I am a lawyer/stand-up comedian/teacher-turned-entrepreneur who is passionate about start-ups and new ideas, especially in the content space. I'm a co-founder of ReplyAll.me, the world's first Blogcasting platform that makes creating content as easy as emailing with friends. I'm a diehard Texans fan and a huge "60 Minutes" nerd.
Figure out what type of role you'd like to do before you make the jump. Do you like working with people? Are you bad at detail oriented work? There's definitely some other job out there designed for your personality. So, before you even make the jump you have to have a pretty good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses. Keep an eye out for interesting companies that could use someone with your background.
Once you find something promising, and the timing is right, you have to act. Apply for the job. Talk to someone from the company. Do something. It's easy to fall into the trap of overanalyzing and then letting the opportunity pass you by. You'll never be able to research your way to success. Your next opportunity will probably be filled with more risk than your current situation, so you might as well get used to acting with incomplete information.
If you're considering legal tech, keep in mind there are a lot of opportunities for someone like you. Many lawyers think going into tech means they have to learn how to code. Absolutely not! Take Logikcull for example. We currently have a ton of open job opportunities in sales, marketing, and customer success. The key skill you bring to the table is the ability to communicate with other lawyers. If you're not ready to make a move, but are simply curious about what's out there, don't hesitate to reach out to someone in the industry. Networking will go a long way.
I recognize that larger clients have the ability to drive change whether law firms like it or not, but I believe this is a case where everyone is getting on the same page. I think most firms would really like to do more non-hourly work for clients large and small. I’ll put it this way -- I haven’t seen too many people out there recently singing the praises of the billable hour!
I think the slow uptick has been caused by two things:
1. The status quo is easy. Change requires effort.
2. People are too busy to invest the time in change.
We’ve already talked about the change piece, so let’s move on to the time investment bit. “Not having enough time” is something people often point to as an impediment to trying new things. Listen to me: You’re never going to have enough time. Doing this the right way requires a time investment in planning and scoping at the outset of a matter that clients and firms aren’t used to making. The good news is that doing this is actually a time (and sometimes relationship) saving activity.
A wise man from Mississippi named Brad Antici put it to me like this: “A firm can either invest a couple of hours working with a client to develop an effective scope and project plan at the outset of a matter or spend ten or more hours at the end of the matter trying to explain to the client why they need more money, disagreeing what was in/out of scope, etc. That doesn’t seem like a hard decision to me.”
First of all, it's important to note that the life as an analyst is very different to that of a managing director or partner. A junior banker's main job is to support his/her team with analysis and materials so the key to being successful at this stage is to manage expectations of many stakeholders while trying to deliver the highest quality materials within a reasonable time frame, whereas the life of a partner or MD at Goldman is more similar to that of a startup founder. This position is more entrepreneurial because they need to drive the business by building relationships, acquiring customers, negotiating, leading and developing people they manage, etc. I guess that the biggest differences that lie at GS vs. entrepreneurship is the big brand's ability to provide prestige, reputation and a huge amount of resources to tap into.
As a startup founder, you have very few resources and no one knows you, so you spend a lot of time trying to convince people to work with you, invest in you, partner with you etc. When Mor and I started iAngels from my basement, we had to fill all the functions required in a company - sales, admin, legal, analyst, marketing, finance, CEO. This was a huge transition for me as I was used to spending most of my time behind excel spreadsheets with many other colleagues like me, admin assistants and back office to help with logistics and my superiors doing all the selling, negotiating, rainmaking etc... So founding iAngels really required me to widen my skillset and responsibilities.
While the hours at Goldman are more difficult than any job I have ever done, the responsibility as a startup founder for its customers, shareholders and employees is huge and ultimately most of the risk lies with you. So there is a lot of pressure for you to perform to your very best, for your sake as well as theirs. Alas, Goldman was the best business school I could have hoped for and I am utterly grateful for all the skills and mentorship I was given there. And for those who are considering making the move from a corporate environment to a startup world, I'd say - be prepared for the unknown, there will be so much that you'll encounter that will take you by surprise that you just can't prepare for. Be patient, gaining business traction and being recognized as a new entrant to a market rarely happens over night. Lastly, make the move based on whether you feel it's the right thing for you as ultimately you're the only one who knows you best.