Episode 13: Lawyers and entrepreneurship

Why aren't lawyers encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship? The typical founder of a startup does not have a legal background. Today, we ask: well, why not?


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My name is Stine and I'm the podcast host and today we will be talking about entrepreneurship and legal.

Do those two go hand in hand?

Well, in many ways it doesn't, but in my opinion, it should.

So what do I mean? Let's take my own journey as an example. When I graduated law school, I was kind of in the classic career path of going to a law

firm and that's what I did. I was there for six years and what I was coached on, what I was trained to do, and what was the only career path that was talked about was the classical one, be a partner. We are putting you on a talent track for partnership and that was what I did because, well, that is what you at least expect to do and what you have to aspire for. But in all honesty, in-house is also a possibility, but there are more possibilities. 

So when you go in-house, you are then most likely kind of trained to think, well, head of legal, director of legal, GCs, those are my next steps. But when you graduate law school, you have a legal degree and you have a skillset that is so much stronger and has so much more potential than just that.

And it's not because I don't think it's amazing to become partner at a law firm.

It definitely is. And it's hard work. And so is it to become a general counsel.

And it's not easy to transfer into in-house legal teams.

That requires new skillsets. But what's common for all of us with those types of backgrounds from law school is that we have been trained to communicate.

We've been trained on understanding the letter of the law and interpreting that in ways many haven't. We're trained to be analytical, to be skeptical, but also to always find the underlying solutions. To work together on finding solutions for problems that aren't sometimes almost impossible to solve and we do it anyway.

We're strong in building relationships, stakeholder management. It might not be that budgets or something we use a lot of time on, but when you have analytical minds working and we're also used to working, right? We're used to crazy hours and being at the top of our game always and always striving after getting a better understanding of why things are as they are.

Well, when you have that skillset, when you have that mindset, it means that you have so much more to choose from if you want to. Legal professionals, and I've been speaking to some amazing, inspiring people.

Some decide to go the commercial way because lawyers are commercially driven people as

well. So they're excellent contract negotiators. They're excellent salespeople.

They're good at stakeholder management, at communicating complicated stuff and making it understandable, writing in ways that are engaging, inspiring in regards to subjects that are sometimes really boring.

So what I'm trying to say here is that why is it that we aren't trained? Why is it that we aren't grasping the amount of opportunities that lay in front of us? I know some are, and now I'm totally generalizing, and I don't mean to because I've been hearing

some amazing stories from people. But what I'm trying to say here is that I hope that lawyers understand the potential that they have, that in-house legal people know that they don't necessarily only have

to be within the legal team. They can decide to go into communication. They can decide to go into politics.

They can decide to go into sales.

You name it, become the CEO.

Why not? Or become a founder. You can do that as well.

I've done it.

I love it.

Is that the easiest path to choose?

Just in all honesty, that's maybe another episode of what it actually meant and the bumps that you face. Been there, done that, doing it continuously, but enjoying it as well. But what I want and hope is that you just know that you are sitting on a pile of gold when it comes to resources and skills, and you can do whatever you want to because you have so many talents, so it's just about choosing which one you want to showcase to the world. I hope that I gave you a little bit of inspiration into as big of an opportunity to lay ahead

and lie ahead for all of us. So thank you for listening and have a great day. 




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