Should I practice without pay?
October 3, 2012 5:19 PM Subscribe
I've discovered through some digging that I can not pay (but still hold) practice insurance at my new bar and still practice as a lawyer if I'm not doing it for profit. WHO on earth would want to practice and not get paid? Maybe me.
posted by anonymous to law & government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was a junior litigator, then I quit for personal reasons for a couple of years (love, a serious illness, foresight that I did not want to be with that firm forever and trucking along as an associate would have limited value, etc.). I don't regret this at all, I am really happy (and healthy) but now it's time to get back into building a career which happens to be in a totally different location where my network is limited but my slate is, in some ways, delightfully clean. (FWIW, I'm in Canada)
I love practice, I love helping people and figuring out files and the thrill of winning a complex file. I do not love the politics of an office, required firm socialization, or most other lawyers. The hiring process/search I'm going through now has reminded me of all the stuff I thought was time sucking fluff that I felt distracted me from getting on with the career I can clearly see for myself.
I'm thinking about solo-ing as I'm debt free, have a husband who can contribute to our fairly low household expenses, and am not yet 30. But, I sort of want to brush up my skill set and network a little before I sink a lot of cash into my own shop (even next year's practice insurance is a pretty big cheque to write for us right now). This has led me to consider whether I want to create my own 'legal internship' by working pro bono for a period of time while I maybe do another day job outside the industry to build cash flow and a non-law network. One foot in, one foot out, so to speak.
In my mind, this would help me transition either into solo practice by skill building and resource collecting without running at a loss, looking at a six month time frame to possibly transition to paying clients, OR it might just introduce me to the right legal job match (which, from experience, has tended to pop up for me as long as I keep circulating in the industry). I also don't mnd giving back because I feel like life has been good to me, using the degree for free is better than letting it languish, and I have found pro bono work consistently memorable and satisfying in the past.
Am I totally insane? Do people do this? Why not? Will 40 year old me regard this as a poor choice? Am I going to black-sheep myself by setting my salary at zero? Is there another way to move towards what I want (which is not necessarily working a lifetime of poverty law - plus those jobs take networking too)?