Job Search Strategies: Not a straight line

Aurora Donnelly is a solo practitioner always looking forward to the next exciting transition.

Allyn O’Connor is an attorney whose career story intrigued me and I want to share it with you, my colleagues in transition.  Describing her current position, she says:

“I run the ABA Business Law Section’s Business Law Pro Bono Project.  I’m able to interface with Section members and business lawyers, as well as legal services organizations and their lawyers.  I provide technical support to organizations providing pro bono transactional legal services to nonprofits and very small businesses.  I also provide assistance to organizations that help individuals with consumer-related needs like foreclosure, bankruptcy, and debtor defense.”

Prior to law school Allyn worked for the regulatory arm of what was then known as the National Association of Securities Dealers.  She decided to go to law school to advance her career.  She was excited about learning new things and the challenge of graduating law school.

After law school she returned to the financial services industry, working for Alex. Brown and Sons Inc., which at the time was the nation’s oldest investment banking firm.  She enjoyed the experience of working with talented individuals in an exciting field in which she was very knowledgeable.

At a point in her career, however, the market for attorneys at financial services organizations, however, began to change.  Financial organizations began to consolidate and consequently there were fewer opportunities for in-house attorneys.

This blog is about career transitions and Allyn is a leader who has taken stock of her talents and abilities and successfully adjusted to the changes in the legal marketplace. As her career evolved, she created new objectives and directed her career in an exciting new direction, achieving success in a non-traditional attorney role.

Allyn says, “It’s a variation on (what I wanted to do after law school) it.  At times, I miss the challenges and rewards of being in the private sector.  The work I do now, however, is very important.  I’m indirectly making sure business lawyers have opportunities to lend their talents to organizations and individuals that need legal help but can’t afford it.  This assistance can have remarkable results:  affordable housing preserved, a small business staying afloat, and the like.”

Where does she see her career going from here? “ I’d like to stay in this field a while longer.  After that, who knows?”

To the question, “Do you have unfulfilled career desires?” Allyn responds, “It depends on the day!” Isn’t that how most of us feel?


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