I graduated with a Juris Doctor in May, 2009. My life goals at the time were simple: to make a lot of money and buy fancy sports cars.
Needless to say, life got interesting. My goals became more complicated as I found myself increasingly drawn away from the profession and into business. You might say I was having a professional “identity crisis”.
It all started when I found my first big law firm gig to be a misfit, and I ventured out to explore an alternative career path. I left the firm and moved to Toronto, Canada. Toronto has a strong entrepreneurial community and I wanted to be involved. After several great networking events, coffee-shop meetings, and brainstorming sessions, I joined forces with two colleagues and together we launched legallinkup.com, the website that matches lawyers and clients based on needs and expertise.
The experience of building an online business was incredible. The hours were long but it taught me a great deal about business and client acquisition. Every day felt like it could be the day we hit it big. The business took me from Toronto to Winnipeg, back to Toronto and then finally to Vancouver, where the start up adventure would come to an end. Not every start-up is the company you will be with forever– but I gave it a good run and learned a ton.
These days, the bulk of my time goes into my new law practice. Rather than waking up every day in the dynamic and uncertain world of a start-up, I wake up consumed by spousal support arrears and clients’ basement leaks — no fooling.
My friends and family joke around and ask me (all the time) “why did you make the return to practice”?
From time to time, I wonder the same thing, but less often with time. Lawyering allows me to affect change and help people every day. And although it’s not a start-up, lawyering is a great business. I mean, sure, like any business it has it’s stresses (no question about that). But it doesn’t come with as much uncertainty as a start-up. I get to help people while earning a reasonable income– and I like that.
So while I did for a time reject traditional legal practice in favor of a start-up, it was from the lessons I learned as a full time businessman that motivated me to return to the practice of law. I don’t wake up every morning ready to build a start-up empire anymore, but the clients that I serve appreciate my work and that’s a great feeling.