Obviously, nobody reading this site actually enjoys being a lawyer. We tolerate because this is the path we’ve chosen and it’s just too late to do anything else … or is it? For those dreamers out there with the gumption to give up the safety of law firm life to do what they were meant to be doing, here is a list of the top 6 jobs lawyers wish they had. (We didn’t include movie star or athlete because those are too farfetched for lawyers to even dream about.)
1Hedge fund manager. A few years back, most BigLaw folk where kicking themselves when they realized that their Wall Street buddies were making double and triple what they made. But after the downturn and layoffs over there, it doesn’t seem quite as green on that side of the fence. However, it doesn’t seem like there has ever been a downturn for those Connecticut folk who make their money in good markets and bad and somehow manage to fly under the hate radar reserved for investment banks. Also, who doesn’t like the idea of getting paid a flat percentage of the overall investment for “managing” money? Whether you turn a profit or not, even 1% of a billion dollars is $10 million. Split with 5 of your buddies, and you’re still living better than most Biglaw partners. Downside: there is no downside, unless you’re doing something illegal, then the downside is prison or suicide.
2Screenwriter. At least 1 in 5 lawyers have a partial script or a few chapters of a novel tucked away somewhere, waiting for the right time to make the pilgrimage to Hollywood to become the next David E. Kelley, John Grisham or Scott Turow. Too bad even Hollywood has felt the downturn. Gone are the days of showing up script in hand and getting a 6 figure deal. Nowadays, the best a former lawyer can hope for is becoming the most overqualified writer’s assistant in town. Seriously, Hollywood is littered with grown men taking coffee orders while muttering “I have a JD/MBA from Harvard, goddamn it.”
3Dog walker. Sure, it may not be as lucrative as the others, but Toni Collete made it seem pretty enjoyable in In Her Shoes. True, it means picking up shit all day, but is that any worse than taking shit all day from miserable partners? Plus, it’s very flexible hours. Downside: you will never ever be taken seriously again. Ever. Not from your friends, not from your family. Not even your own children. Even the dogs you walk bark the word “loser” at you.
4Musician. We at Bitter Lawyer know of more than one mid-30’s associate who has put together a group of weekend warriors to relive their college band days. Of course they can only grow their hair to an acceptable level for client meetings, so its not quite the same without the headbanging. Also, playing in front of a dozen lawyers you have begged to come see you is not quite the same rush. Bob Dylan and the Stones are still rocking well into their 60’s, so maybe it’s not too late to go after it. Of course if you’re already losing your hair, you might want to make a pit stop at the Bosley hair restoration clinic. Nobody goes to Lollapalooza to a see a bunch of combovers flopping in the wind.
5Standup comedian. Yes, you think you’re the funny guy in the office and people have told you that you should try standup. So what are you waiting for? Oh right, becoming a standup comic is a lot of work and all of them seem miserable. Sounds like lawyering, right? … well, except that comedians earn a fraction of what lawyers do for the misery. Although it certainly worked out for a few former lawyers and law students: Greg Giraldo (until his untimely passing), Demetri Martin, Al Lubel, you should probably check in with our sister site, Lawyerist.com, to see how it’s going for two up-and-coming lawyer-turned-comics, Alex Barnett and Matt Ritter, before jumping ship. But we think you’re probably better off being the office funny guy who sits in the audience and says “I could totally do that.” You won’t ruin your marriage or your credit.
6Internet entrepeneur. Has every web idea already been created and monetized? Seems like it, but every time a new one pops up we all say “I could have thought of that.” So do it. Look at some of the top legal bloggers, including our very own head honchos, Aaron Street and Sam Glover. They saw a void and they filled it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the law, but if your skill set is in the legal field. Maybe there is a specific knowledge that only use possess or you are frustrated by a lack of efficiency somewhere in our field that you could provide. Maybe someday, you’ll be the one people talk smack about and claim they could have easily done what you did.