The past five years have been FULL – I’ve completed law school, taken the bar exam, and clerked for an appellate judge while Scott and I completely renovated our beach bungalow, planned a destination wedding, and got married! Simultaneously, my photography business has taken off. We’ve captured hundreds of weddings, grew our associate team, and traveled the world.
Let’s take a look back at how this all got started. Law school was always my plan, so when I returned from five months in Africa (I had been working for the United Nations Development Programme in Equatorial Guinea), I studied for the LSATS, matriculated in law school, studied for school exams, and eventually studied for – and passed! – the bar exam. After completing my second year of law school, I landed a summer associate position for the prestigious Fox Rothschild Law Firm – the only one I applied to because of how strongly I love and respect their work and work culture. I finished my law degree and took a year to clerk for the New Jersey Judiciary in the Appellate Division.
Although I had been photographing weddings and portraits since high school, my photography business took off around the same time. With all of these plates spinning at once, I had to learn how to run my business efficiently. I began photographing weddings on the weekends and engagement sessions in the evenings, taking calls and running the rest of the business during breaks and late at night.
However, upon graduation and completing my clerkship, the time finally came to choose between my photography business and law career. I had a major opportunity to work for a well-respected, international law firm – the only firm I ever even considered working at! – in the Real Estate Department, but I knew how demanding the job would be and the challenges it would put on my business. Meanwhile, Magdalena Studios had been steadily growing, craving more time and attention. Both not only deserved, but also required, my full commitment. It was time to choose: Would I cut back on my business and commit myself wholly to the law firm? Or would I take the plunge and become a full time entrepreneur?
I’ve decided to take a chance on my work, my team, and the business I’ve built. I choose a life of passion, creativity, travel, freedom, and flexibility. I’m betting on the people who have supported me all my years in business and all the people to come. I’m cashing in on more personal time – time to stay healthy, inspired, and creative. I am prioritizing being present – with family, with friends, and with my clients. I am eager to explore, learn, and develop life as a full-time entrepreneur. My ideas and creativity are already bursting at the seams, and I am so excited about the road I’m taking!
Not all is lost! Although I’ve heard a mix of comments over the years like, “Why waste all that time in law school when you love photography?” I truly believe a law degree is more universal in its teachings than merely the practice of law. I focused my studies on business and intellectual property (i.e. copyright and trademark) and researched Instagram and copyright issues, so much of my curriculum is applicable to what I do today. I not only can act as my own in-house counsel in a business that deals with contracts on a daily basis, but I also can offer freelance help to other fellow creatives in the area of law. I’ve acquired organizational, analytical, and problem-solving skills as well as the actual know-hows of being a lawyer.
I am still passionate and curious about law, and I know my degree isn’t going anywhere nor are the skills I developed throughout my education. I plan on keeping up with my law degree now that I am officially a barred attorney in the State of New Jersey. If I find myself craving regular practice, I can pick up per diem work from local law firms and plan to continue to practice law through volunteer opportunities (I have my sights set on a few different non-profits for artists and women). I’m also open to future opportunities that combine my law degree with my creative and entrepreneurial spirit. If it involves changing the world for the better or supporting other like-minded, creative women, count me in.
For now, I am looking forward to being more present and the architect of my lifestyle. I’ll be deep diving into Magdalena Studios, adding new elements to it, and refining what already exists. I’ll be opening up additional mentorship and coaching opportunities for other business owners, because nothing gets me more excited than big dreams and action plans over coffee and cupcakes. You’ll find me working from home and coffee shops, taking barre classes, and spending time in my kitchen making juices and meal prepping, because #selfcare. If you dig it, reach out and say hello; I’d love to connect with more of you on this journey of mine and as this new chapter unfolds! And if you’re looking for a sign that you should reach for the stars, this is it.