3 Lawyers' New Gigs: Headmistress, Concrete Worker, Rap Artist

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For lawyers unhappy in their current jobs, three recent reports of career changes by successful attorneys might offer some food for thought.

Pinney Allen, 54, a top female partner at Alston & Bird, is leaving the firm July 1 to run the Atlanta Girls’ School, according to a Daily Report article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

Although she was the only non-educator among 10 candidates interviewed for the prestigious job as the school’s head, Pinney was also “the only one who excited the search committee—and the parents committee and the student committee and the faculty committee,” says Anne Skae, who chairs the school’s board. “The board is convinced that she has the ability to grow the school to the next level and mentor teachers and students,” Skae says, citing Pinney’s work as a mentor at Alston & Bird.

Meanwhile, a Larimer County, Color., attorney is making a more gradual transition to an unusual new career as a concrete artisan. After 14 years in practice, Mark Berkner, 43, spends his workday not only handling legal matters but constructing kitchen and bath countertops, mantles, fireplaces, and other indoor and outdoor objects, according to the North Forty News. His wife, Amy, with whom he formerly practiced, left the law five years ago to become a high school Spanish teacher.

His concrete work is “very different from the inevitable adversarial atmosphere of the law,” says Berkner, whose career change resulted from his decision to construct concrete counters himself during the renovation of his own home. “Concrete offers endless possibilities,” he says. “You can use different colors and textures, and you can add design elements using bits of metal and glass to make each piece unique.”

At the outset of a promising legal career, Emeka Onyejekwe, a 2006 graduate of New York University School of Law, has already left his job as a BigLaw associate to pursue a career as a rap artist, according to a press release.

Known as “Mekka Don,” the 26-year-old is the subject of an upcoming YouTube six-episode series, The “Legal” Hustler, that depicts his daily life since he decided to pursue a hip-hop music career. The series premieres Monday, and new seven-minute episode will be featured the following five Mondays.

“Although Mekka Don left his job, he still participates in a number of ‘legal’ hustles to stay afloat,” the release explains. “He is an entrepreneur amongst other things and maneuvers through different social circles from business to entertainment. As a result, celebrities, athletes and other characters appear frequently throughout the show.”

The bottom line, though, is how he is making a go of his new career on a day-to-day basis: “What will he do now? What if he doesn’t make it in the music industry? How is he handling the critics? How is he paying rent?”

More information on Onyejekwe and a link to a trailer for the series can be found on this YouTube page.

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