On Finding Happiness and Fulfillment as a New Lawyer with Alison Monahan [GWL 05]

Alison is a former Biglaw attorney and is the founder of The Girl’s Guide to Law School, an online blog/learning resource created to help law students get what they want out of their law school experience. In this episode, we chat about her journey from Biglaw to unemployed to founding an awesome business which provides support for law students and young lawyers and helps them discover their strengths!

Show Notes

Motivational Quote: “It’s going to be somebody, so it might as well be me.” Jessica Herrin – Founder of Stella and Dot

Despite going to a top tier school, clerking for a judge and landing a job at a Biglaw firm, Alison was unhappy. She never took to time to evaluate her life and ask herself why she was doing this? Why she wanted to go to law school?

The amount of hours and work at her Biglaw job were not sustainable. Even though she liked her job and her coworkers and she had a lot of control over the type of work she was doing, Alison realized it was not the type of life she wanted to be living.

If you’re unhappy being a lawyer, ask yourself: What exactly is going on here? Is there another area that might be more suited to you and can you explore that further?

Georgetown Law – Search Before the Search – a program developed for first year students to take ownership of their professional development from the first days of law.  1L’s  take the whole bunch of personality tests to see what the best fit for them.

Law schools should provide students with the necessary tools to handle stress in the profession.  It’s not enough to teach someone how to read a case, ideally you have to teach them how to be functioning members of the profession.

Re: The Girl’s Guide to Law School

When Alison left her Biglaw gig, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She considered publishing her book The Girl’s Guide to Law School but it wasn’t that simple finding an agent and publisher. So for a few months, she did nothing and absolutely loved it!

After some serious self-reflection, she decided to put her programming background to work and launched The Girl’s Guide as a website/blog.

Then, she met her current business partner Lee Burgess on Twitter. Together, they developed the Law School Toolbox, the Bar Exam Toolbox, and Trebuchet Legal.

She and Lee decided to take the stuff Lee was teaching her students who had failed the California bar exam and needed help and deconstruct the law school experience. They now offer one-on-one tutoring, courses, and many other valuable resources that help law students and new lawyers gain some necessary skills.

The happiest lawyers are those who have done something that suits them and their personalities, whether it involves opening a solo practice where they can be more entrepreneurial or going in-house. They found something that made them happy.

Recommended Reading:

Brene Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Affiliate Link*)

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn – The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career (Affiliate Link*)

Carol Dweck – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Affiliate Link*)

Action Item:

Break things down. Best thing to today is to take one baby step towards some sort of interest. These baby steps will really propel you forward.

People overestimate what they can do in a day but they underestimate what they can do in a year.

Alison’s Contact Info:

Email: Alison@thegirlsguidetolawschool.com





Thanks for Checking Out the Show Notes and for Listening!

I really hope you enjoyed this episode. It was certainly a great experience for me.

If you feel like you just can’t keep the excitement you feel for this episode to yourself, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please don’t forget to subscribe to the GWL Podcast in iTunes or in Stitcher Radio. That way, every time I prepare a new episode for you, it’ll automatically show up in your phone.  No Fear Of Missing Out here.

Once last thing: I would truly appreciate it if you could leave an honest review for The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast in iTunes. Positive ratings and reviews help boost the visibility of the show and help me in reaching more young lawyers.

*Disclosure:  Please note that the link above is an affiliate link, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase this book for your reading pleasure.