A Publicist and a Lawyer

“Whoever tells the best story wins.”  

When I first told people my secret , I was getting a lot of fun questions about my career change.  I understand that…who would quit a paying job,  do a 180, go into debt for the first time and willingly live like a poor college student again.   

I get it.   

I wish you all could have been with me when I told people at work, because for the most part, the response was the same.  Since you couldn’t be there, let me show you how it went down.  

Jaye: So…I’m going to be quitting to go to law school (I’m not good at transitioning so normally big announcements like this come as word vomit. I’m working on it.)  

               Others: Law school?!  

Jaye: Yep.  Going to be a lawyer.  

                Staring at me trying to figure out if I’m joking…  

                                         1…  

                                               2…  

                                                     3…  

               Others: Huh. A publicist to a lawyer.   

Jaye: Yep.  

     Others: Well that’s an interesting switch. (read in between the lines,   “what is wrong with that girl”)  

Jessie the Publicist from Arrested Development. Have I told you how fabulous this show is yet?

I would just laugh.  I can see how on the outside these two careers have nothing to do with each other. However, it’s the similarities in these two that helped get me on the right path.   

When I was contemplating what I wanted to do, I took inventory of what I love to do and what I’m good at.  I’ve learned that there is a job for everything (despite what your high school counselor tries to tell you).  Don’t decide WHAT job you want to do…instead, find what you’re good at and what you like to do and there’s a job for it.  So…here’s what I knew, I loved certain aspects of my job as a publicist: the people, building relationships with authors, publishers and media, problem solving, finding the story and communicating that story, as well as the writing and the production aspect of it.  

Ok, so there were a lot of things I liked but for many reasons, I knew I wouldn’t be a publicist forever. It fit well but as Goldilocks says, I wanted something to fit “just right.”  So I brainstormed, talked to people I respect about the career change.  After which began long months of studying after work, a 7 hour test and furiously applying to law school while trying to keep my day job.   

Bob Loblaw, one of the 3 lawyers in Arrested Development. I know. I'm obsessed, but that's for another post.

During that whole process and now working at a law firm this summer I not only have been assured that this is what I should be doing but have seen how many similarities there are between the two practices.   

What do you think makes someone a good lawyer?  After observing many lawyers, I would venture to guess it’s the same thing that makes a good.   

Just like an author/publicist relationship, lawyers need to build a relationship with the client, based on trust and communication.  The more I work the more I learn it’s ALL about relationships whether it’s authors/media/publishers or clients/other attorneys/judges.  Problem solving- check and check.  What happens when a book just isn’t getting PR…time to go back to the drawing board and rework the pitch.  Law is all about problem solving and coming to a resolution.  Then of course there’s the writing and the planning/production aspect that they share.  For one you’re planning trips and book tours and the other you deal with court dates etc.  But my favorite part is the story telling.   

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. I love Buster. He's my favorite.

When you get down to it, both law and publicity is communicating a person’s story, whether it’s in a courtroom to a jury or a pitch to media.  I love that.  I love digging in, finding the facts, finding the key elements and then figuring out how to tell the story.  It’s for these reasons that I am excited and I know that this is where I need to be.  I’ve found my sweet spot!  

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous as I walked out on my last day with my cardboard box full of things.  What if I made the wrong decision?  What if this isn’t the right thing for me?  What if I don’t like it?  

The good news is, I absolutely love it!  And although I might be older than most in law school since I worked for three years, I think it gives me an edge.  I know what I like and what I’m good at as well as what skills I can improve on.   

That’s what your high school guidance counselor should tell you when they sit you down and make you choose a profession in the 9th grade so you can take the right classes to position yourself to go to the right school.  Instead of making you choose a profession, they should ask you what you like, what you’re good at.  And if you don’t know right off the bat, that’s fine!  People (as I did) get so hung up on what major, what job etc.  Who cares?!  I went to a liberal arts school that was known for business, started out a biology/musical theater major and ended up in journalism.  Explain that! haha.  The important thing is to constantly learn about yourself, what you like and what you’re good at.  Only then will you be happy.  Hmmm…maybe I should’ve gone to be a high school counselor 😉 Nah.   

See what the 2nd most asked question is when people hear I’m going to law school…

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14 thoughts on “A Publicist and a Lawyer

  1. Pingback: So Good « JayeWalking

  2. OMG. When Philip and I started dating…alllll we watched was Arrested Development. 🙂 He has all the DVDs. SUCH a hilarious show. Never gets old. I can always rewatch episodes and find something I didn’t notice the first time. I hear you about “choosing a profession”. So frustrated that my HS counselors sent me to struggle through all kinds of math & science classes. My senior year of HS I finally took the reigns and insisted on taking an art class. You know what? I LOVED it. And I was actually pretty good at painting and photography. My art teacher asked me why I hadn’t taken art earlier in high school…I told her we could blame the counselor. I just don’t get it.

    I’m reading a great book right now “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. It’s all about this kinda stuff. Doing what you love. Finding beauty in everything and looking for opportunities to express the unique talents that make you who you are. Highly recommend reading it!

  3. I’m only a step better. I quit my job for a part time job. But I see going cold turkey, back to poor college kid in my future. We haven’t even talked about the iPhone i’ll have to give back. BOOO. You’re right, figure out what you love and what you’re good at and go for it!

  4. Ah this is refreshing to read. You go girl 🙂

    I too graduated University and a post-grad program with multimedia and journalism degrees. I wanted to be a reporter/anchor so bad. And I was well on my way. Until deep down inside I listened to my heart and thought you know, there are other things that make me happy! And now I am pursuing different projects hopefully that will make me happier and feel more fulfilled. I am thinking wedding planning or a magazine 🙂 We will see.

    Can’t wait to read about your journey. Please keep us posted. We know you will be great!! xo

  5. I think it’s awesome (and brave) that you’re doing what you want to do in life and not afraid to take a leap of faith. If only everyone out there loved their careers!

  6. Speaking of learning things about others: I never knew you once were a musical theater major. Interesting … you will have to tell me more about that one. 🙂

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