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Question: Need Advice on Selling Successful Criminal Law Practice and Transitioning to a Business Practice at a Large Law Firm

Attorney Career Question: I have been practicing for 12 years. My first six years were spent at the public defender's office in one of the 2 largest cities in the country. I handled everything from misdemeanors to homicides.

After that, I opened my own law firm. I still did criminal defense, but I moved into immigration as well. I have developed a lucrative niche in an ethnic community. My firm generates 500K/year in revenues. But I no longer enjoy dealing with the hundreds of clients, and want to sell the firm.

I am interested in working at a larger firm that represents businesses. I haven't got any of the experience that they look for. How do I make the jump? Thanks.

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My suggestion is not to jump , but take some serious time to transition making sure that your ultimate goal is the one you really want. Begin by making detailed lists and asking yourself questions that require deep thought before responding.

What about your present work have you loved doing? What are the specific things you dislike? What skills do you have and enjoy using that fit the new position profile? What are the ones that you would need to develop? It can't be true that you do not have ANY experience that fits their needs. Have you looked closely at the postion you are seeking? Are you sure that you won't be at the beck and call of a lot of clients albeit different from the ones you have now?

What about other details that could make or break your day? Who do you know there who would be willing to fill you in about the pros and cons of working there? Use your lists to compare your present situation to the one you are seeking.

Consider taking time off after selling your firm to get to know yourself on a much deeper level before jumping. Open yourself to other possibilites that fit your skill set and things you love to do. Try something temporarily that has always been on the back of your mind which you haven't taken seriously. A coaching client of mine left his litigation firm with a dream job in mind in environmental law. The right job did not present itself for a few years, but in the meantime he tried teaching. He learned a lot and enjoyed himself. The transition period helped him become very clear on what it was that he wanted. And he got it! I am sure you will as well.
Best of luck,
Dorene Lehavi, PH.D.

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