Following Your Passion: Build a Bridge or Take a Leap?
When I look at my traffic on the blog every month, the same few articles are at the top of the heap every time: Objecting to Discovery Requests under the new FRCP 34; Beware of Bogus Requests for Admission; Your Client Died during the Case – How about a Suggestion of Death?; and What Is a Party’s Duty to Supplement Discovery?
The trouble (if you can call it that) is these aren’t the types of articles I most enjoy writing. But they are the issues I and other lawyers are encountering on a regular basis and frequently have questions about. They are the types of things lawyers are going to Google to find more information about. These articles are a useful, practical resource for lawyers, and I’m proud of that. It’s just that there are other topics I like writing about more.
So for my blog to have the furthest reach, I have to strike a balance between the things lawyers are searching for and the other things I want to write on. Your law practice may not be so different. Maybe your practice is almost exclusively workers’ comp defense but you really enjoy generally liability work. You do mostly family law but would rather do animal rights law. You’re known as a criminal defense lawyer but your passion is wills, estates, and trusts. So how do you get there?
Bridging the Gap to Your Passion
Your current practice is a land mass. The practice you want to have is a separate land mass. Running between them is a raging river of doubt, uncertainty, and — let’s be real — student loans and other monthly expenses. You could take a blind leap of faith. You could just stop taking criminal cases and hope some folks will call you to do their will. I could stop writing about discovery and the rules of civil procedure, and only write about practice and client management topics. For that matter, I could quit my job so I could have more time to write the five books that I’ve started either writing or planning.
But the boom-or-bust method does not put you in a situation for the greatest likelihood of success. A better strategy is to build a bridge from the practice you have to the one you want. While continuing to do your family practice work and take new cases, you begin letting those clients know you can also handle animal rights or estate issues. You update your website. Send out an informational email to your subscriber list and perhaps to other lawyers in the area. Run some Facebook or Instagram ads. As you begin to develop the new line of business, you will begin to bridge the gap between the practice you have had and the practice you want to have.
It won’t happen overnight and perhaps your work will never consist solely of the types of cases you most enjoy. But at a minimum, it will give you an outlet, something to look forward to in your caseload. The important thing is that you plan and make positive steps toward the transition. Toward the work your are passionate about. So that you can begin to pay the bills with the work that gives you more drive and inspiration.
Photo by John Lloyd.