Rachel Rodgers started her own law firm to assist would-be entrepreneurs who want to strike out on their own. She also runs RachelRodgers.TV - Legal tips and info for Gen Y Entrepreneurs an online TV show aimed at answering legal questions for her audience.
1) Did you go to law school with a clear idea of what type of law you wanted to practice?
Definitely not. I knew I wanted to help people and have always been an advocate. (I was the girl standing up to the bullies on behalf of the little guys in grade school). However, I had no idea in what area of law I would focus. In law school, I tried everything. I held internships with a public defender’s office, an investment bank, housing court, federal court, etc. I also took practical courses on mediation and arbitration and represented clients in court through my social welfare clinic. My focus in law school was to take as many practical courses as possible and to learn about various areas of law.
2) How did you get your current job?
It was sort of serendipitous. An opportunity to help people arose and I jumped on it.
I held a judicial clerkship after law school, which will most likely go down as one of the highlights of my life. I worked for an awesome judge and had so much responsibility. It really built my confidence and understanding of the judicial process. And I absolutely loved the fast pace.
During my clerkship I applied to firms, government agencies and non-profits for post-clerkship work. And I did get job offers – one from a firm, one from a government agency and one from a non-profit. I turned them all down to go solo after my clerkship. I had been approached by several young entrepreneurs seeking help with the legal aspects of starting and running businesses and I really wanted to practice law on my own terms. I knew it would be hard, but I had mentors and a year’s worth of research and preparation under my belt (not to mention 3 clients to start with), so I went for it.
3) What do you do at your job? Day to Day, and general job description.
Every day is different and anything can happen. That’s what makes being a solo so exciting. I counsel my clients – who are mostly business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs – structure deals, draft contracts, capture and protect IP, form businesses and resolve disputes. A very small portion of my practice is providing unbundled family law services – drafting petitions and coaching for court appearances. That’s the legal work. I also attend (and speak at) workshops and conferences, meet people for coffee, write articles, produce a web show, pay bills, answer the phone, send lots of emails, organize files, etc. That’s the admin work.
In addition, I teach an online class about going solo and operating a virtual law office and I consult with lawyers who want to go solo.
I pretty much love all of it. The legal work is exciting and I enjoy running a business, as well. The stuff I don’t love I try to outsource if I can (like bookkeeping).