Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've been thinking a lot lately about my career as a lawyer. While I generally enjoy practicing, there are definitely things I dislike about it. The billable hour requirement tops that list. I don't mind working long hours, but I hate the fact that our work is judged so much on quantity, rather than quality. Additionally, I wish my job allowed me more time to write, which I really enjoy and consider myself to be pretty good at doing.

I've been thinking about whether I would ever consider the option of going into teaching. That would be a giant lifestyle change. An entry-level position as a law professor would probably be making me about a third of the money I make now, maybe less. And I'd definitely be devoting a lot of time to scholarship, as well as teaching -- the hours would be just as long as my hours are now, really, if not longer.

One attractive option I have before me is to apply for a fellowship that would get me two years of experience as basically a teaching apprentice, as well as an advanced law degree called a J.S.D. (basically the law equivalent of a Ph.D.) Tuition would be waived if I made it in, but the stipend I'd be getting is literally equal to about 25% of my salary now. And of course, it would be a lot of work.

I don't know yet whether I'm going to apply, but I do know that if I were planning on children, I wouldn't even see it as an option. I'd probably ignore the feelings I have about my current career, either figuring I'd quit once I became a mommy, or simply figuring I'd go to a reduced level of practicing law -- who has the energy for a huge career change with little ones running around? Or the financial stability to risk such a huge salary cut? My husband and I could survive fine (very nicely, really) on his salary plus the stipend I'd be getting. But with three or more of us -- no way.

No matter which direction I end up taking, I'll be grateful for the fact that I have the freedom to choose.

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