Welcome back to Thrillable Hours, my interview series about alternative jobs for lawyers.
I first met Karen during the World Domination Summit, in 2011. We sat next to each other by accident, quickly figuring out that we were both former lawyers, sarcastic, and speaking at the event. Whereas Karen was already a nationally-recognized speaker, photographer, and author, I was about to do my first ever keynote and was shaking in my boots.
Karen put her hand on my forearm and looked me in the eyes. “Jodi,” she said, “Come on. You GOT this.” I felt nothing of the sort at the time, but her confidence in my ability to get up and talk to 500 people helped me as I staggered onstage.
In the years since we met, Karen has continued to inspire people with her lyrical storytelling and incredible photos. She also published The Beauty of Different: Observations of a Confident Misfit, and in November her next book, Make Light: Stories of Bright Sparks, Slow Burns & Thriving Out Loud comes out. Make Light tells the stories of people who change the world through their drive to create something different.
If all of that weren’t enough, Karen also runs the award-winning site Chookooloonks, has continued to speak around the world, receiving due recognition for her work.
Karen’s vivacious spirit is a force to be reckoned with. Her answers about jobs for lawyers, leaving the law, and advice for those who want to do the same, all below.
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Alternative Jobs for Lawyers: Q&A with Karen Walrond
What made you decide to follow a less conventional path than typical law school graduates? Was there a particular moment that catalyzed the decision for you?
Honestly, I didn’t follow a less conventional path — I had a long career (15 years!) as in-house counsel in the oil & gas industry, specifically related to software. And to be honest, my time in law was priceless. Not only did I learn a lot about the substantive practice of law, it taught a lot about myself: specifically, I learned that I really love public speaking, and I really love writing. When I left my practice, I knew that whatever I did would involve a lot of both.
What do you find most fulfilling about your current job?
There are so many things that I love! I love the creativity: I love that everything I do involves a combination of communication and imagery, whether I’m writing a book or giving a keynote. And because I talk a lot about self-determination…