Three WILL success stories - Women interested in leaving law

WILL wins range from the micro to the macro. WILL Members and Alumni have set boundaries around bogus deadlines, taken weekends away with their spouses, and given notice to their firms. One even landed a job at her dream institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

I wish I could share them ALL with you.

Instead, I’ll just share a small sampling of the amazing things happening for WILL Members:

Daria and I spoke first in the summer of 2019. She was unhappy as a senior associate in “big law,” but was not yet ready to invest in herself and WILL. After a year and a half of Covid, and trying out different arrangements with her firm, she was still unhappy and ready to enroll in WILL! She’s made so much progress and has decided to leave her firm without something else lined up. She’s eager to start a blog and a business, and to spend time trying new things based on her interests, rather than someone else’s bottom line. She wants to share her personal history, and help immigrants, first generation Americans, or Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) who are new to making money and may have a lot of baggage and expectations about it.

When Daria decided to give notice, she worried that the very busy and stressed partner she works with would get angry or cry (or both!). But they ended up having a great conversation. The partner understood and supported Daria’s decision – even calling her brave for taking this step and not mindlessly working her way up to become an unhappy partner. It turns out the partner has been unhappy too, and Daria referred her to WILL! Daria is experiencing elation and major relief. Her husband and friends have already noticed a big change in her spirit. and she is ready to begin her next chapter.

Elizabeth #1 had already left big law and went to a small firm in the south. Still dissatisfied with working in law, she enrolled in WILL during the summer of 2020. Here’s what she said before she joined:

I feel like Sisyphus, if he had to bill every 6 minutes while trying to roll that ball up the hill and having someone fighting with him the entire time. I’m tired of the billables. I am tired of the conflict. But more than anything, I am tired of feeling like 80% of what I do doesn’t matter.

I do NOT want to be doing this job in 10 years.

Through WILL, she allowed her love for science, nutrition and learning to combine. On a WILL Community Call, she learned from another member who was grad school bound, that most PhD programs are funded! She applied for a nutrition science program, and was accepted!

One year after starting WILL, her life is radically different.

She sent this before heading to the Caribbean for a month before grad school:

As I pack up my apartment, I have to share this with you. I came across my stack of affirmation note cards with, “I’m proud of myself for leaving law” —the affirmation I wrote many months ago with no idea when or how it would happen.

I move out of my high rise condo Wednesday into something more budget friendly and closer to campus— a duplex in a great part of town with a deck shaded by an oak tree. It seems perfect for a more grounded, authentic me.

Next week, I get on a plane to the Caribbean for the rest of the month!

Thank you for all you’ve done to make this day/week/life happen!!

Elizabeth #2 has three kids, a husband and was a partner at a Northeast AmLaw 100 firm. While joining WILL, she expressed that she yearned for a fulfilling career through which she could support her family, yet allowed her to do good in the world.

Her disconnect between her values and work was bad enough, and then Covid happened. The days began to fill up with Zoom calls from 7am to 9pm. During this time, she slowed down her WILL work, but still made progress.

This past spring, she also decided to leave her firm. In May, she spoke with her firm’s leadership and left by the end of the month! WILL helped her clarify and attune to her skills, interests and values (of which you all have many!), and land a great counseling role with her dream employer. Plus, she took a month off to spend at the beach with her kids!

Now she says…

I wish I did not wait as long as I did to take more control over my life and schedule. BigLaw teaches you early and often that your time matters; it has value. But that valuable time seems to not belong to you and you may have little say in where and how you spend it.

In my new life, the same lesson applies – my time matters – but now I control how and where I spend my time. Doing WILL and achieving this result is the greatest gift I could have ever given myself.

Maybe your WILL success story will be featured a year from now.

How would you like that to read?

Elena

P.S. Did you know that once you enroll in WILL, you have access to the Alumni network? You get to be part of this web of amazing women doing awesome things in the world. The WILL network is here to help you, make introductions and expand your belief in what’s possible.

P.P.S. *Names and identifying characteristics have been changed.

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