Lawyer By Day, Entrepreneur By Night

Entrepreneurship Is The “New Black,” But Most Of Us Are Still Making Excuses 

I believe that most people, especially unemployed or disillusioned Millenials, now prefer high beta career opportunities to low beta career opportunities. But for many of us, our desire to boldly go where no person has gone before is usually replaced by fear and excuses.

The top two excuses are student loans and other time commitments:

  •  “I cannot do anything entrepreneurial until I repay my student loans.”
  • I am going to work at a big law firm. I will not have time to start a business.”

Both of these statements are false. We can build businesses while working full time and we can build businesses even if we do not have much money.

At Times It Was Hard And I Felt Like I Was Doing Too Much. But Now I Am Proud That I Did It. 

I recently stumbled across Law School Husslin’ 3. It is a rap music video about being a young attorney at a large law firm. Mike Lickver and Antoine Biko star in the video. They are the co-founders of King Motion Pictures, the production company that produced the video.

Lickver is a licensed attorney in Canada and currently works in the Corporate Practice Group at Bennett Jones, a prominent Canadian law firm. Below is an interview where he discusses the genesis of King Motion Pictures and how he manages to run a production company while practicing law.

This proves that it is possible to start a successful business while working at a large law firm. Lickver has certainly inspired me to push the boundaries of my career. He was able to produce a high quality music video while meeting the demands of a legal career. If he can do it then any other big law associate can do it if they have dedication and passion.

Experimentation Is Good. 

There is no reason to wait until the “right time” to start a business. Anyone who argues otherwise is an uninformed naysayer who feeds off of crushing other peoples dreams. In fact, developing a start-up on the side may be preferable to focusing all your attention on it. Start-ups operate differently than large businesses. Steve Blank frequently says that “a start-up is NOT a small large company.” Entrepreneurs are searching for a business model. Employees in an existing business, on the other hand, are executing a proven business model. Therefore, in the initial stages of a start-up it is preferable to experiment and quickly iterate so that you can find out what works and what does not.

“Dual career” attorneys, like Lickver, are more likely to engage in the experimental activities that will produce commercially viable innovations within the legal services industry. Note that this is Law School Husslin 3, not Law School Husslin 1. You learn by doing, not by watching or reading. Building businesses on the side will benefit attorneys in two ways. First, it will help us understand our current clients better. The law is just a tool we use to help our clients achieve their goals. Good lawyers understand what clients want. Great lawyers understand the business or personal realities that cause clients to want something. Building a business will allow us to directly experience the business realities that motivate our clients. We can use those experiences to engage with clients on a deeper level than before. Second, being an entrepreneur will help us run our own businesses better. Seeing how other businesses operate will help us spot ways in which the practice of law can be improved.

Disruptive Legal

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