A Job Offer Rescinded
I attended one of the most expensive private law schools in one of the most expensive cities in the world—New York. When I graduated, I was at least $150,000 in debt, and my offer from a law firm was rescinded due to the economic recession when most firms were downsizing.
I had two choices: be homeless in New York (not recommended) or eat humble pie and move back to my hometown of Washington, DC.
So I said, “Alex, DC for $200, please.”
Fortunately, moving back meant free shelter, food, and a job with my dad’s friend, who ironically gave me my first pre-law internship. His law practice was mostly probate law. That wasn’t an interest of mine in law school, but I was just so grateful to be working anywhere.
Unemployed, I Still Had Power
However, the position was only temporary. So, I was back to square one, wondering what to do with this very expensive law degree. I didn’t graduate at the top of my class, nor was I on the moot court team or law journal.
What did I have? I had the power to employ myself and also the ability to think outside the box. Although I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was seven years old, I’d also taken a keen interest in the arts and entertainment field. I played three instruments and was a classically trained dancer. My main law school internship was also in entertainment law at Classic Media, now DreamWorks.
My mother saw a position with the local news for essentially a volunteer writer. I know what you’re thinking: How would this pay my bills? I decided I’d do it only part-time and teach law courses full-time. Eventually, I also opened my own law firm.
How I Built My Career
That was one of the best decisions of my life. Becoming a multimedia journalist for the outlet meant that I received a press pass. At the time, Washington, DC, was like a new Hollywood because President Barack Obama himself was a celebrity. Each week, there was some huge event with celebrities galore.
I had a front-row seat to all the action. My coverage was mostly red-carpet interviews, where I interviewed celebrities for my segment. This experience led to me creating my first documentary film, my first reality show, and my first podcast.
And those projects, in turn, led to me being featured in Forbes (twice!); partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood actors, and advocates like Hill Harper and Kerry Washington; and interviews with some of the top legal and political minds, such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Also, all of my projects are connected to law and politics. So, to my mother’s delight, I didn’t waste my six-figure degree.
You Can Always Rely on Yourself
The lesson from my experience: When you’re your own boss, you don’t have to wait for a job or rely on anyone to survive—law degree or not. While entrepreneurship in any field, including legal, isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s still the best decision I’ve ever made.
I took several of my passions—the law, entertainment, and media—and found a way to bring them together to earn a living. I’ll never forget when I was struggling to find a job after law school, and a friend who wanted to go to law school but couldn’t pass the LSAT said to me, “You have a law degree. I don’t understand why you can’t have any job you want.”
At that moment, I realized she’d fallen into the stereotype of all lawyers being rich and having the best jobs by default. Ironically, I did ultimately get the job I wanted. It was the one I gave myself.