You thought you'd go to school, graduate, pay off your debts, buy a Maserati, and life would basically be perfect. Instead, you're hustling cases out of your bedroom, hoping that clients pay their bills, or better yet, that some firm will scoop you up for $40k per year.
Like we said, it ain't working out. How about becoming a musician? Either way, you'll be broke. At least as a musician, you'll be a "struggling artist" instead of an "unemployed attorney."
It's Been Done Before
It may sound crazy to give up a (somewhat) pragmatic career path to chase a dream of stardom, but you wouldn't be the first to do so. Here are a list of musicians with a legal education:
- Julio Iglesias. Seriously, he has the coolest life ever. Legal training, then played professional soccer, and then, after a car accident damaged his legs, picked up a guitar in the hospital and discovered his true calling, according to Wikipedia. He is currently the best-selling Latin music artist history. Oh, and his son is pretty great too.
- Shonali Bhowmik. A lawyer turned indie rock musician, Bhowmik gave up working as a contract attorney when her band, Tigers and Monkeys, took off. She also has a solo album. Above the Law featured her story last month.
- Rick Vittenson. In high school, Vittenson and his friend formed Athanor, a psychadelic folk rock (huh?) band. They recorded a few songs in the 1970s, and got local radio play, but their career fizzled and Vittenson turned to law. Forty years later, after he retired, a British label put an Athanor song on a compilation disc (without permission) and it exploded on European music blogs. The band now has a post-retirement record deal, reports the ABA Journal.
- Judge Learned Hand. Our favorite Circuit Court judge of all time apparently recorded an American folk song for the Library of Congress. We can't thank Bloomberg enough for uncovering it.
There are, of course, more stories, including a guitarist in a mainstream band whose name we can't recall, but just know this: you aren't alone in your aspirations.
Pick Your Weapon
Don't know how to play? That didn't stop Julio. Of course, he was lying in a hospital with severely-damaged legs, so he had plenty of time to learn. You, on the other hand, have the advantage of modern technology.
(A Sidebar of Full disclosure: my 2014 New Years Resolution will be to try out for American Idol singing a cover of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me." It totally works in a semi-creepy man-voice. "She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts, she's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers." Simple nerd with a timeles crush story, right?)
A personal favorite tool is Instinct, an in-beta free online platform that uses your microphone to coach you through lessons. It also uses actual guitar tablature, so the lessons will be translatable to real life.
Another option is Rocksmith, which is like Guitar Hero but with a real guitar. You'll learn techniques and actual songs, using a video game format, though the game uses its own notation, so you'll have to learn guitar tabs on your own.
Watch out Hollywood. We're coming.
- Law Sucks. What Else is There? Legal Startup Companies (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Law Sucks. What Else is There? Teaching (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Law Sucks. What Else is There? Reporting and Blogging (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)