"that one identical with you."
[The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,
Fourth Edition (Copyright 2000, Houghton Mifflin Company)]

This article addresses the consequences faced by attorneys who enter one practice area (e.g., corporate) in the job market, only to find that their personalities lead them to surmise that they are better suited to another practice area (e.g., litigation). When faced with such challenge, attorneys generally attempt to "switch gears." We will briefly touch upon the hurdles encountered by lawyers who wish to change their practice area at any stage in their careers. Furthermore, we will discuss how to best avoid this incredibly challenging pitfall altogether. The key is that you must clearly understand your "self," or "that one identical with you."

"The Call"

Every week, I wait. I wait for "The Call" that is sure to come. Sometimes, it arrives via a mid-level at a top Manhattan firm. Other times, it arrives in the form of a voice of a junior associate or even a senior partner with substantial portables. Mostly, "The Call" arrives on Monday or following a long holiday weekend. Its arrival never surprises me, as weekends and holidays often serve as mini-vacations. For many lawyers, it is a time for contemplation, thought, and/or self-evaluation. It is this quiet time that, for some practitioners, acts as a catalyst for "The Call." During their downtime, attorneys reflect (although not all will admit it). During reflection, some practitioners find themselves thinking a random but unusually pervasive thought; namely, "How did I get here? Why did I choose this practice when I wanted to do X?" It is this professional query that we will discuss herein; it is this query that is the dialogue of "The Call."