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Women Lawyers Transition to More Satisfying Careers

Even in the best of times, the law can make for a difficult career.  These days, a combination of various economic conditions and lifestyle factors are prompting many women lawyers to make changes in their careers and to find better opportunities for themselves.

This article, by Christy Burke, profiles five women lawyers who have made successful and satisfying career changes:

  • Carolyn Elefant, who left the law firm where she had been employed to start her own successful solo practice and become a well-known blogger and book author who now provides much useful information to other lawyers who are in solo practice or considering moving to it;
  • Sari Gabay-Rafiy, a partner in the two-lawyer firm of Gabay-Rafiy & Bowler LLP, who has created a successful network of women lawyers who refer business to one another, to address the challenges female lawyers face when they operate solo practices or small firms;
  • Maia Spilman, the executive vice president of business and legal affairs for a digital distribution company called INgrooves, who combines the benefits of a position as in-house counsel with an independent law practice that she operates in her spare time;
  • Amy Hinzmann, whose career began in private practice, then led her to a job as in-house counsel at Merrill Lynch, and eventually to her current position: vice president of discovery strategy for DiscoverReady, a company that manages the document review process and provides services to manage electronic discovery; and
  • Jessica Porter, a college art history major, turned lawyer, turned proprietor and curator of Raandesk Gallery, a virtual online art gallery, who also markets art works directly to lawyers.

These women share their stories and affirm that there are many ways to have a successful career in the law; private practice at a law firm is just one of several options.  Their success will motivate and inspire all lawyers--women and men--who are exploring possible changes in their careers with a clear message: You can alter your legal career path and find a situation that offers you work that you find more satisfying.  It's possible; the five lawyers mentioned above have done it.

By Steve Imparl, guest blogger

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