Argument: Many lawyers break free with own practices, firms

Issue Report: Law school


Jamison Koehler. “On the true value of a law degree.” Koehlar Law. January 16th, 2011: “My wife, who already knew she wanted to be a lawyer when I met her at Georgetown, went to law school directly from college. Graduating at the top of her class, she loved every minute of law school. She worked as an associate and then partner at big firms here in D.C. She spent a year prosecuting civil fraud at the Department of Justice and another year as in-house counsel for a large healthcare provider. When she decided she didn’t like that, she accepted another partnership at a firm in Philadelphia and when she got tired of that, she started her own firm, taking a single associate with her like Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire.

Accountable only to herself and to clients, she now does exactly what she wants, working only on cases that she believes have social merit. That choice has not been without some sacrifice. We too used to have the 8-bedroom house on an acre of land, three luxury cars, kids in private schools, European and Caribbean vacations, and full-time household help. Now we don’t. And I have to tell you, once you have gotten used to certain amenities, it is a whole lot harder going in the other direction. At the same time, my wife is far happier with what she is doing now.”