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Recession Forces Lawyers to the Right

Recessionary times demand desperate measures, and for some lawyers (as well as other professionals), that means a move to the right. I don't mean right as in Republican. The "right" I'm talking about is the bold, creative side of the brain that typically doesn't get much of a workout by analytically minded, left-brained lawyers.

USA Today offers two examples of laid-off lawyers now embracing the right side of their brains. First there's Shu Kim, in-house counsel at Lehman Brothers before the firm went bankrupt at the end of 2008. These days, Kim and another non-lawyer Lehman colleague are running, a marketing Web site for professionals that the pair co-founded. Now Kim relies on largely on her creativity rather than her analytical prowess to devise ways to market her new business on a budget and develop new services for users.

Another former BigLaw attorney in Washington D.C., Gordon Chin, just completed his own left-right shuffle. He was reasonably content practicing as an attorney, but with layoffs looming Chin left his firm to fulfill his passion for interior design. He started his company after making an audition tape for "Design Start," a reality show (not the first time a lawyer has turned to reality TV for employment). He wasn't selected, but Chin posted the video on Facebook, which yielded calls from prospective clients. Chin believes that running a design company makes best use of both his creative skills and his left-side organizational strengths.

Has the recession forced you to consider leaving the law for a job you always dreamed of? And do you think that your background as a lawyer would help or hinder your success in another field?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 14, 2009 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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