Taking a Break for Perspective’s Sake

Careers in law are demanding, to say the least. Between the rigors of law school, studying for and passing the bar, scrambling to keep up with whatever’s new in an ever-changing industry, proving yourself within your firm, and pursuing future career goals – all while practicing daily – no one could be blamed for feeling a little lost in the shuffle. Which is exactly why the sabbatical is gaining renewed popularity among lawyers and other professionals needing to recharge their passion and gain new perspective in their careers. No longer reserved for college professors, taking sabbaticals is becoming a new option for lawyers who are unsure of their next move or need to cleanse their career palates before redirecting their efforts in a new way, according to a recent ABA Journal article.

As we’ve discussed many times in this blog, the legal profession endures the singular challenge of being reviled by many, leaving lawyers struggling with their professional identities as they try to make their mark on the world, all while trying to persuade a skeptical public that they really aren’t bad people. Taking the opportunity to step away and reconnect with lost pursuits, or to explore new ones, can help clarify goals and bring lawyers back to their careers with a more focused outlook and sense of purpose. By the same token, time spent away also can help a lawyer decide if perhaps it’s time to leave the profession permanently. Either way, the outcome can be seen as positive: no one wants to work with or be represented by a lawyer who’s lost their passion for the job, or who isn’t sure they’re following their true path. The best lawyers are always going to be those who believe in what they are doing and pursuing it with fiery determination and dedication.

Whether staying at home to focus on raising a family for a period of time, taking classes in something you’ve always wanted to try, or taking off on a grand adventure, a sabbatical just may give you the answers you’re looking for when all else fails.

Benefitted from a sabbatical? Share your experiences below.