Amidst the buzz of LegalWeek activities, Allegory Founder and CEO, Alma Asay, spoke at the LegalWomensForum on a panel about alternative legal careers.
The panel, titled "Where Do I Go Next? Alternative Career Options in Law" brought together women who have moved from the practice of law to create a new career path for themselves. Sharing stories from their early careers and transitions, they provided advice to those interesting in making similar leaps to pursue their dream careers.
- Marci Alboher. Vice President,
Marketingand Communications, Encore.org
- Jane Allen,
Chairmanand Founder, Counsel on Call
- Alma Asay, Founder & CEO, Allegory
- Ellen Auwarter, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Duane Morris LLP
- Brande Stellings, Vice President, Corporate Board Services, Catalyst
Some of those who depart from the practice of law always knew they wanted an alternative career. Brande Stelling of Catalyst knew she wanted to work on women's rights law, but ended up taking a circuitous route through Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and then in-house at NBC. She wasn't looking to leave NBC, but the right opportunity came along to circle back to her original goal. As Vice President of Corporate Board Services, Stelling works to advance gender diversity in corporate boardrooms around the world.
Other women weren't planning anything at all when opportunity struck. Ellen Auwarter shared the story of her "walking down the hall" moment when she met somebody with the job that she wanted. This prompted her to switch gears to law firm marketing. Her advice to those considering a career change is to ask themselves what it is that they gravitate towards and to build a network: "that network is your life."
Marci Alboher offered similar advice: when questioning whether to continue on your current track or make a change, doing what you love and building your network through that activity can help you find opportunity. For Alboher, starting a book club was a great way to expand her interests and broaden her network. Ultimately, it was joining a poker game that caused her to meet someone who changed her career trajectory.
Panelists also suggested things to keep in mind in preparation for making the leap from practicing law. Jane Allen urged the audience to emphasize making personal guarantees and to have the best trust score. "You don't know what you're doing tomorrow."
Allegory's Alma Asay gave advice for the hard times of a career transition:
"It can take
For all the surprises and challenges, the five panelist's diverse journeys ultimately brought them to careers that have been more fulfilling.