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Perhaps you’re like I was a few years ago. Married with children — five, to be exact. I’d practiced for more than a decade at a large firm. Although the money was good, I was totally burned out. Something had to give. My practice just wasn’t fun anymore. Here’s where my career path differs from most burned-out lawyers from big firms, but not for long. John Cornyn was elected attorney general of Texas. He asked me to serve as his first assistant, enabling me to escape the big firm and serve the public instead. It was an awesome experience. Court appearances were plentiful — even two arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. But, of course, I was still married with children — did I mention there are five? And that costs a lot. So as fun as 2 1/2 years of public service was, I only made 25 percent of what I had made at the big firm. Ouch. I’ll never forget the day I decided to leave. I just finished my second argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was time to come home. But when I offered my American Express card to check out of the hotel, it was declined. Seems like three weeks of room service was too rich for my public servant’s salary. Guess I could have left home without it. Thank goodness for my mother-in-law. After a quick phone call, she loaned me the funds to pay the bill. Otherwise, I might still be there. Then I made a quick call to my wife and told her I had decided it was time to go back to the big bucks at the big firm. She was thrilled. I didn’t mention the credit card incident. But I knew the significance of this day. Exit Camelot; enter Billalot. So I did. Large corner office, bigger salary than before, and lots and lots of associates to overwork. I had finally made it. SECOND TOUR OF DUTY That lasted less than two years. The firm was great. But all the things that burned me out during my first tour of duty seemed even more annoying now. I decided it was time for a good old-fashioned mid-life crisis. A brand-new sports car, a brand-new house and a brand-new career, all in the same year. (I don’t advise doing all of that, especially all at once. It’s about as crazy as sliding down a razor blade into a pool of rubbing alcohol — but I did it.) Effective April 15 this year, I opened my own firm, Andy Taylor & Associates. The “Associates” is a misnomer. I only have one lawyer working with me. But if I ever get sued over the name of the firm being misleading, I have a great defense: She’s as good as three associates combined. By the way, it’s probably not a good idea to start out making a Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act misrepresentation on the first day of business, but that’s what I did. My new endeavor already has clocked six months, and I can truly say I’ve never been happier. I love owning my own business. Being in charge is refreshing. For starters, it takes me about seven seconds to decide if I can take a new piece of business. My overhead is low, so I can be competitive on price. And thankfully, it seems like there are a lot of clients out there who like to help out a small-firm lawyer, and I am happy to oblige. As for the future, I hope and pray that I can continue the momentum that my new firm is enjoying. After all, I am still married with children. Did I mention I have five kids? Why was I willing to share this story? Because maybe you’re feeling like I felt a few years ago. Discontent and ready for a new challenge. Striking out on your own is a challenge. But, if you’re like I was, you’re ready to do it. Go for it. Andy Taylor is the founder of Andy Taylor & Associates in Houston. His practice includes representation for the state of Texas, various elected officials and the Texas Association of Business in election law matters.

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