Quitting your law job is an experience that can ebb and flow like the tide. For younger lawyers – seeking the wonders of the wide world beyond the oakwood desk – it is a temptation too enticing to resist. But for blogger Jodi Ettenberg it has actually become a law-job replacement occupation that has seen her eight years on the road.
Her blog, Legal Nomads has become an online success, generating income and permitting her to travel the world – from Alaska to New Zealand, Africa to Europe.
The income comes from various forms, including via advertising, her book “The Food Traveler’s Handbook’ and other paid products through her freelance writing, social media consulting, speaking and her online store.
She has also become a sought-after online speaker and something of a source of inspiration for lawyers seeking a life beyond the “billable hour”.
Her ‘story’ has itself been written in various other blogs and news media, including a major piece in the New York Times.
Hence here “thillable hours” series for lawyers seeking an alternative life.
The Lawyers’ Q&A: Alternative Careers
One of the features on her blog is a Q&A on alternative careers for lawyers.
She put together her “Thrillable Hours” series:
“As the site grew, I received more and more emails from lawyers and law students confused about what options existed for them with their background. Some were miserable, some were bored, others were just curious.
“I decided to put together a series on alternative careers for lawyers, one that used the same 5 questions for each former attorney to ask them how they saw the world today, and to let them provide advice for readers seeking information a career change. I called it Thrillable Hours, a play on billable hours, which I found hilarious and non-lawyers find baffling.
She provides resources for lawyers seeking jobs other than a legal career, referring them to alternative career resources such as the Georgetown University ‘Alternative Careers’ page and ‘Life after Law’s’ job board.
Among the ‘alternative lawyers’ are former UK lawyer Nisha Katona, a “curry evangelist” and former entertainment lawyer and now rally racing champion Andrew Comrie-Pikard who she also interviewed regarding his ‘change-of-life’ decision to enter a somewhat different life.
While Ettenberg always had the desire to roam around the world, she never thought that starting a blog would lead to a lifestyle of long-term travel.
Her blogging work saw her finding that many of her readers share her fascination with street food and its history and so she began to use her blog as a platform that would allow her to continue her nomadic life eight years later.
Jodi Ettenberg at an Alpaca farm in New Zealand.
When Ettenberg talks about the life that she’s chosen for herself, many people project the narrative that she was burnt out from her job.
In fact, Ettenberg had planned to embark on her world trip before she even started working. One of the reasons why she became a corporate lawyer in New York in the first place was to earn enough money to save up for a year of travel.
‘I was burnt out in my own way,’ Ettenberg said. But it wasn’t from being a lawyer, it was from not fulfilling her itch to travel.