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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Johnson

Disillusioned with Practicing Law

After I took the Bar exam, I was like many other overachieving law school grads who were excited to begin their legal careers. I was excited to make a difference, excited to help people, excited to use my knowledge as a lawyer to change the world.

And then reality hit.

Practicing law wasn’t at all what I thought it would be.

It was long hours. Usually 80 hour weeks.

It was constantly dealing with crabby, demanding people.

It was constantly having to fire at 100% because everything - and I mean everything - was needed ASAP. [Project management and prioritization is a growth edge for many lawyers!]

It was having a partner come into my office at 4pm on a Friday and tell me she needed a memo about some convoluted aspect of law by Monday morning. Which meant I had to work over the weekend. (Seriously, you couldn’t have asked for this earlier in the week??) And then delivering the memo on time only to hear that it was no longer needed. 😐

I did do some pro bono work, and I loved it. It fed my heart. I felt like I was making a real contribution to society. But I couldn’t spend too much time on pro bono work because I couldn’t bill for it.

About the time that I became completely disillusioned with law and was totally burnt out, my heart started opening up to something greater than me. I was living in DC and I remember thinking that there had to be more to life than working 80 hours/week.

So I started exploring my heart’s desires. I started listening to my intuition, to my body, to my greater being. My mind had been (unilaterally) running the show for quite a few years since law is very cerebral, but other parts of my being needed attention and nurturance.

As I listened to more of my heart, I found that my intuition grew, my empathy grew, my awareness of life around me grew.

So I stopped practicing law completely because it wasn’t in alignment with who I was becoming.

Now I’m an attorney mentor who helps other lawyers create a more heart-centered life. I love helping lawyers regain a sense of balance (we’re not just our legal practices!), explore the things in life that light them up, help them listen to their hearts and act from that place.

It's the best of both worlds for me. I get to use my spiritual gifts AND I get to have really exciting, high-level conversations with lawyers. I get to use both the right- and left-sides of my brain. A win-win for me!

As lawyers, we're taught that our clients' needs come before our own. And we often have to sacrifice so much for the practice of law.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

We can re-write how law is practiced so we can reclaim our freedom, our health, and our joy.

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