Opening Statements

'The Gen Why Lawyer' podcast explores unconventional career paths for young attorneys

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Gen Why Lawyer

The law is a culturally conservative profession. But in a changing job market, Nicole Abboud doesn't believe young lawyers can afford to stay conventional.

“A lot of us young lawyers are … realizing we really have to take our own careers into our own hands,” says the Los Angeles lawyer-turned-speaker and business consultant, who is a member of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division. “We need to kind of build our own brand and prove that we are indispensable.”

Abboud sends that message with The Gen Why Lawyer, a weekly podcast highlighting unconventional career paths for new lawyers. About half her guests are people with offbeat practices, such as a lawyer with a niche practice in the wedding industry. She also has guests who discuss different ways to practice, including a mobile attorney and several others who combine legal work with entrepreneurship.

Her podcast guests often offer advice to young lawyers on transitioning to a career outside the law. Abboud has talked to a “recovering lawyer” who became a computer programmer, as well as those who went into marketing, branding and social media.

Abboud has also done several ABA-focused podcasts for the YLD’s Young Lawyer Toolkit project. Most were interviews with section leaders on practice basics and different areas of the law. She’s also interviewed ABA President Paulette Brown about how young lawyers can help promote diversity and inclusion in the profession.

The podcast’s topics reflect Abboud’s own journey from unhappy family law associate into business and litigation and then on to a solo practice focused on fashion companies. Based in part on the podcast’s feedback, she believes a lot of young lawyers have had similar struggles.

“When we start practicing, it’s usually far from what we expected,” she says. “The profession is changing, [and] the way young lawyers practice is changing.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “The Why Generation: A new podcast offers unconventional takes on practicing law.”

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