Fig 1. Bad law

Fig 2. Bad ad

Last summer when I announced my decision to go on sabbatical from the real world in order to become a full-time law student it was met with understandable side eye. My close friends had known that it was an idea I had been incubating until the right time, but others were pretty stupefied. I had a fairly cushy, work from home if I wanted to,  position, and my clients were pretty cool, which almost never happens. Advertising is not the most lucrative position, but after years of scraping, I was freelancing on the side and was pretty financially comfortable going out most nights of the week.

Law school was such a seemingly unrelated, expensive, potentially useless career move that to some it made little sense. I mean, I was/am starting all over from square one. (Case in point: at the moment I am applying for unpaid internships. I am 30 years old).

Now it’s been a while since I’ve seen square one but its not a bad little place to hang out every once in a while. It tends to bring out the opportunistic idealist in all of us. (Case in point: I am applying for unpaid internships and am not totally hostile at the fact that they are unpaid because of the experience I stand to gain).

However, the further I get into my studies and understanding of the legal profession, the further I am realizing that advertising and law are kind of exactly, 100%, the same, except not. The language is different but the struggles are parallel.

Here is why*:

1. Advertising is primarily a client service industry.

If you don’t make clients happy, you don’t stay employed. In law, if you can’t make your clients happy, you won’t stay employed, either.

2. The billable hours are just as vast.

Christ if I could tell you the hours I used to work when I was a young, upstart account executive. Evenings, weekends, I occasionally even got up super early to get to the office and that is something I am pretty much abhorrently against.

Similarly, from my understanding, once you work at a big corporate law firm you are almost never heard from again.

3. The “work hard, play hard” mentality is thankfully also vast.

Of the people I know that can out drink my advertising friends, most of them are lawyers or lawyers-in-training. Thats a damn tall order too because you should see my advertising friends.

Additionally, never have I attended so many school-oriented functions that were centered around happy hour.

4. You work yourself to death for years to ultimately either make partner or go in-house.


5.  You speak in Greek.

This is a relatively inconsequential similarity, but often times advertising agencies will present concepts for mail pieces or artwork in which the copy is “greeked” in. This tactic is utilized to show the general layout, even if all the information needed to create the copy is not yet known.


Therefore, advertising clients are often actually reading Greek, whereas legal clients just think they are.

Har har har.

Now for the notable differences.

1. Lawyering is way more lucrative.

Cha-ching, bitches.  Just kidding, if you’re like most lawyers who graduate with double the student-loan debt by pursuing a post-graduate program, you’re going to be just as poor as a lowly associate account executive. That being said, if you’re any good you conceivably make way more money as a lawyer (although still not as much as a CEO…MBA much?) This is a general advantage of being a lawyer.

2.  Advertising people dress way better.

Ugh. Suits. Ugh.  Ad people only wear suits to client meetings, and even then the creative types have to sell their “creative supremacy” by dressing “creatively.”

Thankfully, many law firms have adopted a more casual dress code from what I hear. I hope this trend continues. I am fairly certain the glass ceiling exists because it is next to impossible for a woman to not look frumpy and drab in a business suit, unless they have access to the sample closet at Vogue. Meanwhile, men can throw one on from Men’s Warehouse and are instantly more attractive. More on that here.

3. And another point for lawyering–less client pushback.

I mean at least I think so. One of the biggest headaches in advertising is having clients constantly questioning your work and changing it around relentlessly because they think they know better. I should think that the degree of speciality required in the law means that your average client will not think themselves entitled to tell you how to do your job.

Although, that raises another point…complaining about clients is one of the greatest joys to be had in the ad world. I expect there is a parallel to this in the legal world but I have yet to figure out what it is.

And now for the final (and most important) similarity I have found between advertising and law: I am unemployed in both industries.

Please give me a job.

After all, I composed this lengthy blog post primarily to demonstrate my employability. So much so that when faced with the decision to call it Lawvertising or Adverlawyering I chose the latter.

Sound it out.


If that doesn’t convince you to hire me, then, well…I just don’t know.



* This is primarily centered on my understanding of how law firm life mimics that of ad agency life. I’m sure there are many lawyers, just as there are marketing and public relations associates not working in this environment who don’t relate to it at all.

This entry was posted in strong opinions, Uncategorized, world views. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Brian
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    thank you for continuing to share this helps me

  2. carrieshare
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    My pleasure 🙂 Helps me too.

  3. Posted January 29, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Ad people only wear suits to client meetings, and even then the creative types have to sell their “creative supremacy” by dressing “creatively.”

    Awful lot of air quotes up in that statement, sister.

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