Second Jobs that Serve as Creative Outlets

by Eva Marcotrigiano, YLS Futures Committee

Living in Oregon, many lawyers lead exciting and varied lives outside of the legal arena. What you may not know is that some of these lawyers are also involved in second occupations outside of their "day" jobs. While these side jobs may not pay the bills, they serve as alternative creative outlets to a career that has a way of taking over.

John Knowles, shareholder at Davis Rothwell et al and Judge Pro Tem in Washington County, began his livelihood as a home builder in Colorado prior to law school. Today, Knowles balances his successful complex civil litigation practice with solo performances as a jazz singer in local Portland jazz clubs and singing with local bands. Not only is Knowles a lawyer musician, but after taking a strenuous online exam, he now performs wedding ceremonies for friends and colleagues. While the fun money is nice, Knowles warns young attorneys that his non-legal endeavors are truly hobbies and are not always paying gigs.

You may recognize attorneys Jamie Daigle and Bryan Churchill, who were recently featured in The Oregonian, PC World, the Mac Observer and the ABA Journal for their innovative iPad tool, the "Clutch." Daigle, an experienced civil litigator at Stewart Sokol & Gray, began developing the Clutch with Churchill, a Salem attorney, in summer 2010. Daigle advises that if you are going to get involved in a second job of sorts, “pick something that you love, something that is fun for you, because otherwise it is just going to be work.”

Furthermore, Daigle emphasized that you have to like what you do during the day and maintain a solid law practice, because it is still the legal career that is paying the bills. Right now, not only is Daigle not getting paid for his time and efforts with the Clutch thus far, but the upfront costs of producing such a tool are huge.

Luckily for Daigle, he could test prototypes of his iPad tool by simply using them at his day job. His family has been very supportive of the project as well. Working on the Clutch in the evening and on weekends, Daigle could physically demonstrate a tangible product to his family - he now has something that they can see and feel, a gadget that they understand - as opposed to amorphous legal work.

Yet another lawyer with a second job is yours truly. A handful of attorneys in the Portland area have been participants in my indoor cycling classes (otherwise known as "spinning") at the gym in southeast. I have been teaching for 10 years now, and find it to be a fantastic stress reliever and serious change of gears from my own day job as a civil litigator. In fact, my legal career benefits greatly from my spinning instructor alter ego, as I am able to practice my public speaking while my body is under stress twice a week. It is abundantly clear, however, that as much as I love teaching and my students, my second job is not helping to pay off those student loans.

So, keep plugging away at your legal career. However, if there is something out there that you enjoy and you might make a few extra dollars doing so, a "second job" might just be the perfect outlet for you.