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Well not really a change in career per se I would still work in legal, but change from civil defense to criminal defense full time.

 

For the past few months, I have been helping a solo criminal attorney set up his practice on a part time basis after work and on some Saturday's.

 

I have been helping him market his business (advertiseing), set up his office and interviewing potential clients.

 

He won't represent clients he knows are guilty, only the ones he senses are innocent. Although realizes some could still be guilty.

 

This includes those charged with drug dealing, robberies, assault and battery, even some accused of rape.

 

It's clear after interviewing, most are innocent, for some it's questionable.

 

Anyway, he is getting very busy now and needs someone full time and has asked me to join and team up with him.

 

I am finding that I really enjoy the work, and even feel this is sort of my calling; problem is he can't pay me nearly as much as my job now, and my lifestyle would change dramatically because of it.

 

I'd have to move from a beautiful apt on the bay paying $1750 per month to a small studio no more than $1000 per month or even less. Less going out, less travel, less shopping, less spa days, lol.

 

I know it sounds super shallow but I've been living this way for long time, plus I am questioning my ability to assist an attorney who may possibly get those guilty of an egregious crime off!

 

Can I do this? While violent crime sickens me, it also sickens me how many innocent people are convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. And how corrupt our police dept and district attorney's office has become in our city, I've witnessed it!

 

My bf said I can move in with him but if we choose to live together I don't want it to be because of financial reasons.

 

I am really struggling with this decision!

 

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!!

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Usually I am all for doing what you like even if you earn less money. Not in this case though. First, the salary is considerably lower and second since he is a solo attorney there is no job stability. Unless you hate your job which seems you don't, I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Plus, do you want to get involved with the sort of people he will be having as clients?

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Usually I am all for doing what you like even if you earn less money. Not in this case though. First, the salary is considerably lower and second since he is a solo attorney there is no job stability. Unless you hate your job which seems you don't, I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Plus, do you want to get involved with the sort of people he will be having as clients?

 

Fair points but again he will not choose to represent clients he knows are guilty (although he realizes under our country's Constitution, everyone is entitled to a zealous defense).

 

It's just his preference not to.

 

No I do not hate my job, I don't love it either, the work is mundane and not very gratifying.

 

The money is good though but should that be the driving force to stay?

 

This is one of the issues I am struggling with.

 

Thanks dias. :)

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I am curious, is there a way, after you get some experience in this area under your belt, to move to a firm that will pay you better? Is taking this job change a permanent change of financial status or a temporary one? If it is temporary and you should ultimately earn a comfortable living (perhaps not as well as you are doing now) but doing something more fulfilling, then maybe you should change positions. But if you will never earn an income you are truly comfortable with, you need to think about that in terms of the rest of your life.

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Why would you consider taking a pay cut?

 

He does not have the financial resources just yet to pay me what my current job pays and I find the work more rewarding than civil work..

 

I know it sounds odd, even unconscionable to some that I do find such work rewarding but there are many reasons for this.

 

Some of those reasons explained in my initial post.

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I know he can't afford it. I'm trying to understand why you would consider sacrificing your lifestyle because he can't afford it.

 

ETA: I see you've edited your reply since my response. It's really your personal choice to decide whether the reward you get from the work makes up for the resulting lack of income.

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There are only 2 valid reasons that I'd take such a drastic pay cut (and I have before, so I do understand):

 

You are miserable at your current job

or

You believe this to be a stepping stone to something greater.

 

Remember, if you take this position and in 6 months, you've moved, you've downgraded, and you hate the job, you are back at square one.

 

Me? I wouldn't do it. And yes, I have taken a drastic pay cut, on purpose. I changed jobs to make 60% less, but it was for both of my above reasons combined. This one.....not sure I'd do it.

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I know he can't afford it. I'm trying to understand why you would consider sacrificing your lifestyle because he can't afford it.

 

I explained in my initial post J.

 

But you've made your point, for you the money, lifestyle is the motivating factor, trumps all else -- job satisfaction, reward for helping those who might very well be innocent, being happy.

 

I respect your opinion. For me though I am questioning those values, whether money/lfestyle should be the motivating factor.

Edited by katrina1980
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I would stick with your current job. You have too many doubts about taking on this new position.

 

If you’re more interested in criminal law, why don’t you keep your current job, but keep your eyes open for a criminal defence job at a firm, where they can pay you more money so you don’t have to sacrifice your stability/lifestyle?

 

In the meantime and maybe before you apply for other jobs, see if you can continue to assist this criminal attorney on a part-time basis, so you can get a feel for the work and clients in order to see if it’s really the type of work you’d like?

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I explained in my my initial post J.

 

But you've made your point, for you the money is the motivating factor, trumps all else -- job satisfaction, reward for helping those who are innocent, being happy.

 

I respect your opinion. For me though I am questioning those values, money being the motivating factor.

 

I actually just modified that last post after I saw your edit. For the record, I didn't say anything about my own motivation. What you say above is your own opinion of me.

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I would stick with your current job. You have too many doubts about taking on this new position.

 

If you’re more interested in criminal law, why don’t you keep your current job, but keep your eyes open for a criminal defence job at a firm, where they can pay you more money so you don’t have to sacrifice your stability/lifestyle?

 

In the meantime and maybe before you apply for other jobs, see if you can continue to assist this criminal attorney on a part-time basis, so you can get a feel for the work and clients in order to see if it’s really the type of work you’d like?

 

Thanks milly, that is good solid advice!! :)

 

I already have a feel for the work and clients though, been doing it for a few months.

 

Not that long though, so yeah good idea to give it more time.

 

One thing that appeals to me about this attorney is his ethics in choosing to represent clients he knows or senses are innocent.

 

To be honest, I don't think I could work for an attorney who would represent a client knowing he or she was guilty of an egregious crime such as rape or murder.

Edited by katrina1980
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There are only 2 valid reasons that I'd take such a drastic pay cut (and I have before, so I do understand):

You are miserable at your current job

or

You believe this to be a stepping stone to something greater.

Remember, if you take this position and in 6 months, you've moved, you've downgraded, and you hate the job, you are back at square one.

 

Me? I wouldn't do it. And yes, I have taken a drastic pay cut, on purpose. I changed jobs to make 60% less, but it was for both of my above reasons combined. This one.....not sure I'd do it.

This.

 

Again, I am not against your decision to do what you like (especially me) but are you sure you would like this job? There are innocent people who go to jail and it's great that there is someone to represent them in the court. But, to what extent are you going to get involved in the whole process? Would you have a meaningful impact? I mean, if you want to do it for humanitarian reasons , you should know exactly what your position and responsibilities will be and if it allows you to have a significant impact.

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I actually just modified that last post after I saw your edit. For the record, I didn't say anything about my own motivation. What you say above is your own opinion of me.

 

I guess it was my opinion based on your posts/questions.

 

Apologies if I misinterpreted.

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@dias, I would have a significant role which is also very appealing.

 

Right now I've been interviewing and doing the initial assessment of some cases, and he values my ability to be fair and impartial and seek out all the facts.

 

I have also assisted him with strategy and he values my input about that too.

 

In fact, he often tells me I would make a great attorney and tbh if I came into a boatload of money, I would consider it!

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So I’m all for taking a pay cut to follow a passion - my husband did almost 20 years ago but the field he went into simply doesn’t have the pay scale of his former field and never will. So it’s not a pay cut for doing the same type of work and had he wanted to return to his former field he would not have had to continue at the lower salary. His choice required no change in lifestyle whatsoever and still doesn’t. I also took a huge pay cut when I returned to work because the current job is part time and permits me to telework a lot and gives me a lot of flexibility which I need if I don’t want to increase childcare beyond what I have now. And I don’t. And that would be expensive anyway.

 

 

I shake my head so much at your “super shallow” comment - why is liking nice things and a nice place to live and an occasional spa day super shallow? And aren’t you also able ti save for the future?

 

For 15 years I made quite a high salary and built a nest egg for 12 of those years. Psychologically it made me feel better about being a full time mom for 7 years and on a practical level I contributed to the family income monthly even though we didn’t need it. But if we did need it for some reason now I think I could get a higher paying full time job. Because I could explain the pay cut as a trade off for child care and wanting time with my child.

 

Back to you. Here’s what I would do. Keep your current job. Find an organization where you can volunteer in criminal defense nights and or weekends to see more of what it’s really like.

 

And strongly consider going to law school so that if you find passion in that work you can get involved right at the front lines not behind the scenes. I have a friend who is a paralegal at a big firm. She has a teenager and two young kids including one with autism. Her husband is a stay at home dad. And she is done with two years of law school going part time at night. It’s so exciting and inspirational!

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Just to add something different to the convo, I'm thinking of all the context of your life right now, and that this would be another huge life stressor ( maybe positive, but still a stressor that adds an element of instability).

I can't tell you what is right for you. I do know for me, when my mom's illness was nearing its final stages, and afterwards, it was so helpful to have something that felt solid in my life to not have to worry about.

It's another aspect to think about. You recognize the spark here - you feel this pull to criminal justice and to expanding your role. That's awesome!! This isn't the only path nor opportunity for that, remember. You can pursue that whether you say yes or decline this particular opportunity.

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I wouldn't jump ship if you have to compromise your standard of living. Stay where you are! You currently have a beautiful apt on the bay, have enough money for dining out, going out, travel, shopping and spa days. Keep your current income so you can enjoy your life!

 

Don't move in with your boyfriend. Enjoy your financial independence! Be strong.

 

The solo criminal attorney can't pay you nearly as much as your job now which is a real deal breaker IMHO. That's a no brainer!

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I was going to say something along the lines of itsallgrand. Sounds like you've got a lot of balls in the air right now, and you've mentioned feeling scattered and emotional in a few threads, your own and others. You'll make the choice that works best for you, but might be worth asking if this is the optimal time for a massive shift, especially one that makes you less secure financially.

 

It sounds like this opportunity has come about organically—that your side work with this guy has helped stir some new interests, focus the compass a bit. Great! From what I gather on ENA you've been itching for a bit more professionally for a minute now—the London move, and so on.

 

But this lawyer is hardly the only criminal defense lawyer, and criminal defense is a field where there is plenty of money to be made. So maybe he's opened your eyes to the next move without having to be the move, if that makes sense.

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Just to add something different to the convo, I'm thinking of all the context of your life right now, and that this would be another huge life stressor ( maybe positive, but still a stressor that adds an element of instability).

I can't tell you what is right for you. I do know for me, when my mom's illness was nearing its final stages, and afterwards, it was so helpful to have something that felt solid in my life to not have to worry about.

It's another aspect to think about. You recognize the spark here - you feel this pull to criminal justice and to expanding your role. That's awesome!! This isn't the only path nor opportunity for that, remember. You can pursue that whether you say yes or decline this particular opportunity.

 

Thank you grand, I find myself reading this over and over, it really hits home.

 

I do feel the pull, which is why I applied to the part-time job in the first place, I certainly did not need the extra money, although it's nice to have. :)

 

And now that I have gotten exposure, I'm more drawn to it than ever.

 

At the end of day, it's a great way to gain experience in the field; without that, it would very difficult to sell myself to a larger firm, even with my many years of civil.

 

I could do this for a year, gain solid experience, then apply to the larger firms offering more stability, money, benefits.

 

Some may view this as a somewhat chaotic choice with all I have currently going on, and that's true.

 

But knowing myself, it's a good positive chaos and may take my mind off all the negative chaos if that makes sense. It does to me.

 

Have not made up my mind yet, still considering my options, and really appreciate everyone's thoughts while I sort this out.

 

I will update after making decision!

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Some may view this as a somewhat chaotic choice with all I have currently going on, and that's true.

 

But knowing myself, it's a good positive chaos and may take my mind off all the negative chaos if that makes sense. It does to me.

 

This makes sense to me, generally. I'll admit the rub here is that, in your first post, you brought some of that other chaos into this one in mentioning that your boyfriend is down with you moving in with him.

 

You don't want to move for financial reasons, I get it. But you two have, by the sounds of it, at least talked about the move in parallel to this job—that a plus would be a softening of the new financial reality.

 

Lots of moving pieces, is all I'm saying. Sometimes in those moments its hard to know when one is nudging against the other, even when we think we've got them all in separate compartments.

 

All that said, it sounds like this experience with the new lawyer has been a good one—kind of came about organically, opened up some new portals inside you, stirred some waters, perhaps scratching the same itch that London had scratched, but not quite in the right way. And that's great. But he's hardly the only opportunity in criminal law, so maybe he's less the next move than the chapter that gets you focused on that.

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This alone would be a "No" for me.

he can't pay me nearly as much as my job now, and my lifestyle would change dramatically because of it. I'd have to move from a beautiful apt on the bay paying $1750 per month to a small studio no more than $1000 per month or even less.
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Also check what he can offer you for family leave since you said you want to try to get pregnant.

 

All of Batya's posts in this topic have been great, as she makes many excellent points. This one has not yet been brought up, not just about family leave (which he'd have to offer as law, no?), but in a broader sense, what type of benefits can he offer vs. what you have now?

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