports/ldo-index

[7] https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/news/2020/08/2020-aba-profile-of-the-legal-profession-executive-summary.pdf