June 20, 2021

Why I Chose My Area of The Law + Tips for Baby Lawyers

Why I Chose My Area of The Law + Tips for Baby Lawyers | brazenandbrunette.com

Hellooooo! It's been a hot minute, so thank you to anyone who is actually still reading this. I'm currently procrastinating work + laundry so I remembered that I have this blog. I've been meaning for over a year to talk about being a lawyer but have been so busy that I haven't sat down to write this until today :) 

Let me take you down the twisted path of how I ended up in my area of law. The too long; didn't read version is trust God's plan. To backtrack, I spent my entire last semester of law school working with the in-house counsel of Interstate Batteries in Dallas. I loved it and left wanting nothing less than working in-house counsel, even though I knew these jobs were very selective and competitive. Then I took the Bar Exam and honestly I felt lost after the Bar. I spent all August and September after the Bar feeling lost and unmotivated and only survived off of my remaining law school loan money and the generosity of Ryan. I of ended up working for my now-fiancé's mom as her assistant because she's the CEO of her own company in October. This job was a huge wake up for me because, even though I didn't have my bar results yet, I knew I wanted to be doing something with the law. 

So I started job hunting (hi, procrastination!) and applying to in-house jobs with no response, then I applied to other corporate jobs with no response, and then I broadened my applications. I can still remember sitting on our balcony with a glass of wine and crying to Ryan as I realized I was at a fork in the road for my career. I had seen the job posting for a workers' comp attorney and honestly I wasn't very on board. I knew if I applied for and/or took this job, I was sabotaging my chances of going in-house. And I felt like workers' comp felt as unglamorous and low-life as it gets like Saul from Better Call Saul. I really didn't want to apply for the job but Ryan talked it through with me and we decided any job is better than no job and to just apply.

After I got my bar results back, I sent a follow-up email to everywhere I had applied to and mentioned that I would now be a licensed lawyer. My current boss called my like that next day for a phone interview, and then we scheduled an in-person interview for the end of that week. To be transparent, it was the first firm that called me back. It was a small 7-laywer firm that only handled the non-sexy workers' comp. But during my interview, I just felt so at home and at ease! I instantly loved it and when they offered me a job on the spot, I tried to stall and told them I needed to think about it before committing so I didn't seem desperate. 

As luck would have it, as I was leaving the interview I got an email from another law firm that was an area of the law closer to in-house counsel that invited me to interview but warned that they couldn't offer health insurance, 401k, or other benefits at the time. I called my sister and she wisely advised me to not bother with a firm that couldn't offer benefits. I had lunch with Ryan who wisely advised me to take a job if I felt so excited about it. So, later that same day I officially became a workers' comp attorney.

I've been at my firm for over 2 years now, and I fully intend to stay here for as long as possible. My gut instinct was right  my boss provides guidance and feedback but isn't harsh and we actually really get along; each and every attorney above me has acted as a mentor and has helped me be a better lawyer and more successful in my own firm; one attorney specifically took me aside and told me what to do to get a raise and then championed for me to get that raise; I've been given opportunities to gain new experience without being thrown into something unprepared; and I've already doubled my starting salary. 

Constantly, I think back on that night with my wine and tears and Ryan and am so glad that I didn't let my pride and idea of a "dream lawyer job" prevent me from applying to my firm. My job is stressful, as all lawyer jobs are (which is something you really can't understand until you have clients of your own), but I am very grateful with where I ended up and I am lucky to say I love my job. I still talk to my law school friends so I've heard the stories of the ones who change jobs every 6 months because they can't find a job they like, or the ones who has a boss/company culture that could care less about you or your success, or the ones who just hate their jobs but they need the money. I'm just very happy in the circumstances that I'm in.

So, this whole life story and humble brag can now lead to lessons I would tell new law school grad Nikki.
  1. Don't box yourself in to one area of the law, you never know what area you might like more.
  2. Benefits are the same as money. If a job can't give you health insurance, retirement, etcetera, remember that this is something YOU will have to pay. So the salary they're offering will actually be much less because you'll have to be paying a lot out of pocket.
  3. If you're interested in a job, let them know. My boss actually told me that his excitement for me actually decreased when I didn't accept the job immediately because it made him feel like I wasn't fully committed. 
  4. Be humble. Looking back on it, it was VERY arrogant of unlicensed and inexperienced Nikki to turn her nose down at the thought of workers' comp. 
  5. Be open minded. I obviously had pre-conceived notions about what law I did and didn't want to do, but now I absolutely love the area of the law that I do. It's very convenient that my worst subject in law school (evidence) isn't really even used in my area of the law. And I originally wanted to be a doctor, and now all I really do is read medical records for a living. Plus, I obviously really like helping people and now that is the majority of my job! You never know what random job will end up being perfectly designed for you. 
  6. Do what makes you happy. Money is nice, but talking to my friends who hate their jobs makes it very easy to comprehend that there is no price for your mental wellbeing. If you like a job, don't worry about the money and instead choose your happiness. Again, I fully expected my job to be low paying for life, and now I make six figures. 


  1. It was so fun to read your job hunting story and experience! In law school I always knew I wanted to work in family law but tried to explore other areas as well because I didnt want to pigeon hole myself out of a job at graduation. A couple months before I graduated I was offered a job in family law and I accepted. I was so excited to find a job in family law but there were a few catches...I had to commute from the city to a suburb about an hour away each day, I had no benefits, and a low starting salary. I tried to stay positive even though the long commute and lack of benefits freaked me out. One of the attorneys who was opposing counsel on one of my cases called me out of the blue and told me she was so impressed with my work. As a baby lawyer I was glowing I was so flattered! Less than a year after I started my first family law job later a very well known family law firm (within walking distance of my apartment in the city) offered me a much higher salary, benefits, and training opportunities. Of course it was the firm of the opposing counsel (now coworker/mentor) who had complimented my work. I felt like a jerk leaving my first firm but in just a year I realized how important benefits and a short commute were to me. I'm so glad I was brave enough to make the switch! Wishing you so much happiness at your job!!