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The critical thinking skills that are burned into law students’ brains for three years are essential in nearly every profession, Camille Walker says. Walker is a former practicing attorney who left the profession to help attorneys who no longer have a passion to work in the legal community find their true callings. Two years ago, she started Career Strategy in Austin and conducts workshops that are designed to teach attendees to take charge of their law careers. Her findings about what can hinder folks in making the big change and how people can find their passion and true calling in life may help lawyers looking for a career change. POTHOLES ON PATH TO CHANGE � What’s behind curtain No. 2? Walker says she has found that while many practicing attorneys would like to break free and travel down a new path, they are unsure exactly what to do with their law degree — and that holds them back. “People don’t realize how valuable” a J.D. really is, Walker says. � The fear. The biggest drawback, she says, is a lack of confidence to walk away from a profession that required countless hours of study and a hefty financial investment. � Loss of status. Being an attorney is a status symbol in society, and it’s scary to give that up after working so hard for it. � But Mom! “Family expectations [are] a very big issue that people who want to change professions have to battle,” Walker says. “A person who goes through law school and then studies for and passes the bar sacrifices a lot. People naturally question why they are not utilizing it.” LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD � Whaddya wanna be when you grow up? The first thing Walker says she asks her clients to consider is what they thought they wanted to do when they were children. � What are you good at? Next she asks clients to consider their strongest tools. What interests them, what values do they hold, what are their life experiences, what do they want their life to look like in the end? � Make a list, check it twice. Figuring out the positives and negatives of every job you have had is another piece to the switching-careers puzzle, Walker says. � Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. In addition, lawyers should talk to people who know them well. What attributes or skills do they most compliment you on? � What makes you tick? Finally, Walker asks, what are you most passionate about? “It all comes down to passion,” she says when it comes to the decision-making process. Still, Walker says, many people who are trained in the law find it hard to make a change. “As attorneys we are trained to do what we do. We are trained to know all the answers and, if we don’t know the answers, we are trained to find them,” Walker says. “Fear of the unknown is big for lawyers.” Walker says that several of her clients who have made the decision to leave the legal profession to pursue alternative careers have a sense of buyer’s remorse in the initial stages. That’s natural. “There’s nothing that says you can’t go back to practicing law,” she reminds people considering a career change.

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