As soon as the reality of not having a job anymore sank in (after cleaning out my desk and closing out my cases), I headed home with a heavy heart. Sure, I’ll still be doing work for my office, but mostly from home because they don’t really have room for me, what with the summer interns.
So I’m back to where I was four months ago. Sure, I have a wealth of experience, but I also have some things to decide. For example, I used to want to do family law. But I think what I was looking for in family law isn’t what family law can offer me. I want to feel like I connect to my colleagues and my clients, I want to feel like I can actually do something to help my clients, and I want to feel like I’m making a difference. And I know this is potentially contentious, but as discussed, I like to be appreciated. Family law clients tend to hate their lawyers, because they never get everything they want, since what they want is the kids, alimony, and their ex to be lit on fire and thrown in a ditch. I’m not just talking about female clients, by the way.
The great thing about elder law is I love my clients. I feel like I connect really well with them, and I feel like I have the patience that this work requires. I’m not a good listener and I tend to be a terribly blunt person that hurts people’s feelings. The elderly tend to not mind repeating themselves for my benefit (often without me asking), and they have an appreciation for honesty, even if it comes in the form of bluntness. Many of my clients are tired of people beating around the bush and leading them on. I often talk to people who have been bounced from one agency to another because somebody was too chicken to tell them they had a bad case.
So I think I might want to continue working in elder law, but there aren’t a lot of jobs in it right now that I have found. Maybe I just don’t know how to look. I know all the right buzzwords for family law, but I’m not really sure how to search for elder law, beyond the “Seniors and retired persons” interest area on Idealist.org (why yes, nosy person I just met at a party, I have heard of Idealist.org.)
Anyone have any tips on switching a focus area or trying to reinvent your current skill set?