When you’re thinking of leaving the law, or have already left, it can be hard to start making the changes and connections that lead to your next career without some external help. At the same time, the cost of a conference, program or counselor to help focus your search can seem stunning, especially in light of the prospective dip in income that often comes with leaving law. It’s an awful lot of money, you might say to yourself. How do you know when to justify that expense?
Let me help you with that justification. We collectively spend a fair amount of money sending our kids back to school each fall. We want to give them all the equipment they need to do well. Why shouldn’t we invest at least as much time and money in whatever “equipment” we need to do well ourselves?
But where should you spend that money? My view is the trainings that are most worth investing in are those that provide practical, tested advice, equipping you with the tools and information you need to make an effective career change. Bonus points for those that give you the chance to network with employers you might like.
One conference I particularly recommend is iRelaunch’s Return to Work, coming up in NY on October 2. From the keynote through the workshops, the emphasis is on specific resources and tactics rather than generalities. There are career assessment workshops as well as opportunities to focus on networking and self-marketing. One session focuses on developing the elevator pitch, training participants to talk succinctly about their experiences before and during their career break, and their career goals. The conference is lead by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Rabin, true experts in relaunching careers (and excellent mentors to many former lawyers). You can learn more here.
When I was professionally clueless, I found it hard to justify paying for any kind of training or conference that might have helped my transition. That, in retrospect, was short-sighted. When I finally had the “a-ha moment” that got me out of my post-law rut, it was because of a conversation at one of those conferences I ponied up for. That eventually led me to the great job I have now as a tenure-track business law professor.
Now that back-to-school sales are flooding our in-boxes, it’s a good time to consider some back-to-work investing for yourself. If we can buy our kids new laptops, clothes, furniture and otherwise equip them for their academic future, doesn’t it make sense to spend – wisely – on our own professional futures as well?