This isn’t a solo story per se, but one with some lessons – a reminder that the perfect lawyer for the job or the client isn’t always the one with the biggest firm or the stellar credentials of the fanciest offices.
From what I can tell from her LinkedIn profile, Sarah Feingold had positions typical of a law firm grad from a pretty good, but not Top Ten law school: a job as a legal journalist, then an associate-ship at a small regional law firm. But today, Feingold has one of the most coveted positions in the legal profession as the first in-house counsel to a successful and now longstanding start-up, Etsy.
So how did Feingold nab this position? Easy — she was the perfect lawyer — indeed, the only lawyer right for the job. Turns out, Feingold herself is a jeweler and metalsmith who comes from a family of artists so she had a natural interest in learning about copyright protections for her work. During law school, Feingold authored an ebook on copyright for artists and when Etsy launched, she used the site to sell her jewelry. At one point, she reached out to the Etsy customer support team and got in touch with Etsy’s founder. When Feingold discovered that Etsy did not have an in-house attorney, she booked a flight to New York, notified the founder that she was coming to town and made the pitch to be hired.
Sometimes you may have a skill set so quirky and unique – maybe you’re a former sportscaster who represents Olympic athletes or an historian with a law firm focused on preservation issues or a solo representing restaurants with a love for food and wine – and married to someone in the industry. At that point, you have no competition and no matter the job or the client, you’ll be the right person for it.