“It’s hard for me to do this to you” were the words my managing partner used as he began the talk that would lead to me being let go from my first law job. As the conversation continued, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was asking myself, why? What did I do wrong? I was also thinking about my wife and children. How would they react to this news? And how could I even tell them what was happening?
I was told I did not do anything wrong. I was told that the partner I was working for was moving to Northern California and they were taking my 50-60 cases and spreading them between our LA and San Diego offices. For the next few days I thought of little else than what I could have done wrong. I met with the partner over me and asked him just that question. I told him I was dumbfounded and did not understand. I told him he could talk to me and tell me if there was anything I had done to justify being let go. He assured me that the decision made was solely based on the fact that he was moving and nothing else. He asked me to not continue looking for a reason when one was not there.
I was at a major crossroads in my career. I had many moments alone where I doubted my own competence, intelligence, and work ethic. I now understand that these feelings are normal for someone experiencing a job loss. While I stood at this crossroad I knew I had to find another job quickly or I had to figure something else out. I had always wanted to start my own law firm, but now I needed to make a choice.
And then the doors began to open for me that led me on a different career path. A friend of mine who is a successful family lawyer told me he had more work than he could handle and that he could guarantee me at least 2 days a week of work. He suggested I build my own firm and help him with his overflow work in the process. I then met with a friend, Branigan Robertson, who opened his own employment law firm right out of law school. He inspired confidence in me that my dream of running my own firm could be a reality. He pointed me in the right direction and even helped me build certain aspects of my business structure. I then had another friend who came out of the woodwork to offer me some financial support during my transition. The stones were being placed in front of me, which led to my future. I just needed the courage to take those steps.
Unexpected termination of your employment can be a devastating blow. I can relate to all the feelings you may be experiencing. When I was called into the managing partner’s office and was let go, I was scared. Truth be told, I am still scared. But I see this as a huge opportunity and a blessing in disguise. The future is unknown, I am taking a step out into the darkness, I am taking a leap of faith, but I am also taking control of my own destiny. To follow my journey, and to see how I will help my clients with divorce, custody, and child/spousal support issues visit the Wallin Family Law Group.
– Zach Wallin is an Orange County family lawyer. He focuses his practice on divorce litigation, custody battles, and spousal and child support. Contact his firm at 949.294.9475.