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October 19, 2010

In Transition . . . by Denise Menton

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. My father immediately asked me when I was going to get a job. In those days, kids did not move back home after college and live with their parents rent free until, well, eternity. It was clear that I needed to get a job right away and start supporting myself.

I took a job as a paralegal at a major law firm and then, about a year later, decided to go to law school. It seemed like a natural course of events. I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t think about what type of law I might enjoy and I wasn’t in it to fight injustice. When I started looking for a job, I only saw dollar signs-I wanted a job in as big and prestigious a law firm as possible. The summer after I graduated, I met a woman in my bar review class. She knew exactly what she wanted: a career in family law. She had a job lined up at a small family law firm. She was passionate about the work and excited about her future. Today, I believe she is one of the top matrimonial lawyers in the New York area. I lasted less than three years at my big firm job and left when I was pregnant with my first child. I have not practiced law since.

Over the years, I did a number of different things. I raised two children. I co-created and ran a fundraising benefit for a non-profit organization dedicated to helping abused women in New York City. I opened and ran a clothing store for preteen girls, one of the first of its kind specifically dedicated to that age group, I participated in a mediation program. But throughout it all, even though I was not practicing law, I always still felt like a lawyer. It’s not just that I trotted the title out when I wanted to impress someone-someone who asked what kind of work I did during those periods of time when I wasn’t actually doing anything, and “nothing” didn’t seem like a good answer. “Nothing…but I am a lawyer, just not working right now.” always seemed like a much better response. Plus, I did feel that the skills I learned in law school helped me in other areas of life. They had told me that in law school and I believe it to be true.

So here I sit, at another crossroads, another graduation of sorts. The kids have gone off to college, the photography auction has long been under the care of professionals, the store has closed, the mediation thing, well, it just didn’t work out-I hate listening to people fight. I need to figure out my next step. Maybe I will practice law.

I’m in transition. I know I’m not the only one…Thoughts anyone? Suggestions?

Posted by Denise Menton

October 22, 2010

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About October 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Lawyers in Transition in October 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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