Baby boomer resigns from career in law

There’s nothing better than a reflective baby boomer … reflective about both past and future. That’s what we like about Irvine, California’s Lorie Eber’s contributions to BoomerCafé. This time, she explains why “Resigning from Law was the Best Thing I Ever Did.”

At age 49, I decided to walk away from my position as a partner in a prestigious law firm. To describe me as a workaholic during my 23-year career is akin to saying that Mark Zuckerberg is charitable or that Donald Trump is outspoken. Defense attorneys bill by the hour, more precisely by the tenth of an hour, and I routinely earned bragging rights as the “top biller” in the firm. As a result, I threw my partners for a loop when I announced my early retirement. I saw envy in their eyes and many confidently predicted that I’d be back. They overestimated the lure of the paycheck and misjudged my resolve. My announcement may have seemed impulsive, but it was actually a well-reasoned, deliberate determination.

Lorie Eber (left) at work with a colleague.

Lorie Eber (left) at work with a colleague.

In deciding to move on, I applied my well-honed legal reasoning skills. On the one hand, the money was good and unlikely to be equaled in a less stressful second career. And, despite the derogatory term “ambulance chasers” and the popularity of snarky lawyer jokes, a Jurisprudence degree still garners respect except in physicians’ offices. I’d valued those perks for a long time, but found myself in a different place in life.

I was about to begin my sixth decade on the planet and despite my Jewish upbringing, it was starting to dawn on me that racking up more achievements might not be the be-all and end-all of life. In addition to “Father Time” peering over my shoulder, two other factors weighed on me. While I still looked forward to going to the office, that “been there, done that” feeling started to permeate my psyche. I’d had a successful career by any standard. By dint of unwavering determination and perseverance I’d gained entry into the male-dominated partnership ranks. In the face of my partners’ predictions of failure, I’d founded and managed the firm’s only successful branch office for six years. What more was there to prove? Besides, I’m a 110%er and had no desire to stay on as the deadwood occupying the sacrosanct corner office.

Lorie Eber

Lorie Eber

But by far the biggest driver was my recent marriage to a man worthy of a major investment of time and attention. I’d already had a roommate-masquerading-as-a-husband first marriage and wasn’t eager to become a two-time marital loser. My instincts told me I was headed down that path unless I made a big change. I was firmly convinced that having a personal life and continuing to be a hotshot litigator were mutually incompatible endeavors. It was time to choose happiness.

I had no idea what direction my life would take at the time I announced my decision. What I did know was that traditional retirement held no allure. I’d rather shoot myself in the head than play golf all day. It was time to take a deeper dive into just-being-Lorie to unveil whatever traits and nascent skills lie buried under that tough litigator with the take-no-prisoners New York attitude. I thought I’d better start before I was too tired and feeble to take on the exploration.

The last decade has been quite an adventure. Despite the financial and emotional ups and downs of running my own start-up business as a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach, I have no regrets. For better or worse, my “Lorie the Lawyer” persona remains largely intact. I now proudly declare myself “The world’s only Type A Nutritionist and Wellness Coach.”

The best part of my post-law journey has been peeling back the onion layers. To my great relief I discovered some squelched but developable skills and talents outside of being a kick-ass attorney. I love a microphone as long as it’s not in a judge’s courtroom. Give me an audience and I can educate, amuse, and beguile. I’m still an education glutton and a straight-A student. There’s a part of my brain which sometimes cranks out creative writing. And, to use a trite phrase, “I’ve found my passion in life.” I’ve successfully turned my longtime avocation — health and wellness — into a second career.

It’s all good. I’m a happy camper. It took guts to make the change but I’d do it again in a New York minute.

7 Comments

  1. Fabulous piece! I walked away from the practice of law over a decade in order to work at my local public library and to spend more time on my writing. Now I have a job that I love, and I’m published all over the place (including here on Boomer Cafe). I’ve even been on the Today Show. That’s what happens when you follow your dream.

  2. Hooray. A kindred spirit. I left the law after 15 years, had a major life do-over, and have been doing speaking and life coaching for 15 years. I often describe myself as a “recovering” lawyer. I would love to set up a telephone coffee date sometime and share our experiences.

  3. YES Lorie! I think boomers need more stories like yours (and mine)! I didn’t quit but got fired as an academic librarian…just what I needed to get off my butt and become the person I was inside! Since then I’ve completed a few books on midlife psychology, had a speaking career and counseled those lost in midlife mayhem. I have learned that major changes in midlife couldn’t be more natural. This is the new rite of passage for boomers, not previously available in human history!
    It’s great to be alive today!

  4. Can’t say about the “Type A Nutritionist and Wellness Coach”, but I always enjoy the writer in you showing up at this particular Cafe! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

  5. What a well written inspiring piece. We have been collectively conditioned that high earnings equates with success and happiness. For some the realization comes late. Kudos to you for your courage and wisdom.

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