The Former Lawyer Podcast

The Former Lawyer Podcast

formerlawyer.com/podcast
Do you hate working as a lawyer? Are you an unhappy lawyer who wants to leave the law, but isn’t sure what to do next? Do your family and friends think you’re crazy for wanting to leave the law, or are you too afraid to tell them you don’t want to be a lawyer? The Former Lawyer Podcast is for you! Each week, host Sarah Cottrell interviews a different former lawyer who has left the law behind. Hear inspiring stories about how these former lawyers are thriving and found their way to careers and lives they love.


052 Don’t Wait Until You Feel Ready
Aug 10 • 9 min
This week I’m reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the podcast! The #1 thing that I have learned in this last year is: don’t wait until you feel ready. I knew virtually nothing about podcasting when I started. I know a lot more now, but I’m not sure…
051 Annie Little: Lawyering (and Leaving Law) as an Anxious Extrovert
Aug 3 • 62 min
We know that the mental health stats regarding lawyers are grim, but what is it really like to experience anxiety and panic as a lawyer? In this conversation (the first of two parts), Annie Little and I take a deep dive into our own experiences with…
050 Andrea Yang: Litigator Turned Law School Career Counselor and Coach
Jul 27 • 61 min
Is quitting law without another job lined up a bad idea? When you’re super miserable as a lawyer, you often find yourself wondering: can I just quit? My guest on today’s podcast, Andrea Yang, did just that. After seven years as a lawyer, she quit her job…
049 Mary Eberle: From Law Firm Partner to DNA Hunter
Jul 20 • 57 min
Law is my second career—can I still leave? A lot of lawyers ask themselves this question. In this episode, Mary Eberle shares all about how she left the law, even though it was her second career, and even though she had been made a shareholder at her law…
048 Lauren Bernadett: From Law Firm to Conservation Non-Profit and Beyond, Part 2
Jul 13 • 44 min
In the second half of our conversation, Lauren Bernadett shares about the challenges she faced leaving her high-paying law firm job as a single person, trying to figure out what was next when she didn’t have a “dream job” in mind, why what she’s gained…
047 Lauren Bernadett: From Law Firm To Conservation Non-Profit & Beyond, Part 1
Jul 6 • 44 min
Lauren Bernadett spent a lot of time negotiating a full-ride scholarship to law school so that she wouldn’t find herself trapped in a firm job that she hated. Five years in, she realized that despite her careful planning, she was still at a firm and felt…
046 It’s Okay To Be A Quitter
Jun 29 • 7 min
Are you worried that quitting your job or leaving the law entirely means that you’re a quitter? Most lawyers think that quitting things is bad and wrong. On episode 046, I’m sharing why it’s okay to be a quitter, and why it could be the best thing for…
045 The Sunk Costs Fallacy
Jun 22 • 6 min
On episode 045, we’re tackling another myth that keeps lawyers stuck: the sunk costs fallacy. Have you ever thought, “If I leave my job/the law, I’ll be wasting all the time and money I spent becoming a lawyer!” Of course you have, because literally every…
044 There Is Nothing Wrong With You
Jun 15 • 5 min
On episode 044 of the podcast, I’m talking about another myth that keeps lawyers stuck in jobs they hate: that there’s something wrong with them because they don’t like their job. There are so many lawyers out there who think that not liking their job is…
043 There Is No Perfect Next Step
Jun 1 • 5 min
On episode 43 of the podcast, we’re kicking off a series where we’ll be talking about some of the myths that keep lawyers stuck in jobs they hate. This week: the myth of the perfect next step. Spoiler alert: there is no perfect next step! Listen in to…
042 Your Job Should Not Make You Cry
May 25 • 4 min
Have you found yourself crying in your office, or on the way to the office, or when working at home? Crying because of your job is weirdly normalized in the legal profession. In episode 042 of the podcast, I’m talking about why your job should not make…
041 Biglaw Is Inhospitable To Human Life
May 18 • 7 min
In episode 041 of the podcast, I’m sharing why I think Biglaw is inhospitable to human life (spicy!), and why I think it’s particularly important for women in Biglaw to figure out what they want from their careers. If you want to be the first to hear all…
040 There Are Some Things You Can’t Think Your Way Through
May 11 • 6 min
In episode 040 of the podcast, I’m sharing two reasons that I’ll be doing things a little differently on the podcast for a bit, and why it’s important to remember that there are some things that you can’t think your way through. Full show notes at…
039 Sarah Rutledge Fischer: From Biglaw to Working Artist, part 2
May 4 • 41 min
In Episode 039 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing the second half of my conversation with Sarah Rutledge Fischer. Sarah is an artist and art teacher. She spent 3 1/2 years in biglaw before left and found her way to her current career as an artist.…
038 Sarah Rutledge Fischer: From Biglaw to Working Artist, part 1
Apr 27 • 61 min
In Episode 038, I’m sharing the first half of my conversation with Sarah Rutledge Fischer. Sarah is an artist and art teacher. She spent 3 1/2 years in biglaw before left and found her way to her current career as an artist. In today’s episode, we talk…
037 Dr. Jan Newman: From Biglaw Associate to Clinical Psychologist
Apr 20 • 65 min
In Episode 037 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Dr. Jan Newman. Jan is a licensed clinical psychologist and executive coach. She is a published author and researcher and a frequent speaker on topics related to emotional…
036 What Unhappy Lawyers Need To Know Right Now
Apr 13 • 6 min
We’re doing things a little differently on today’s episode. It’s my first solo episode since all the way back in episode 001, when I shared a little bit about my own journey out of the law.⁠ ⁠ With everything that’s happening with the COVID-19 pandemic, I…
035 Tai Dixon: From Law to Non-Profits to Liberatory Leadership
Apr 6 • 61 min
In Episode 035 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Tai Dixon. Tai left legal practice for the the world of non-profit leadership, and last year, opened her own consulting practice where she specializes in workplace culture and…
034 Tyler & April Roberts: Spouses & Co-Founders of a Marketing Agency for Lawyers
Mar 30 • 51 min
In Episode 034 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Tyler and April Roberts. Tyler, a former lawyer, and his wife April, who has a background in marketing, co-founded NOMOS Marketing, a marketing agency for lawyers. Full show…
033 Gaby Abrams: Lawyer Turned Online Stationery Shop Owner
Mar 23 • 46 min
In Episode 033 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Gaby Abrams. Gaby left legal practice five years ago and opened an online stationery shop on Etsy, Casa Confetti.
032 Shunta Grant: Finding Joy In Life And Business After Law
Mar 16 • 53 min
In Episode 032 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Shunta Grant. Shunta left legal practice in 2015 to run her then side-hustle, Because of Zoe Designs, full-time. She has since started a second business teaching women how to…
031 Adam Kol: Tax Lawyer Turned Couples Financial Counselor
Mar 9 • 55 min
In Episode 031 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing my conversation with Adam Kol. Adam practiced tax law before leaving to become a couples financial counselor. Go to formerlawyer.com/031 for the full show notes.
030 Amy DuVall: From Politics to Pastry, part 2
Mar 2 • 39 min
In Episode 030 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing the second half of my conversation with Amy DuVall. (I shared the first half of our conversation last week in episode 029!) After starting out in private practice, Amy spent 20 years as a lawyer and…
029 Amy DuVall: From Politics to Pastry, part 1
Feb 24 • 40 min
In Episode 029 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, I’m sharing the first half of my conversation with Amy DuVall. (We talked about so many important things and I couldn’t bear to cut any of it, so I’ll share the second half next week!) After starting out in…
028 Matt Wheat: From Lawyer to Firefighter
Feb 17 • 41 min
In Episode 028 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Matt Wheat, a single dad who left the law to become a firefighter. Matt spent most of his legal career in various public interest law jobs. While he was still practicing law, Matt started…
027 Erin Conlon: Biglaw Discovery Counsel to Executive & Life Coach
Feb 10 • 53 min
In Episode 027 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Erin Conlon. Erin graduated from law school and landed her dream job with a plaintiff-side class action firm, only to lose her job as a result of the recession in the late 2000s. She worked on…
026 Toya Gavin: Battled Depression to Become Legally Bold
Feb 3 • 56 min
In Episode 026 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Toya Gavin. Toya practiced law for over 10 years, eventually opening her own practice, before finding herself struggling with severe depression. After reexamining her life and her career goals,…
025 Risa Weaver-Enion: Former Lawyer Turned Wedding Planner
Jan 27 • 55 min
In Episode 025 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Risa Weaver-Enion. Risa graduated from Duke Law School and worked a handful of jobs in the legal industry while she and her husband moved around the country for his job. Five years ago, Risa…
024 Katie Aldrich: From Business Litigation to Career Coach for Professionals
Jan 20 • 55 min
In Episode 024 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Katie Aldrich. Katie practiced business litigation at a big law firm in Boston for more than five years before transitioning first into professional development for lawyers, and then into…
023 Ami Watkin: Left Corporate Law For The Integrated Hustle
Jan 13 • 49 min
In Episode 023 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Ami Watkin. Ami is a self-described “recovering corporate attorney,” and the co-founder of Integrated Hustle, a career and business coaching firm.
022 Sivani Babu: From Federal Public Defender to Nature Photographer and Travel Journalist
Jan 6 • 53 min
In Episode 022 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Sivani Babu. Sivani worked as a federal public defender before switching careers. She is now an award-winning nature photographer and travel journalist, and the co-founder and Creative Director…
021 Sam Vander Wielen: From “Hating Every Second” to Legal Educator for Entrepreneurs
Dec 30, 2019 • 58 min
In Episode 021 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Sam Vander Wielen. Sam left legal practice and has spent the last three years helping women entrepreneurs legally protect and grow their online businesses with her DIY Legal Templates and…
020 Catherine Zack: Left the Grind of Biglaw for the Flow of Yoga
Dec 23, 2019 • 58 min
In Episode 020 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Catherine Zack. Six years ago, Catherine walked away from biglaw to teach yoga and meditation. Through her business, The Daily Vinyasa, Catherine teaches her clients and students how to…
019 Morgan Hall: “Happier Than Ever” After Leaving Law for Tech Sales
Dec 16, 2019 • 66 min
In Episode 019 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Morgan Hall. Morgan left legal practice after 4 1/2 years and is now a sales executive at a tech company.
018 Marissa Geannette: From Biglaw to The Unbillable Life
Dec 9, 2019 • 48 min
In Episode 018 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Marissa Geannette. Marissa walked away from a successful biglaw career after nearly eight years, and now works as a freelance writer and blogs on her site, The Unbillable Life.
017 Nicole Abboud: Gen Y Lawyer to Media Company Founder & Blogger
Dec 2, 2019 • 49 min
In Episode 017 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Nicole Abboud. Nicole first practiced family law, then fashion law, and along the way started the podcast The Gen Y Lawyer and founded Abboud Media, a modern strategy and consulting agency…
016 Goli Kalkhoran: Lawyer Turned Entrepreneur & Podcaster
Nov 25, 2019 • 53 min
In Episode 016 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Goli Kalkhoran, who quit law and started a portable photo booth company, Usie Booth. Goli also hosts the podcast Lessons from a Quitter, where she interviews inspiring people who have left…
015 Simi Botic: Firm Associate to Coach For Perfectionists
Nov 18, 2019 • 50 min
In Episode 015 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Simi Botic, who worked as a corporate healthcare associate at a law firm for almost four years before leaving to run her own business. Simi is a certified holistic health coach, Intuitive…
014 Jennifer Alvey: From Lawyer to Legal Publishing to Career Coach for Lawyers
Nov 11, 2019 • 50 min
In Episode 014 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Jennifer Alvey. Jennifer left the law for a career in legal publishing, and now works as a career coach for lawyers and others looking to make a career change.
013 Tasha Cochran: From Lawyer to Six-Figure Entrepreneur
Nov 4, 2019 • 51 min
In Episode 013 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Tasha Cochran. Tasha graduated from Yale Law, and most recently was an attorney with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. She left the CFPB in August 2019 to work full-time on her online…
012 Tiffany Duong: Renewable Energy Lawyer to Environmental Advocate
Oct 28, 2019 • 46 min
In Episode 012 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Tiffany Duong. Tiffany practiced renewable energy project finance law for five years after law school, until she had an epiphany about her life on a dive boat in the Galapagos Islands. She now…
011 Shinah Chang: Corporate Lawyer Turned Sassy Calligrapher
Oct 21, 2019 • 48 min
In Episode 011 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Shinah Chang. Shinah practiced corporate law for six years before leaving to start her own calligraphy business, Crooked Calligraphy.
010 Francesca Chang: Left the Law To Travel The World
Oct 14, 2019 • 43 min
In Episode 010 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Francesca Chang. While in law school, Francesca realized that she didn’t want to practice law, and instead travels and works as a freelance travel writer and marketing consultant. For full show…
009 Jen Berson: From Lawyer to Jeneration PR & The Agency Accelerator
Oct 7, 2019 • 57 min
In Episode 009 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah talks with Jen Berson. Jen is a former lawyer who owns and run her own PR Agency, Jeneration PR, and teaches others how to start and grow their own successful agency.
008 Alex Davis
Sep 30, 2019 • 57 min
In Episode 008 of The Former Lawyer Podcast, Sarah has a conversation with Alex Davis. Alex is a former lawyer who is now a writer, content expert, and consultant. Alex’s company, Davis Legal Media, helps attorneys and firms create content strategies to…
007 Stacy Mikulik
Sep 23, 2019 • 64 min
On today’s show, Sarah talks with Stacy Mikulik. Stacy is a former lawyer who is now a jewelry designer and the owner of grace + hudson jewelry.
006 Matt Maxwell
Sep 16, 2019 • 65 min
On today’s show, Sarah talks with Matt Maxwell, a former lawyer who is now a Leadership Coach and Facilitator. Matt shares about how he found himself asking during the first month of law school, “When did I actually choose to do this?”, why he left his…
005 Heidi Mueller
Sep 9, 2019 • 55 min
On today’s show, Sarah talks with Heidi Mueller. Heidi is a former lawyer who is now the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. In this conversation, Heidi shares about why she had an inkling that she might want to leave law firm life…
004 Nicolle Neulist
Sep 2, 2019 • 45 min
On today’s show, Sarah talks with Nicolle Neulist, a former lawyer who went from lawyer, to information security consultant and analyst, to writing about horse-racing. In this conversation, Nicolle shares about realizing during law school that law was not…
003 Alexis Michaud
Aug 26, 2019 • 54 min
On today’s show, Sarah interviews Alexis Michaud. In her former life, Alexis was Deputy General Counsel for a newly public technology company. In this interview, Alexis shares why she left the law after practicing for 18 years, why someone who loves legal…
002 Maria Phillis
Aug 19, 2019 • 35 min
On today’s show, Sarah interviews Maria Phillis, former lawyer turned doctor (ob/gyn, to be specific). In this interview, Maria shares why she doesn’t regret taking the path that she took (even though it meant even more student loans), why she thinks it’s…
001 Sarah Cottrell
Aug 12, 2019 • 18 min
In this episode, Sarah Cottrell, the host of The Former Lawyer Podcast, shares about her experience working as a lawyer and why she decided to leave the law after practicing for 10 years. You’ll hear about why she decided to go to law school (spoiler, she…
000 Introduction to The Former Lawyer Podcast
Aug 3, 2019 • 1 min
In today’s mini episode, Sarah introduces The Former Lawyer Podcast.