The law practice. Old men, suits, cigars, burbon. Fancy watches. Black robes, manilla folders, mahogany desks. Wooden gavels, gold name plates. Leather bound books all in a row. Fat bank accounts and fatter bellies. We all have an image of what a day in the life of a lawyer looks like. At it’s core though, it is prestige, power, and productivity.
A year ago, I was a real estate attorney with my own law firm. I was also a real estate agent in a company that employed the highest ranked salespeople of multi-family and investment property agents in Michigan. I was on the board of directors for the local rental property owners association. I was also on the board of directors for one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the area. I was privy to conversations about some of the most coveted neighborhood development plans going on at the time. I was starting to feed my interest in legislation and I was close to meeting some of Michigan’s most successful lobbyists and representatives in the real estate sector.
I had authority, expertise, connections and support. I looked like I was going to be pretty successful. I was in all the right places and there were people who wanted to help me succeed. I was so close to being the picture of “lawyer.”
But there was this one thing. The burbon drinking, suit wearing, cigar smoking, leatherbound book owning life of a lawyer is just not cut out for me.
The truth is, I showed up to meetings late and was unprepared. I couldn’t keep my daycare schedule straight and frequently dragged a toddler to board meetings. I had a growing to-do list of un-met obligations and dis-honored promises, and failed daily at the simple tasks normal people can easily be successful with.
I had trouble remembering where my car keys were and I couldn’t find my phone when it was plugged into the charger on my nightstand. One time I drove halfway to court wearing my husband’s flip flops with my suit and had to turn around and go back home to change.
Double bookings were a constant problem, small details were repeatedly overlooked, phone calls went unreturned, deadlines slipped by, and it cost me a fortune in terms of money, time, and credibility.
Simple life skills like showering and putting socks on were hard some days, let alone getting a suit to the dry cleaners.
I was a frazzled, rumpled, wrinkled mess of chaos, anxiety, depression, and overhwelm.
The truth about why I went rogue is ADHD. It always shows up where my progress exists and completely destroys my potential. It mimics depression and anxiety, then actually tags them into the race along side itself.
It starts with small things. A sink full of dirty dishes, a morning of over sleeping, a car with an empty gas tank. It just chips away at me and before I know it there are big things on the table that are mixed in, like forgetting to pay my bar dues. (So I can actually be a lawyer. It’s kind of central to my whole thing I have going on. But, whatevs.) Suddenly, I am laying in bed, all day, frozen, failing, and totally unable to move forward. Spending whole days in bed. Embarassed. Exhausted. Hopeless. For a time I was even highly medicated.
My brain just doesn’t fit into the box of traditional law. It doesn’t fit into the box of traditional anything, really. I tried.
The truth is, no matter what I do, I will always have trouble being on time because my brain doesn’t process clocks like other people. I will always struggle meeting deadlines because I don’t see consequences until it’s too late. I will always lose interest in things before I finish them because my attention will change. I will always speak out of turn in court because I have no filters. Traditional law and I just don’t mix.
The truth is, I will spend the rest of my life embarassed, exhausted, and hopeless if I keep trying to change these things about myself.
I will never fit into a world that was literally not cut out for me.
So I went rogue. I gave up the fight against ADHD and decided to give into it instead. I am making a life for myself and my family that encompasses joy instead of stress. Going rogue is the only way to do it.
I will never be a gray haired old man in a suit with a fancy watch, so I threw away the career path that led there, and I went rogue.
No more deadlines, no more meetings, no more suits. No more shoes if I don’t feel like it.
Will being a rogue lawyer work? Maybe not. But it has a lot more potential than the alternative.
I am learning who I am, and what I value, and leaning into that rather than fighting it. I am going rogue. I am embracing the adhd, multi-passionate, chaotic, frazzled mess that I am as a person and turning my priority into joy rather than conformity.
The truth is, the practice of law will be fine without another fake, desperate conformist in the ranks to becoming an old guy in a suit anyways.