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Ditch the Restrictive Legal Narrative and Discover Your Ideal Career Blueprint

Adriana Paris went to law school on a whim. 

She was getting her degree in political science when the recession hit. A lot of her friends were taking the LSAT so they could postpone having to find a job. 

That sounded like a good plan to her, so she went to law school. While a lot of people around her had plans for what they wanted to do, Adriana had no idea

Again, her friends told her, “Your only two choices are transactional or litigation. People who go into litigation are extroverts who are good at writing, speaking, and socializing. You should do that.” 

So she ended up in litigation working for a big law firm, and it was fine. 

She wasn’t super enthusiastic about it. She wasn’t miserable. She was somewhere in the middle. 

Eventually, she started feeling like a cog in the litigation wheel. She wasn’t having a real impact on her cases or her clients. She felt like a replaceable peon. 

So she decided to go in-house. At 29, she became the youngest director of a relatively large company. She was managing people for the first time and wearing a lot of hats to protect the company’s legal interests. 

The job itself was miles more interesting than any job she’d ever had… but her boss was awful. 

She made it two years, then went back to her first firm. For a while, everything looked great on the outside. She was getting positive reviews. She got promoted to senior counsel. 

But unfortunately, that same feeling of being a cog in the wheel came back. 

Finally, one day, she walked into one of the partner’s offices and said, 

“Don’t you feel like this is bullshit?”

“What are you talking about?” he said. “What case are you working on?”

 “No, everything,” she said. He wasn’t sure what to do with it. 

It’s not that Adriana ever became truly miserable to the point where she hated her life and felt like she HAD to quit. 

It was more like this itch that wouldn’t go away. 

So she made herself take time off. Unfortunately, she didn’t know anyone else who had a law degree but was not a lawyer. She had no community, no mentor, and no one to talk to about what to do, so she read a bunch of books. 

Then the pandemic hit. 

She wasn’t sure if everyone was going to lose their jobs or what was going to happen, so she went back to her old firm again - “like an old boyfriend” one of her friends told her. 

People were panicking, not making their hours, and having all kinds of issues because the courts were closed in Florida. There were no trials going on. 

So Adriana reached out to the chief administrative officer of the firm to say, “Thanks for taking me back again. Litigation is on hold. I don’t really enjoy this job, anyway. What else can I do for the firm in maybe an administrative role?”


Surprisingly, he was really responsive. 

She ended up taking on a hybrid role with the firm’s internal initiatives. She got involved with how it governed itself as a business, which choices it made, which clients they represented, what social causes they were taking on, etc. 

Her friends at the firm were like, “What? How did you get to do this? Did they call and ask you?”

She told them she called up the head of the firm (whom she’d never spoken to) and said, “Here are my ideas. Here’s what I’m interested in. What do you think?” And he said, “Great, let’s make it happen.” 

Today, Adriana is the Director of Attorney Development and Recruiting at Risman Law and the author of Rising Lawyer. She's passionate about helping lawyers navigate the challenges and the opportunities of their career through her business, AM Paris Consulting. 

I asked her what she would tell people who find themselves feeling unsatisfied with their career but unsure how to move forward. 


Here was her response: 

When someone messages her saying, “I hate being a lawyer. What should I do?”...

She tells them: “I don't have the answer and guess what? Nobody has the answer, but you.”


Then she walks them through this simple exercise: 

Create a “Likes, Dislikes, Tolerates” List




Write down every single thing you like doing. Write everything you’ve ever done and thought, “This is fun. I like this. This gets me going. I could do this every day if I had to.” Write the things you would do for free, even if people didn’t pay you. What would make you get up every day and say, “I can’t believe this is my life, and I get to do this”?




Write down everything you absolutely hate. Include things you’ve never done but have abstained from doing because you know you would hate it.




Write down everything you could do. You don’t want to do these things daily, but they are things you can live with. You don’t want them to become 80% of your job, but you can handle them some of the time. 


This becomes your blueprint for your ideal job. 

You’d be surprised how amazing it is to have everything written down in front of you. These little nuggets start to appear. You start to notice a thread. 

Once you see it all together, you’re like, “Now it makes sense.” You understand why you really hate doing certain things. You see why you get anxious or procrastinate. You see why certain things light you up and you love doing them.


I absolutely loved this advice from Adriana. 

I think it’s so important for us to give ourselves permission to do this - to understand what’s going on internally and put it down externally on paper. 

It validates the feelings we’ve been carrying around. It helps us understand why we procrastinate and “should” on ourselves. 

When you hate doing something, there’s an emotion tied to that. When you look at it closely, there’s likely an answer. 


If you can relate to her story at all, this is your permission to take a step back from your busy life, evaluate what your values and priorities are, and make your next move from that place. 

You have a whole community of powerhouses cheering you on!


How to connect with Adriana: 


LinkedIn: Adriana Paris

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