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You love legal technology, and you hate actually practicing law. Now what? Do you throw out all that schooling and experience (not to mention the attractive salary) and start all over again? How do you begin to explain this to friends and family? The good news: You have very good options for a new job, where your background will be an asset, not a hindrance. You can take your love of legal tech and segue into a job that will be much more satisfying. Self-Analysis The first step for a successful transition: conduct a self-analysis to find out why you want the change in the first place. Make a list of motivators, and rank them in order of importance. Here are typical desires: � more personal time (less hours); � greater career challenges; � greater chance for advancement; � more independence; � greater input (your views having an impact); � opportunity to work closer to home or telecommute; � working with cutting-edge technology; and � better benefits. Are you surprised that money is not on the list? Unless you are facing a severe drop in salary, it’s simply not relevant except for deciding between opportunities. Here’s why: If you take a position only for money, you may lose sight of the day-to-day aspects of a position that could make the job undesirable. Conversely, if you like the job, and you are offered compensation anywhere near your goal, it is extremely likely you will have a successful stay. Options So what kind of technology positions are available where you can parlay your big-firm experience? You may be ideally suited to take a job either inside a large firm or outside. Inside jobs can include litigation support, technology support, I.T. directors, knowledge management, trainers and so on. Outside opportunities may be found with associations, schools and vendors as litigation consultants, legal researchers, sales, project managers or in the exploding areas of compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, Securities and Exchange Commission, HIPPA, etc.) and electronic data discovery. A great option for people who are in transition is to offer your services to one of the litigation consulting practices that perform document review. It is a great way to discover the other side of the industry, with very little commitment – and you can be paid handsomely on an hourly basis while you figure out your career challenges. The best way to earn associate or partner dollars, without having to work the associated hours, is to migrate into sales for a litigation technology vendor. Typically, starting base salaries vary from $50,000 to $125,000, and first-year compensation can run from $85,000 to $175,000. The good news is that after you have successfully made a transition into sales, it is not unusual to see compensation levels in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. Here’s a typical situation. “Jennifer” Smith was a graduate of a top-20 law school, law review member and veteran of big-firm practices on both coasts. She had always had some interest in computers and technology but had never pursued it beyond taking a few undergraduate classes. As a litigator handling large securities cases, Smith dealt with electronic discovery requests and responses in class actions and government investigations. Her interest in technology led her to attend seminars and read articles on e-discovery; she quickly became the firm’s inside EDD expert. She began writing articles and giving presentations at the firm. After realistically appraising her chances of making partner in a down market (only one associate made it the year before), she started exploring alternatives that would take advantage of her experience, but not lock her into a partnership track or the netherworld of “Of Counsel.” When she started her new job search, she was surprised to see how much interest there was. She eventually landed a job at a top litigation support vendor, incorporating both her legal background with her technology interest and eventually making as much or more than she would have as an associate with a far more rewarding work experience. Resume Tips Keep this in mind: Nobody reads an entire r�sum�, they skim it. Hiring managers review 25 to 250 r�sum�s a day, and learn to “eyeball” r�sum�s and make quick judgments. Here are some tips: � Less is more: Approach writing your r�sum� like a John Grisham novel – it needs to grab the reader quickly. Less is decidedly more on cover letters. Do not spend an abundant amount of time explaining what you do on your job. Instead, tout your successes (with bullets). That is all anyone needs to see. � Summary statement: Your summary should be brief. First, include your title and years of experience. Second, list pertinent skills. Third, discuss your character traits or work style. Example: “Litigation support project manager with more than five years’ experience with two AmLaw 100 law firms. Technical skills include database management, electronic discovery and trial presentation support. Several years’ experience in vendor management and quality assurance. Well-versed in legal procedure and process. Comfortable presenting to both attorneys and technical staff.” � Career objective statement: This is optional. If your objective doesn’t match the recruiter’s needs, you may miss a golden opportunity. But a clearly stated career objective can help your recruiter see a match. � Other experience and skills: Include education, professional training, affiliations/appointments, licenses, technical skills and languages. For legal technology positions, list your software expertise. Final Advice If you don’t use a recruiter, don’t be afraid to market yourself directly to the hiring authority – not the HR department – and don’t be afraid to do so even if there is no position open. In other words, if you are interested in the Widget Company’s technology department, don’t be afraid to contact the I.T. director directly. When you market to either a newspaper ad, job board posting or Web site request, you end up competing against thousands of others who are doing the same thing. You could be the best candidate available and easily be overlooked by the HR department. Conversely, if your r�sum� is in the hands of a president, general counsel or I.T. director, you may get the inside track to the job you want. Also: Network, network, network. Attend industry trade shows and seminars. Spread the word that you are looking. Good luck! Potters is managing partner at The Glenmont Group, an executive search firm that focuses on legal technology.

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