Go back Thrillable Hours, my interview about a number of alternative works for lawyers.
I first met Karen during the Summit of World Domination in 2011. We sat next to each other by accident and quickly found out that we were both former lawyers, sarcastic, and spoke at the event. Given that Karen was a nationally acclaimed speaker, photographer and author, I was getting ready for the first time in history and shaking in my shoes.
Karen put her hand on her forearm and looked into my eyes. "Jodi," she said, "come on, you did it." At that time I did not feel so much, but her confidence in my ability to get up and talk to 500 people helped me as I stepped on the scene.
In the years when we met, Karen continues to inspire people with her lyrical narratives and incredible photographs. She also published The Beauty of Different: Observations of Confident Misfit, and in November released another book Make Light: Stories about bright sparks, slow burns and indignation. Creating light tells the stories of people who are changing the world through their efforts to create something different.
If that's not enough, Karen also runs the award-winning Chookooloonks, continues to talk around the world and gains recognition for her work.
Karen's living spirit is the force to be counted on. Her answers on work for lawyers, leaving law and advice for those who want to do the same, everywhere down.
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Alternative Jobs for Lawyers: Questions and Answers with Karen Walrond
What made you choose to follow a less conventional path than typical law school graduates? Was there some time she decided for you?
Frankly, I did not follow a less conventional path – I had a long career (15 years!) As an in-house adviser in the oil and gas industry, specifically in the software field. And to be honest, my time in law was invaluable. Not only did I learn a lot about the fundamental practice of law, but I learned a lot about myself: I actually learned that I really love public speaking and I really love writing. When I left my practice, I knew that everything I did would involve a lot of both.
What do you do most about your current job?
There are so many things I love! I like creativity: I love that everything I do is a combination of communication and imagery, whether I'm writing a book or making a note. And because I speak a lot about self-determination and the power of inclusiveness and diversity, I love that many of my clients are lawyers, especially the women's lawyers' conference. Since I am still enthusiastic about the power of the legal field to change the world, I am thrilled to be part of this.
Do you have any advice for professionals who are interested in leaving a conventional private practice in North America but are you wondering what life looks like by law?
I have found that the beauty of getting a legal and legal experience is such that it is so broad that it allows you to create a career for yourself that you may never have thought of. It sometimes requires some creativity and innovative thinking sometimes, but the ability to create a career that is tailored to your gifts and abilities is unlimited if you have legal background.
I think it takes some time for me to be really introspective and to literally identify what you loved in the legal profession and (b) what your gifts are and how to deal with both of these things clearly is a great starting point for determining , how to market what you can give the world.
How did your legal education inform you about how you see the world today? Still seeing yourself as a lawyer?
I'm totally identifiable as a lawyer – why not? The law is an honorable profession: I would argue that almost every civil law you dearly has been partially reserved for you by a lawyer.
I worked hard on my diploma and license and continued to work hard to make my license active. Recently I have volunteered to work with the ACLU. I am committed to helping lawyers – currently the most depressing, excessively healing profession in the US, by the way – to take control of their careers, to remember why they have become lawyers in the first place, and to take care of themselves that they can continue to change the world best.
I love being a lawyer. I just do not use traditional law.
What should I tell those who tell me that lawyers can not talk?
I think they have a very narrow definition of what it means to be a lawyer. 😉
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You can find Karen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on your Chookooloonks blog.
Karen Walrond, a lecturer, photographer and best-selling author, first appeared at the Legal Nomad.