I think, depending on how far into your career you are, the decision should be viewed in different ways.
If you’re in the first year or two of your job and you’re not really liking it, then there’s not much that’s really going to change that. Making a career change so far into a job (like 10 years) would be tough, mainly because you’ve generally got to start from the bottom of the ladder in a new industry – it’s only fair that you start with the foundations right?
Hi Fiona, you could always explore new ideas by speaking to people in other industries and see where that leads? Larry Kramer teaches a session of Thinking Like a Lawyer, a new course designed to offer graduate students outside the field of law a window into core legal concepts. Frederick Antwi is a second-year business student who, when he goes to work for an investment firm, wants to better understand how securities laws are structured. This quarter, both Goldman and Antwi are getting a chance to explore these subjects thanks to Thinking Like a Lawyer—a new Law School course designed to offer graduate students outside the field of law a window into core legal concepts. Of the 63 enrollees and 15 auditors, 43 hail from the Graduate School of Business, with the remainder coming from the schools of Earth Sciences, Engineering, Education and Medicine, as well as from the departments of Philosophy, Political Science and Physics. The idea is to explore essential questions in the legal field, said Mark Kelman, the James C.
Thinking Like a Lawyer comes at a time when the Law School is seeing an influx of non-law students taking law courses—from fewer than 20 per year in the late 1990s and early 2000s to more than 70 in 2006-07.
Chris Golde, associate vice provost for graduate education, thinks the numbers hint at larger shifts across campus. That these changes are happening is not necessarily surprising, given the university has made interdisciplinary learning a key priority. The idea of enabling graduate students to go outside their discipline is not new, of course. Then there are offerings that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration—such as Biodesign Innovation, in which budding lawyers, engineers, doctors and business people work together to develop ideas for medical technology, or the Law School's Expert Witness class, in which law students work with peers from the natural and social sciences to prepare for mock trials. As for non-specialists Goldman and Antwi, they say Thinking Like a Lawyer offers a unique perspective on how lawyers frame problems, as well as how law professors approach teaching.


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If it’s so early on, you need to consider what it’s going to be like when the job gets more stressful and when you’ve got longer hours – will you really want to put that extra mileage in? I recently had a 40 year old woman under me as a junior starting out in PR because she changed careers! Long term happiness from a career path is much more sustainable – and that happiness will make you work harder, take on more challenges and help you flourish more in your career overall.
You never know how your current contacts will cross over into a future job and you can network in any industry and build up a new base of connections. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman. But the interesting thing can be drawing on and applying experiences from past roles to your new job, things can sometimes surprisingly cross over!
I think the best attitude we can have is one of flexibility and a willingness to learn and reskill whatever situation we’re in. Kramer is one of a dozen Law School faculty members, with areas of expertise ranging from torts to intellectual property, who are co-teaching the course. But as a student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources who hopes someday to develop policies for sustainable land use, she would like to know how lawyers approach land disputes. Taught by 12 Law School faculty with areas of expertise ranging from torts to intellectual property, the course draws graduate students from a wide cross-section of disciplines. Gaither Professor of Law and vice dean, who came up with the idea for the course and oversaw its development. We're teaching law in a reduced and intense way, focusing on the essence of a particular subject area and addressing key conceptual issues that come up again and again," Kelman said. At the same time, there's been a 10-fold increase in law students venturing to other parts of campus for courses.


As part of the Law School's push to educate students more broadly beyond the traditional legal curriculum, the school is aligning its academic calendar with that of the university to make it easier for law students to enroll in courses outside the school—and, likewise, open the school to non-law students. Thinking Like a Lawyer represents one model of cross-school interaction for graduate students that the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education is working to expand, Golde said.
So does the Business School's Interpersonal Influence and Leadership (offered winter and spring quarters), which focuses on teaching students from various disciplines how to build more effective working relationships. The School of Education, for example, requires its doctoral students to obtain a master's degree or minor in another department. I like how they use the Socratic method," said Antwi, who adds that he finds the idea of being able to interpret "lawyerly talk" appealing.
The working world is changing so rapidly that the career we think we sign up for when we start out may not be at all the same years later. In the past decade, law students registered for 30 classes outside the Law School in a typical year. In anticipation, the school has dramatically expanded its formal joint degree program offerings to cover more than 20 possible degrees.
And other schools have similarly created programs that integrate various disciplines, such as the School of Earth Sciences' Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources, which blends environmental science, engineering and policy.
Supreme Court, examining constitutional issues, or Robert Weisberg, director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, walking students through a criminal case. Lang Professorship for the Dean of Stanford Law School, is teaching two sessions on litigation and dispute resolution.



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