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Tips for Lawyers After Getting Fired: Reevaluating Your Career

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 14, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

'You're fired!'

For many lawyers, that expression could be President Trump's most quotable expression because he has fired so many attorneys in his short tenure. But whether you've been canned by a president, a partner, or a client, getting fired is not a death spiral to your career. It is a rebirth and a chance to get ahead and out of the rat race.

1. You're Not a Rat

The "rat race" describes that go-nowhere maze of life, where you are stuck in a job or lifestyle that is not really progressing. We convince ourselves that the hours, the commute, the pressure, or the drudgery is worth it. We may be working, but we're not living.

Getting fired is a chance to get off that treadmill -- take a break, re-evaluate, and figure out what you really want to do. You don't have to be somebody's rat anymore. When Trump fired all those lawyers, it was not always because of their performance.

2. You Are You?

On the other hand, maybe you were a rat (cough, Kasowitz) and that's why you got fired. That was then; this is now. Put on your big boy pants -- or pantsuit, whichever fits -- and do things differently.

Did Hillary Clinton, the lawyer-turned-politician, fade into the sunset of her last electoral defeat? No, she inked another book deal to talk about her experiences, including her loss to Trump.

"These are the words I live by," said Clinton, who has earned more than $22 million as an author. "These quotes have helped me celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times and deepen my appreciation of all life has to offer."

3. You Will Find Your Way

The rat maze works like this: the rat goes until it bumps into a wall, then goes another direction. It repeats this process until it finds its way out.

That's where you are at when you get fired. You bumped into a wall, and now you have to go a different direction. Expect more bumps along the way, but maybe don't go too fast so it doesn't hurt when you hit a wall.

Here's a hint: use all your senses and remember they are processed through your unique intellect. You will find your way. If a rat can do it, so can you.

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