Colossal Firms vs. Preliminary Ventures: the Struggles of a Young Israeli Lawyer

Here in the land of the startup nation, we are led to believe that making it can be done quite easily. According to the World Economic Forum, Israel ranks in at number 2 in innovation, and introduces approximately 1,000 startups a year. Young business oriented lawyers who have had enough with long hours and are fed-up with being bullied by displeased clients and strict senior partners, dream of a world where they could just hop on the startup train, make their millions, and retire at the tender age of 35 with their brand new yacht at their side. Things however, do not always end up as envisioned. Though it may seem that the vast majority of startups succeed, many, in fact, do not. According to researchers, 46% of technological companies founded in Israel between 1999 and 2014 have shut down. The odds of an Israeli start-up wildly succeeding are at 2.5% only, which is not much to bank on.

Despite these discouraging figures, many young lawyers in the Israeli business world are attracted to this fa├žade of flowing rivers of cash and indulgences as far as the eye can see. Not only is it unstable, it is the same rigorous workload to which they had been subjected before, minus job security and other accommodating advantages that large firms have to offer, such as massive bonuses, exclusive retreats abroad, and other goodies. Even having a well-stocked cafeteria can be considered a luxury in a struggling newfound start-up.

Although technology and all its abundance, especially in Israel, may seem like an easy way to make it in ones career, it seems that one must have to be immensely talented, or extraordinary lucky, to make it effortlessly in the start-up world at a young age. If you are a gifted young lawyer from a humble background, it seems that it would prove to be more efficient to work hard at a large law firm. Thus, you would be able gain valuable experience , exposure to clients, and form long-lasting imperative relationships with other likeminded and talented young individuals, from which you could benefit later on in your career. Again, this seems to be rather essential in Israel specially, as this is a rather small country where you are likely to meet again people from your past further down the road in various scenarios. Sometimes, it is this personal relationship that you had gained while working at a large law firm that would prove to be a key catalyst in future ventures.

If so, tempting as it may be to jump ship at an early stage from your sometimes over-bearing law firm, think again. Though challenging, this period can play a pivotal role in your career, bolstering you further in forthcoming undertakings. I guess the timely old saying is true; there is no substitute for hard work.

About the Author
Sharon holds a Master's degree in Political Sciences from Tel Aviv University and the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly referred as Sciences Po. During her studies in Paris, Sharon had interned at the Permanent Mission of Israel to the OECD, and was selected as spokesperson on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students at the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva. She is currently employed with Israel's largest law firm, Herzog Fox & Neeman
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