Top 6 Jobs Lawyers Wish They Had


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.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kokjebalder/279360815/)

Bitter Staff is a collection of current and former editors, contributors, and various other lawyers who have written for Bitter Lawyer over the years. Posts include interviews, contests, and other general lawyerly and bitter content.

19 Comments

  1. Ellen

    July 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

    My boyfriend says I should work inhouse for a HEDGE fund, but I could NOT find even one in the GOGLE directory to APPLY to for an interview.

    Where can I get a LIST of hedge fundes? And does ANYONE know what I would even DO all day?

  2. aj

    July 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I just wish I had any job, frankly.

  3. Jeff

    July 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I disagree with your first sentence because I enjoy this site AND I enjoy being an attorney.

    There are two types of people that go to law school:
    1) People that want to practice law – they enjoy meeting with clients, problem-solving, and taking court-appointed cases.
    2) People that want to be a lawyer – they want to put on the suit, go to the country club, tell people they’re a lawyer, and draw a lawyer paycheck.

    The die-hard Bitter Lawyers that hate their jobs are Deuces…

    • Sam Glover

      July 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Don’t forget the third type, law students who think law school will give them more options in the job market, but don’t really want to be a lawyer.

      • Strenuous Objector

        July 21, 2011 at 7:23 am

        I agree, there are those three and I’m a member of the former. I love the law, enjoy cases, preparing for them, writing motions, feeling my nerdy sense version of “you just got served” when a case gets dismissed. All those things and I enjoy the website…usually.

    • Sam Glover

      July 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Also, these guys:

  4. Mean Partner

    July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I disagree too: for a lot of reasons: I do like being a lawyer: I like the issues, the polished marble floors, the wooden jury boxes, the easy camraderie between most lawyers. I like the feeling that lawyers are different: I’ll never forget walking by a beachside restaraunt and hearing some corporate guy yell at another “You just get out of here and be back in the office on Monday!” No one in my then law firm would ever yell at anyone like that. Or my second or third law firms. Ever. I like the security-or at least the relative security: when guys in their 50′s are downsized when technology passes them by, the lawyers are usually still standing. As for alternate careers, I’ve picked crops, fixed trucks, waited ables. I’ve seen “musicians” (“whats an optimist? A musician with a mortgage”) scraping for bucks as they never catch on–it was an escape for them, not a dream. The real problem with most unhappy lawyers is they resent having to DO anything for their money, and they’ve been babied all their lives.

  5. Randy St. Randy

    July 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Sooner than anyone wants to admit, big firm lawyers are going tonface what the doctors faced approximately 15 years ago (and ever since): pressure to deliver more for less. Maybe a few specialists here or there will still command big rates, but the recession taught a lot of corporations that there’s plenty of excess bloat that can be squeezed from law firms.

  6. Bill

    July 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    It is not the same being a lawyer as it was in the 1980′s. Back then, women were impressed, and many would do anything to get us guys into the sack with them. Now, it is the opposite. Women who aren’t really ugly won’t look at us. They go for the techno-geeks, because that is where the money is. Most lawyers are left holding their own as a result.

  7. Quadoz

    July 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Bill, you said ‘holding your own’ huhuhuhuh

  8. bob

    July 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    everyone knows a child is potty trained when a few yrs old,
    during this process the child forms an ironclad anti-authoritarian
    psychological hangup, a psychiatric pavlovian reflex, so that
    the lifetime use of self becomes mostly anti-authoritarian which
    is best satisfied by lawyers who shoot down government or are
    government and shoot down civilians:: just for the fun part of
    being a lawyer, etc.

  9. bob

    July 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    if you have a email mailout list put me on it, pls
    dont bother saying you are on faceless or twitterless etc,
    they are solely the purvey of the brain dead

  10. NewLawyer

    July 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Or you could be an editor to this site…you sure need one! ;-)

    “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. “

  11. DogLawyer

    July 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I can gladly say that I’m a real life lawyer turned dog walker. I opened up my own company and not only am I much happier, I’m actually making more than I was as an associate and continuously growing. Imagine that. I would rather roll around in dog shit than work for any of my old bosses!

    • That'sWhatHeSaid

      July 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Ha! I know that is you SM! And congratulations from going from an extremely shitty profession to a less shitty one even though that’s what you pick up all day!

  12. Deja

    July 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I toy with the idea of other jobs, but I still want to be a lawyer. I would just like to be an independently wealthy one, who could take on only clients and cases of my own choosing.

  13. arly

    July 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Actually, one of my classmates from law school is doing quite well for herself as a standup comic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>