Leaving Law When It’s Your Second Career with Mary Eberle (TFLP 049)

What happens when you chose to go to law school after having a career in another field, and then you find yourself hating legal practice? The pressure to stick with the law when it’s your second career is immense. If you’re asking yourself, “Law is my second career—can I still leave?,” this week’s episode with Mary Eberle is for you.

Law is my second career. Can I still leave?

Mary’s first career was as a scientist. Although she enjoyed her work, eventually she decided to go back to law school and became a patent lawyer.

After graduating with her J.D., she practiced law for over 10 years in private practice, and was made a shareholder at her firm.

Law is my second career and I’m unhappy: could becoming a partner fix it?

Most people would think that Mary had arrived. After all, she had made partner!

But the truth was that Mary went into the review where she was told that she was being made a partner intending to quit.

She didn’t like legal practice and even though she had spent more than a decade building her career as a lawyer, she wasn’t happy.

Law is my second career, but I need to quit.

Mary knew that there was something better out there for her. She didn’t like legal practice, and she wasn’t willing to spend the rest of her life pretending she did.

Within a year of being made partner, she left her firm and started her first business. A couple years in, she was introduced to genetic genealogy and immediately knew that she wanted to pursue a career in it.

She retrained in genetic genealogy and opened her business, DNA Hunters, where she helps people find birth and unknown parents. Her business combines many of the skills she developed as a lawyer, including research and analysis, with her background in and love for science.

In this episode, Mary shares about:

  • The meeting in which she planned to quit, and instead was made a shareholder at her firm;
  • Not being told once in the entire 8 years that she worked at that firm that she had the second largest book of business amongst all the associates;
  • Other lawyers in her firms being confused by the fact that she was able to develop such good client relationships even though she was an introvert;
  • Why she’s so happy that she left;
  • How she uses all of the skills from her first career and her second career in her current business; and
  • much more!

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