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We recently started a new series of episodes where I will be interviewing some members of The Collaborative to hear their stories and experience with the membership and of course, what transitioning out of the law looks like. In this episode, we are joined by Jamie Spannhake, who is transitioning out of the law and intends to leave by the end of the year.

As always, my goal with the podcast and membership is to help lawyers taking the bold step of leaving the law do so easily. Transitioning out of the law is no easy feat, especially when the law was your dream career. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll enjoy hearing Jamie talk to us about her journey into the legal profession, how it has been for her, and how The Collaborative is helping her get ready to transition out of the law.

Having Doubts About Transitioning Out of The Law

Jamie didn’t start out wanting to be a lawyer.

She started her career as an actor but decided that it wasn’t for her as she didn’t have the control that she craved. Instead, she got into law and worked her way to the top in a Biglaw firm before leaving to start her own firm. Currently, she’s shifted again, she works at a small firm and is currently a partner alongside three other lawyers.

However, as many lawyers can relate to, Jamie thinks that she lacks something, even in her “perfect job”.

As a single mom, Jamie wanted more time to do what she loved and be there for her daughter. Her clue that a change was due was when she did a placement at legal services for three months and got off work while the sun was still up. For someone who was used to leaving work late, it was a strange sensation that provided the kick she needed to make a change.

So, when the big firm she worked in offered a paid sabbatical as a way to help their staff transition out of work, she gladly accepted it.

Joining The Former Lawyer Collaborative

While trying to decide how best to complete her transition out of the law, Jamie found the Former Lawyer Collaborative via a LinkedIn connection, listened to my podcast, and was inspired by the stories of strength she heard from other lawyers who’ve dared to transition out of law practice.

She decided to come aboard because, in her words, “I ultimately decided to join the Collaborative because I wanted to stop talking myself out of leaving the law because that’s what I’ve been doing for a while. My practical, analytical brain that’s what it’s been doing this for how many years that I’ve been thinking about leaving.”

Although Jamie hasn’t found something else with fewer hours that can make her the $400/hour that she makes as an attorney, she is convinced that she’ll be equally satisfied with finding something exciting at a lesser rate.

What Transitioning Out of The Law Looks Like with a Community of Former Lawyers

For Jamie, “one of the great things about being in the Collaborative is that you are talking to other lawyers who are not gasping at you whenever you mention that you might want to leave.”

From past experiences, when talking to lawyers about leaving the law, they have many questions about what you want to do and what options exist beyond the law. That is not entirely their fault, as the profession makes us risk-averse, and the idea of jumping into what seems like an abyss is scary.

One of the reasons for creating the Collaborative was because I knew transitioning out of the law is more challenging when you don’t have the support you need. Having to explain yourself to lawyers who don’t get why you need to get out of the legal practice can leave you with overwhelming anxiety and nervousness. I know this because I have been in that place, and knowing that you are not alone can give you the confidence that you need to take the leap.

I also know that as a lawyer, you are tempted to overanalyze your thoughts and be confined by your uncertainty. But, like Jamie notes, hearing others voice the opinions that are in your mind helps you sift through them and gain clarity. The group calls will also help you to see that you have the skills that you need to make that change and go for the life of your dreams.

What Transitioning Out Of The Law Looks Like

Initially, Jamie wanted to leave the law by November 2022, but moved it to the end of this year, 2021. Some of the things that have helped her making progress on this include listening to interviews, checking out resumes of former lawyers, and joining panel discussions in the Collaborative.

If, like her, you love working with a template, you should come on board. When you join the Collaborative and attend events, you can be encouraged by the journey and process of others like you, and find a framework that can help you make a career change. You will also find that it is a support group for lawyers trying to escape or who have escaped the rigors and drills of the legal profession.

Jamie says that the informed support she enjoys has helped her go from “I am a Lawyer” to “I am a person who practices law.” That means that she has realized that she is still a person whether she practices law or not, which is vital for her.

Joining the Collaborative has given her the inspiration and framework she needs to transition out of the law, get answers to her questions, and learn other careers where her current skills are in high demand.

I enjoyed talking to Jamie about what transitioning out of the law looks like for her, am I’m excited about her plans going forward, and can’t wait to hear more experiences from members of the Collaborative who are leaving the law.

Connect with Jamie:

Mentioned In This Blog:

The Former Lawyer Collaborative

Sarah Cottrell: Hi, and welcome to The Former Lawyer Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Cottrell. On this show, I interview former lawyers to hear their inspiring stories about how they left law behind to find careers and lives that they love. Let's get right to the show.

Hello everyone. I am super excited for this episode this week because this is another episode with one of my clients in the Collaborative. My client's name is Jamie. She is going to share more about her background once we dive in. But I love so many things about this conversation. She brought up things that I didn't even know about her experience that she's had so far in the Collaborative. She also shared a lot of great insight from her experience of practicing law for 17 years, not liking it for many of those years, and having that experience of continually talking herself out of trying to find something else. I'm really excited for you to hear in her own words more about her and about her experience.

I wanted to let you know, this episode is releasing early mid-August. I'm going to be running a guided track in the Collaborative starting in September right after Labor Day. What that means is that we are going to run a 10-week track where we have weekly calls and it's just going to be a little bit more guided, for lack of a better term, than the typical experience, which is that when you come to the Collaborative, there is a framework that you follow and everyone moves at their own pace. The goal of this guided track—it's a bit of an experiment but I think it's going to be really excellent—is giving people who want a little bit more structure in terms of feeling like, “Oh, I want to get X or Y done by a specific date,” providing you with that structure. This is the only time this year I'll be running the guided track because we're going to start after Labor Day and the 10 weeks will put us into November right before Thanksgiving. If you are interested in joining the Collaborative and being a part of a guided track in 2021, then now is definitely the time. You can go to formerlawyer.com/collab to get more information about how to enroll. As always, if you have any questions, just email me at [email protected] Okay, let's get into my conversation with Jamie.

Hi Jamie, welcome to The Former Lawyer Podcast.

Jamie Spannhake: Hi, Sarah, so happy to be here.

Sarah Cottrell: I'm so happy to have you here. This is another in a little bit of a series that I'm sharing some conversations with people who are clients in the Collaborative and you're one of those people. Why don't you start by introducing yourself to the listeners, then we'll talk a little bit about your story and your experience?

Jamie Spannhake: Okay. I am Jamie Jackson Spannhake. I have been practicing law for about 17 years. I always joke that I liked practicing law for about six months, 17 years later. I've been thinking about leaving for a long time. I am a litigator. Also, I do real estate, estate planning, and business transactions. I have gone from a federal clerkship to Big Law for six years, then I had a baby and took 18 months off, then I went to a solo practice of my own that I did for two and a half years, then I transferred my solo practice to a small law firm where I am now a partner with four other lawyers. I've tried all the different iterations other than in-house with my legal career.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah. It's so interesting. You say you liked it for about six months. I think some people listening, some non-lawyers might be like, “Wait, what?” But I think a lot of the lawyers who are listening will completely understand that, but can you just talk a little bit more about that process in terms of like, “Okay, I know that I liked it for this short period of time but here I am,” and how that happens?

Jamie Spannhake: Before I went to law school, I was an actor. The thing that I did not like about acting and the reason I left that field was because there was no direct correlation between the amount of effort that you put in and the outcome that you got. It was very random. I had very little control over my success. What really drew me to law was the fact that there was a set way to get from A to B or C or wherever you want it to go. If you wanted to go to Big Law, you took the LSAT, you did well, you got into school, you did really well, you got on the journal, you did moot court, you did all these things, you did a clerkship, then you ended in Big Law. I spent that three-year period loving law school and because there was an end game, the goal, I knew I would meet if I just did all the things I was supposed to do.

Once I got into law practice, I was excited, after my clerkship, to go into my firm because I liked law school and clerking so much. I assumed that I would then like practicing law, which was an incorrect assumption. The newness wore off of being in a new position with new people and new challenges wore off after about six months, and that's when I realized, “Oh, this is what I'm doing. This is not something I really like.” If I could have been a law student or a clerk for the rest of my life, I might have still liked it but that doesn't really work out that way.

Sarah Cottrell: Okay. Because you mentioned you've been thinking about leaving for a long time, obviously, you haven't loved it for quite a long time, can you talk a little bit about that experience of thinking about leaving, trying to leave, ultimately that not happening and how that worked for you?

Jamie Spannhake: For the time that I was at Big Law, I really thought that the reason I didn't like practicing law was because I was at Big Law, not because I didn't like the work so much. After several years at Big Law, I started looking to move, maybe in house or go to a smaller firm but then when I would look at jobs or talk with a recruiter, there wasn't really anything else that I was looking at that I actually wanted to do because I was looking only at lawyer jobs. There were things that would be assigned that, “Oh, maybe I don’t like that about law,” but somehow, two and two did not make four. I was really focused on leaving Big Law. Honestly, because the salary is so great, and I don't know if everyone does this but I forgot what you do when you're not just working all the time, people are like, “Well, what would you do if you had time?” You're like, “I don't even remember what I like to do. I don't know.”

Sarah Cottrell: Yes, totally.

Jamie Spannhake: I had this opportunity at my firm to do a secondment to Brooklyn Legal Services in their landlord-tenant department. You would leave your law firm for three months and go work at legal services. You still made your salary and legal services got a free lawyer basically. I remember at the end of my first or second day there, I was in New York City, I came home from my job at legal services and I got out of the subway, and I was like, “Wow, something is different, what's so different?” Then I realized the sun was still out and I was off of work.

Sarah Cottrell: It's an amazing experience and you're like, “Oh, I didn't really know what this was like.”

Jamie Spannhake: Right. That was the first time I was like, “I gotta get out of Big Law.” I was like, “I really honestly have to.” Then I think 2009 came and Lehman Brothers crashed. Law firms were laying off people left and right. I did not get laid off, unfortunately, because they were giving people great severance and helping them find new jobs, and I was like, “Please fire me, please fire me.” But they didn't. I made it through all the cuts. Then they still needed more people to leave. They offered people a paid sabbatical for one year—I think one of your other guests talked about this actually—they've offered a sabbatical for one year at I think a third of your salary. I was trying to get pregnant at the time and I was like, “I'm out of here. Get me out. Pay me to leave.”

I left and took some time off, and had a baby, but then I needed income again. The easiest thing to do, people kept coming to me like, “Can you handle this case for me? Can you handle it?” I just eventually started my own practice thinking, “Oh well, if I'm my own boss, then I won't have to deal with all the BS that I didn't like at Big Law. I can work around on my own schedule.” I did that for a while and I didn't like all of the administrative tasks that came with being your own solo practice basically. When I had an opportunity to join a small firm as a partner, I did that. Now, I have the best legal job. I make my own hours, I can take clients or not, I don't have anyone telling me what to do or how to do it, I make my own decisions, I schedule around my daughter's schedule, and I still don't like it.

Sarah Cottrell: Yes, I was going to say you still want to leave. Talk about that.

Jamie Spannhake: I wrote a book on time and mind management that came out in 2019. After that came out, I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of people about time and mind management, and blog, write, and really focus on those areas. I realized that I really like that because I am able to be myself and not put on a mantle of seriousness—because I'm not really that serious of a person—and I'm not required to tell other people they're wrong all the time. Is that the right way to say it? I'm not sure. But there's no contentiousness in the things that I'm doing that arose from my book. That really made it clear to me that what I don't like about practicing law, and it's not just in litigation but it is especially true in litigation, is the contentiousness of it, and the fire drills. I want to do something for my career, for my life that is more in harmony with my personality.

Sarah Cottrell: I was going to say it sounds like a big piece of it and this is something we talk about a lot, like you said, this job is like the “perfect legal job” but that doesn't mean that it's right for you because it's also a question of like, “Does this match my personality? Does this match my values?” So your book was released in 2019, what's the title of it? Because I'll make sure that we link it in the show notes.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, it's The Lawyer, the Lion, and the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos.

Sarah Cottrell: I like it. You released the book and you already knew, like, “This legal practice is not something that I love.” But then you got to the point where you're like, “Okay, I'm in the perfect job and I still don't want to be doing it. I'm recognizing that there is something else that would be a much better fit.” Tell me, at what point did you come across information about the Collaborative and what made you think, “This is a thing that will help me”?

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, I found your podcast first. I think it was through some connection on LinkedIn, through Angela Hahn probably, but I'm not sure actually. But once I found your podcast, I started listening and I heard the stories of lots of people, obviously, that have had the courage—because I do think it takes a lot of courage—to do something else. I ultimately decided to join the Collaborative because I wanted to stop talking myself out of leaving the law because my practical analytical brain, that's what it's been doing for how many ever years that I've been thinking about leaving.

I think the analysis that I had been doing was, is there something else that I could do and make the same amount of money in these few hours? The answer is mostly no. If I charge $400 an hour as an attorney, I have not found something else that pays that. But that's not the only analysis to be done because if I can be doing something that doesn't feel like work so much or doesn't feel contrary to my value system, then it is worth it to me to possibly make less money. It is also possible that grows and becomes something that is even more financially successful because I'm passionate about it.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah. I think a lot of people find themselves in this cycle of talking themselves out of it, or if not talking themselves out of it, there's this like you have a really bad period at work and you're like, “This is so bad. I have to get out.” But you're so slammed that you can't actually focus on it, then things start to lighten up, then there's this cycle of like, “Well, maybe it's not that bad. I did go to school for this,” etc. Then the cycle happens again where things get really bad, you're like,”Oh my goodness, I need to get out but I don't have time to focus on getting out.” Then over and over, I know there are lots of people who have come into the Collab, either talking about experiencing that cycle or, like you said, experiencing this process where they feel like they kept talking themselves out of it and realizing like, “I need to not do that. This really is the thing that I need to do but I need to get over that hump.”

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah. One of the great things about being in the Collaborative is that you're talking to other lawyers who aren't gasping at you whenever you mention that you might want to leave and do something else.

Sarah Cottrell: Yes.

Jamie Spannhake: It happened to me when I was in Big Law. I was thinking about leaving and going to be a lawyer somewhere else and there was that, “Oh my, what would you do?” You're like, “I don't know exactly what I'm going to do but I'm sure I'm trying to figure it out.” It's not our fault that we're risk averse. We spend three years reading cases where everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong, like freak accidents and what have you in cases in law school. We're a risk-averse group. The idea of jumping into the abyss, as my law partner would say, is scary.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah, I think that's right. Can you talk a little bit more about the value of being able to talk with or be in community with other lawyers who are of the same mind as you?

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah. There are two things that come to mind. One is hearing other lawyers say their thoughts, which are also my thoughts out loud and you realize, “That's not really a valid concern,” or “That sounds a little cuckoo bananas,” or “Really?” Because when you say those things inside your head, they make total sense but then if you say them yourself out loud or if you hear someone else say them out loud, you realize that maybe the analysis and the thoughts that you're having or the analysis that you're doing is not really on point. It's based on fear more than anything else. That's one thing. The other thing that I found really helpful is reimagining my skill set. Realizing that the skills that I have as a lawyer are transferable and hearing other people talk about different industries, because you have the different workshops and different industries, careers, and things, realizing all of those soft skills, I guess a lot of times they are and how transferable, and valuable they are.

That transferable skills issue was really helpful to me. I had an interview recently for a writing and content creation job. For every skill that they were looking for, I was able to say and give examples of me utilizing that skill in my legal practice, even though the job was not in the legal industry at all. I don't know that I would have been able to connect the dots like that if I hadn't been a member of the Collaborative. The other thing that's really useful is seeing the actual jobs, the industries that people have gone into. It opened my mind a lot more and made me think more creatively about what is possible.

Sarah Cottrell: I love all of those things, especially the transferable skills piece because—I'm sure you know this—but one of the things that I hear the most from people, both in the Collaborative and outside of it is this fear of like, “Well, I'm not qualified for anything else. I don't have any other skills.” I do think, like you said, there is an element of being able to see how other people have done that or how other people are doing that, that helps you understand one, yes, you do actually have transferable skills and two, how to present them and how to even recognize them. Because one of the things that's come up in several of the recent panels in the Collaborative in the last couple months is this idea of like you almost can't see it when you're embedded in a universe of work where most people are lawyers because you assume everyone has those skills because most people around you do, but they're actually a lot of unique skills that you can highlight, that can position you for lots of other sorts of roles but part of it is just having the eyes to see it.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, that's right. It's funny. A really good example of that was this interview that I had. One of the questions that the interviewer asked me was, “Are you analytical and logical?” I almost laughed because I was like, “What? Everyone is analytical and logical, aren't they?” Because you can't teach that to people and I thought, “I don't know anyone who's not analytical and logical. Is that because I know mostly lawyers?” That's true. I didn't even recognize that as a skill but she was looking for it as a skill.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah, I think that's a perfect example where you're like, “Wait, but isn't this just like how people are?” It's like, “No, no, most lawyers are.” But that's like the power of the lawyer bubble. You joined the Collaborative earlier this year and when you did that, you were like, “Okay, I know I want to stop talking myself out of this.” Talk to me a little bit about your process, your progress, and where you are now.

Jamie Spannhake: My process was I work best whenever I have an example to follow. For me, listening to the stories of other people that have left the law has been tremendously helpful. That is part of my process, is listening to what other people are doing. The other part is seeing the actual written resumes and the interviews. There was one panel or workshop that you did where it was about being a freelance writer.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah, Marie Sotelo did that. She was on the podcast. I'll have that linked in the show notes for people who are interested.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah. She had several slides in her presentation that talked specifically about the transferable skills from lawyering to freelance writing and how to leverage those. It was written out. It was really clear. That was very helpful to me. Also, I try to do, when I can, the monthly calls because I want to hear other people's stories and see their progress. It always strikes me when we're on the monthly calls. It's like a support group for people who have had a traumatic experience.

The things that the lawyers on the call are saying, it strikes me as I'm trying to overcome a traumatic experience. Realizing the seriousness and the difficulty of trying to escape from the law, it's hard. Knowing that makes it easier because I realize that it's not that I'm weak or I can't do it or not trying hard enough, it's that it's hard to do. We are all sharing our thoughts, ideas, and resources on how to do this hard thing. That's really helpful.

Sarah Cottrell: I really appreciate you saying that. It's something I've been thinking about a lot recently. People who listen to the podcast know my story of being diagnosed with anxiety disorder and just through that experience and the learning that I've done since then, I've learned a lot about trauma and how it works in little t trauma, which I talked some with Heather Horton about on an episode when we're recording, released a couple weeks ago. I started to come to the conclusion that a lot of career coaching, career pivot, career transition stuff, especially for lawyers—because of course, that's the life that I know—is not particularly trauma-informed. For those who are listening who don't know what that means, basically, it just means being able to recognize when you are wading into an area where there may be trauma and not doing so in a way where you re-traumatize someone or where you ignore the potential existence of trauma.

I think, like you said, for lawyers, there can be a pretty significant amount of trauma. I think if you go into it, if the person who's walking you through the experience of transitioning to a different type of career is not aware of that, I think that's part of why lawyers find it so helpful to be interacting with other lawyers when they're making this transition because everyone has this understanding of that experience and it isn't just like, “Okay, we'll just do ABC, the end.” That's just all there is to it. It really is so much more complex than that. I'm still formulating my ideas around this but I think it is a piece of the puzzle that we just don't talk about enough.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, I agree with that. I think one of the benefits of the Collaborative is that because of that trauma-informed collective knowledge, it has helped me go from I am a lawyer to I am a person who practices law, because if I am a lawyer, period, I can't stop doing it because then, I stop existing or being me. Whereas if I am a person practicing law, I am still a person, whether I am practicing law or not. Separation I think is key to being able to look elsewhere and do something else. It wasn't until I joined the Collaborative, that distinction was made clear to me. Even though I understood it intellectually, it wasn't until I joined the Collaborative that it became a part of me.

Sarah Cottrell: That makes me so happy.

Hey, it's Sarah. I wanted to let you know that this fall, I'm going to be running a guided track through the Former Lawyer Framework inside the Former Lawyer Collaborative. What does that mean? Basically, that means that we'll be going through the curriculum that forms the backbone of the Collaborative. It's called the Former Lawyer Framework. It's a five-step process that moves you from, “I have no idea what I want to do,” to “I know what I want to do, I know what direction I need to go in, and I'm figuring out how to get there.” The guided track is essentially going to be a 10-week process where I walk you through the framework, step by step. The goal is to create some additional accountability and structure for those people who like having deadlines essentially. The way it's going to work is we will have homework or a set of the exercises or the framework that you're going to be getting through each week before that next week's call, then we'll get on the call, ask any questions that you have pertaining to that work, get any help that you need around whatever issues are coming up, then the next week, we'll do it again and we'll do it again, and all the way through until right before Thanksgiving when we will have moved through the whole framework.

If that sounds like something that would be helpful for you, this is going to be the only time this year I'll be running the guided track. I don't know when I'll be running it again, possibly in 2022 but I don't have any specific plans. If having this experience of having a guided track sounds like something that would help you stay on track and get you to where you want to go, then I highly recommend you jump in now. Especially for those of you who are really wanting to either make a move by the end of this year or who are anticipating wanting to make a move early next year, this is a perfect timeline for people who are in those positions. Go to formerlawyer.com/collab. The orientation call for the guided track will be on Thursday, September 9th. If you're interested in being involved in the guided track, the date that you want to join us is Thursday, September 9th. If you have any questions, as always, you can email [email protected] and the address once more, the url is formerlawyer.com/collab. I hope to see you there.

Sarah Cottrell: Let's talk a little bit about you mentioned that you interviewed recently for a writing position. Talk about the plans that you formulated going forward in the last couple months, like thinking about where you want to go.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah. Earlier this year, I set a goal to leave the practice of law by November of 2022. I gave myself a really long runway, so I didn't feel pressured to make a move that wasn't the right move. However, in the meantime, I have moved up my date to the end of this year, to the end of 2021. The reason I did that is because once I started being more clear about what I want to do—and that came in large part through the resources, the information, and my own research as well in the Collaborative—I started seeing jobs that I actually wanted to do. I've been applying for them. Where I am now is that I told my law partners in the middle of May that I'm leaving the practice at the end of this year, at the latest. I've given myself six months essentially to wrap things up because I have my own clients, I service some of my partners clients. There are things that need to be wrapped up in order for me to leave smoothly and not negatively affect my partners or our firm's clients. I've also told them that as of June 30th, which when we're recording this, it's only two more days, I'm no longer doing litigation.

Sarah Cottrell: Oh, praise hands.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, I know it's excellent. There I go, a lot of pushback, and I'm sure lots of people get this, “But you're so good at it. But the clients love you, but blah-blah-blah,” and you're like, “I hate it.” You need to figure out someone else to service this client because my clients are not litigation clients. I don't take on my own litigation clients because I don't like litigation but I have taken on three matters for my partners just because they had too much other litigation work. But we are transitioning out. My partner sent the first email as the partner on the matter today actually. I'm very excited about that.

Sarah Cottrell: That is very exciting.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah. That will give me a runway of six months to wrap up my legal work and still have some income because I'm a single mom. It's not like I have a partner or spouse that can pay the bills while I figure this out. It's me. That will give me income through the rest of the year. It also gives me more time to look for my next gig.

Sarah Cottrell: I love that. I really appreciate you mentioning that you're a single mom because I do have quite a number of people who reach out to me who are single parents and are questioning like, “I'm unhappy but is this possible for me?” Obviously, each person's situation is unique but I think one of the things that is helpful about your story and what you're describing in terms of the plan is that, and I know we talk about this a lot on the podcast, but there is actually an alternative between not doing anything and just staying in your job and feeling miserable forever, or quitting today with no plan, whatsoever, and no runway.

My story is not one where I realized I wanted out of the practice of law and immediately quit. Honestly, I think for the majority of people, that's not going to be their story either. I think that's part of putting yourself in a position where you have some support. It can help you because if you are working on a longer term plan, having that feeling of like, “Okay, I'm not doing this completely on my own,” can be very helpful. I know for you, Jamie, I think you joined the Collab towards the end of January, then you said you talked to your partners about your end date in May. I just wanted to mention that because I know some people think like, “Okay, if I were to come into the Collab, how quickly might I be able to get clarity about what I want to do next and that thing?” I just think that's a helpful timeline to keep in mind.

Jamie Spannhake: Yeah, I agree. It also depends on how much energy, effort, and thought you put in.

Sarah Cottrell: Yes, totally.

Jamie Spannhake: I think most people are this way, I don't know for sure, I can really only speak about myself but once one has clarity and commitment, things can move really quickly. It's getting clarity and commitment, that is the time-consuming part. But that's what the Collab is for, the clarity and the commitment.

Sarah Cottrell: Yes, that is so true. A couple of things that I want to ask you before we wrap up. One, is there anything else from your story or just your experience that you would like to share that we haven't talked about yet?

Jamie Spannhake: I think the only thing I would say, and you already mentioned this, is that there are things about practicing law that I do like but that doesn't mean that I need to keep practicing law in order to experience those things, like working with a team, helping other people, negotiating toward a common goal, those kinds of things. I can do that in another field. It doesn't just have to be as a lawyer. I think that was part of my hang up sometimes, is that thinking, “Well, do I really want to leave because I do like this part of it?” But I can do that elsewhere.

Sarah Cottrell: Yeah. I think that's really helpful because there are a lot of people who are in that place of like, “I don't think I like this but I do like this part of it, does that mean that I should do something else inside of practice?” I think that is a really good reminder. Like you said, what do other people do when they have free time? All these things, it's helpful to realize, like, “Maybe I don't necessarily see all of the options, just because of the environment that I'm in.” If someone's listening and they have thought about joining the Collaborative but they haven't yet, what would you say to them?

Jamie Spannhake: I would say that there are free resources, Sarah's resources, that you can utilize to learn more. If you are serious or even think you might be serious about leaving the law, join the Collaborative because you can figure out what your options are, you can figure out if you do want to leave or maybe you don't. Maybe you don't need to leave but you can learn not to. Having a group of other lawyers who have many of the same thoughts and processes, being able to share with them, and listen to them is super helpful when you're trying to get clarity about what you want to do. Join, that's what I would say.

Sarah Cottrell: I'm Sarah Cottrell and I approve this message. That's really helpful. I think if people are wondering more about your story or they want to get in touch with you, where can they find you online?

Jamie Spannhake: You can find me at my website at jamiespannhake.com. My book and stuff is there too. You can also reach me via email, which is [email protected] I'm very active on LinkedIn. I think it's Jamie Jackson Spannhake on LinkedIn. I'd love to connect with people. I always like to hear people's stories. I'm always looking for insight for sharing on my own blog about time and mind management, particularly as to lawyers, so reach out.

Sarah Cottrell: Awesome. Jamie, I really appreciate you sharing your story today and talking about your experience in the Collaborative. I hope that it's really helpful for people. It's been really encouraging to me. Thank you so much.

Jamie Spannhake: Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Cottrell: Thanks so much for listening. I absolutely love getting to share this podcast with you. If you haven't yet, I invite you to download my free guide: First Steps to Leaving the Law at formerlawyer.com/first. Until next time, have a great week.

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