Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Refugees from the Legal Profession

Mazel Tov!

I have met quite a few refugees from the legal profession working in non legal fields. I recently went to a Persian Jewish wedding in Beverly Hills and met a lot of attorneys and paralegals who have escaped from the law.

When I was a little kid, I was not allowed to eat "outside" meat, and we only ate halal and kosher meat in the house and when we went out to restaurants. My father was very strict and I still remember getting yelled at in third grade when he found out I had Mcdonalds chicken nuggets(non kosher/halal). I cried for days, it was horrible!

Growing up, I remember meeting a lot of guys at the kosher delis on Pico and Robertson in Beverly Hills and west LA.  Even though we lived in the suburbs, we would always buy meat from there whenever we were in LA. Back in the day, it was very hard to find halal meat butchers, so kosher delis were the only other option. My father and I would meet many of the customers who were working in the legal profession. Many were practising attorneys and I had never heard of anyone leaving the legal profession.

At the wedding, I met many attorneys and some former legal professionals. One was working as a high school English teacher and another took over his parents rental properties. At the bar, I saw a very beautiful woman sitting all by herself.

Out of curiosity, I asked my friend who she was.

The moment I saw her, I was startled by her piercing blue eyes. She had dark long wavy hair and olive skin, but her eyes were as blue as the Mediterranean sea.

I knew I had to meet her.

She was a Yemeni woman who graduated on law review  from a top law school and worked as an attorney for several years before opening up her own consulting business. She gave me some great tips on how to transition into a non legal career for lawyers and paralegals. She charges over $600.00 an hour and helps CEO's and CLO's find jobs.

She gave me a few pointers on how to transition into a non legal career with a legal background. Since she charges a lot of  money for her services, I thought I would post some valuable tidbits of information for my fellow poor legal professionals.

1.)   Emphasize your business courses- Contracts law, U.C.C., Trademark, Real Estate, Corporate Finance, etc.  If you have a useless BA in English, History or Poli Sci, then put business courses on your resume that you took in college. If you took an elective in  economics, then write it down. If you haven't worked in business, learn the basics through the library and on your resume that you know how to read financial documents, basic accounting, and multiple computer programs.

2.)   Discuss how your coursework and internships/jobs were NON law related.  This is very tricky since if you were working as an associate or paralegal, then you were actually involved in legal practice.

Here is an example of how it can be done:

If you were an associate working with a real estate company, then say you were involved in "legal transactions involving land, leasing, capital management and budgeting."

If you did business litigation then say you were involved with "accounts management, operations and business policy."

3.)  Emphasize that you did "management roles" as a legal professional. Explain how you effectively managed assignments, cases and the office team.

4.) Discuss interaction with non legal professionals. Your resume should say "member of strategic management team of the CFO" or "corporate partner  with CTO and  anythingcom.com "

To all your unemployed and underemployed legal professionals, try using these tips to help find a non legal job!

There were just tiny pearls of wisdom I learned which are very useful for tweaking your resume to find non legal jobs. I feel very fortunate to have met such a smart and intelligent woman, but I just wish all of you could have seen her  in person.

-The Poor Paralegal


  1. Hey!

    I love klezmer music! I play a song on the banjo with my brother on guitar that merges into middle eastern and sort of klezmer-like sounds.

    My brother actually wrote it, and when I get it copyrighted I will post it on my youtube channel.It is sort of Loreena McKennittish too I think.

    The Banjo player Ken Pearlman plays Klezmer mucic. I have learned a lot from his banjo instructional materials over the years. Check him out if you haven't seen him. He also plays a lot of Irish Jigs and reels. O'Carolan's concerto (which I also learned from him)

    Also,I had the honor to actually see Lisa Gutkin the fiddle player a number of years back, in concert.She plays with a band, Klezmatics I think, in New York.

    She was accompanying an Irish musician-either John Whelan or was it Pat Kilbride who wrote a song about his wife, and Lisa played with such emotion, she looked like she was almost in tears, and sort of had to regain her composure after the song.

  2. That made no sense whatsoever.