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Alternative careers for lawyers

After a decade of practicing law and experiencing chronic health conditions, Mairin left the corporate world and the rat race along with it, for the pursuit of a more rewarding, free, and more purposeful life. She sold her house and 99% of her belongings and moved abroad. She started her business to help other entrepreneurs easily protect their businesses without the high cost and hassle of hiring an attorney, DIY contracts, templates, and other legal resources that could be required for their businesses.


This week, we spoke to Mairin Van Shura on her journey into and out of her corporate life.


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Why did you get into law and then what made you leave the corporate world?


It's kind of funny, my brother would say that this was mockingly he's he just kept calling it my Eat Pray Love My version of Eat, Pray Love. In the US, you have to decide your college major from your freshman or sophomore year of college. Who knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they're 18? And for me, I went into college premed, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. And then I got to organic chemistry and realised probably not the best fit. And, and I'd always been good at persuasive writing and persuasive speaking. And so law seemed to be a logical fit for somebody who likes English history. And I was a political science major. And honestly, if you're a political science major, your options career-wise- law, or being a political science professor, so I went the law route. You know, I thought at the time, I thought I wanted to be a prosecutor, I thought I was very black and white in my thinking when I was, you know, 18 or 19. And I thought, I would put the bad guys in jail, that was going to be my goal. That was my life's purpose. And, you know, it's amazing how things have monumentally shifted from my thinking when I was 18 or 19.


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How did your thinking evolve from then?


I think that my, my thinking was so compartmentalised. Like, I knew that Okay, so and most of your listeners can relate, you know, we're intelligent, driven, successful individuals, and I was smart and driven in college. And so I knew that I wanted to do well, financially. And so to me, law just seemed logical, this is a way to make a good income have a successful life. So, my thinking was really kind of siloed in that respect, if that makes sense. Like, I didn't realize how many other options there were for people who wanted to think out of the box. And I mean, even then, I was unconventional. Like I studied abroad, and I graduated college early and I lived abroad for a year, but I still kind of was like, by my, like I said, my thinking was pretty siloed. And it's amazing, like the more life experiences you have, and the more things that you explore like I tried so many different things and law trying to find something that really felt right. And that really resonated. And, you know, so it's been an interesting journey, but that really influenced my thinking to and realizing that okay, there's so many different ways to look at life and careers and not everything has to be okay. It’s not like, this is the decision you make and this is your course for the rest of your life.


Sarah from the former lawyer mentioned exactly those things. So what I'm hearing is actually, even within law, there are several options that you can take and you chose the corporate career route first, why did you give that up?


I actually tried multiple different areas of law. So I tried family law for a bit I did a bunch of other things and, one thing I did like, was consulting because that was an involving a lot of legal research. And I love to research, but consulting for a legal company, and our clients were the federal government. So that was interesting. I did a little bit of intellectual property law, a lot of business law, just trying to get again to find the right fit. And then I did insurance Defense Law for a few years.


So to answer your question, a couple of reasons why I left, it was miserable. I hated the billable hour, I hated that. I felt like we were capped as far as income. It just it the whole mall model to me is so antiquated. And I know that this will probably resonate with a lot of your listeners as well. It's like it's not designed for people to work smarter because you're disincentivized to work more efficiently. Because with a billable hour, it's all about how much you work is how much you get paid. And to me that never felt right. Especially when I was helping small business owners to protect their businesses. It's like, well, how is that fair to just continue to work slower than I really could? Because that's the way the firm would make more money.


So do you want to tell us a bit of your journey on how did you quit the corporate world? What was difficult for you to do? What were the things that you were thinking about? Or? I mean, I'm sure you did not make a decision to sell off everything and move abroad overnight? Or did you?


It was something that was kind of germinating in the back of my mind for a while. But then once I made the decision, it was like, boom, boom, boom, and I sold my house, sold everything moved abroad within I think three or four months, but it's interesting. So the genesis for all of this was really started probably in June of 2019.


And I had a moment it sounds probably so melodramatic, but I was actually in Cuba on holiday, and I was sunburned to an absolute crisp, and I was so miserable. And I was just sitting there like, you know what, I have a good life. On the surface. I have a good job, good income, good house, good friends, but I just felt like I was mired in mediocrity. Again, completely melodramatic, I realized this right now. But at the time, it felt like this watershed moment for me and I realized I was like, I want to uplevel every aspect of my life, I don't feel fulfilled. I'm not living my purpose. I didn't know what my purpose was at the time, but I knew I wasn't living it and so it was like this low-level depression because I just felt like there was so much I was meant for a bigger life.


And then also a big part of it too was that I had chronic health issues, which weren't getting any better. And they were just continuing to get worse regardless of what I did. Like your listeners can't see me right now. But I have a wig on like I had profound hair loss and completely unexplained. I went to doctor after doctor tried supplement after supplement written diet after diet and I started meditating and going to hypnotherapy and acupuncture, the list of things that I tried was long and distinguished but I just wasn't getting any better.


So I had that moment in Cuba. And I was like, You know what, there's something much, much deeper here that I need to address. And so that's when I started looking and I was mercenary. I looked at every aspect of my life. And I was like, okay, what's working and what's not working. And then I tried as best as I could to eliminate what wasn't working. And I knew that I wanted to start my own business. So one of the first steps was quitting my law firm job. And when I quit, I had no idea what I was going to do, I knew it was going to be something law-related, but hadn't figured it out. And then as far as the house and the belongings, once I was location independent. I was in Charleston, South Carolina at the time, which is lovely. But I'd been there for four or five years and was just kind of, it wasn't challenging to me anymore. I didn't feel like I was growing as a person. So I was like, Well, I don't, I don't need to be here. There's nothing keeping me here. So let's sell the house. And then, and then it was kind of a domino effect. It was like, well, I want to move abroad, I've always loved living abroad. So let's move abroad. And honestly, I don't need a three-bedroom house worth of furniture and, you know, this fancy-schmancy wardrobe, because I'm certainly not going to black-tie events anymore. So, you know, sell or donate all of that. And then you know, as I said, it was just kind of things Boom, boom, boom. In retrospect, probably not the best time to do it. Because my house, the closing on my house was March 31, 2020. So exactly when COVI