Why I Ditched My Highly Successful Litigation Practice (Twice) to Build an Online Legal Hub for Entrepreneurs

A transparent post from our founder, Nakia Gray, Esq.

It was 2013. I’d been a litigator some seven years at that point and I was burnt out. I was tired of billable hours, blue suits, courtrooms and going to the office every day. And I was sick of rush hour traffic and having to skip out on my kids’ school programs because I was in court. Hands up if you know what I mean.

I’d had enough and made the decision to make a change.It was right around that time when I came across Marie Forleo’s B-School, an online program where Marie teaches potential business owners how to start their own online business. It was exactly what I was looking for – a chance to start something new. Something I could do from home in my PJs on my time. Something that didn’t require me to sacrifice time away from my husband and kids. And something that didn’t leave me in stress-mode 24/7.

I signed up and took in as much as I could over the next year, and by 2014, I’d started my very own virtual law firm. At that point, I knew one thing, that business owners had legal issues, whether they knew it or not. So I built contract templates and DIY courses on things like trademarks, intellectual property, and how they could best protect their brand. 

Yet there was something missing … they needed more comprehensive support. They needed someone in their back pocket available to review contracts – both ones they were sending AND ones they were signing. They needed a place where they could ask questions like …

  • What do I do if a client is refusing to pay?
  • What do I do if someone steals my content?
  • What do I do if a client blasts me on social media with derogatory comments?
  • What do I do if I get a Cease and Desist letter?
  • What do I do if a client files a chargeback with their credit card company?

 

All valid questions that deserve real legal answers. Yet many people can’t afford to have a lawyer on-call to answer these questions when they come up – it’s just not feasible for most business owners. So … what can they do? That’s what I set off to solve. I wanted to create a program that would check off all of those things and more, and I did. The only problem was I could only take on a limited number of clients at a time AND there were too many entrepreneurs out there who needed someone on standby but didn’t need full-access to a lawyer 24/7.

So … back to the drawing board I went, and somewhere in trying to find a workable solution, I got off track and ended up starting my own litigation practice. Yep, that’s right, litigation, the thing I walked away from in 2013 and swore I’d never do again. And you can probably guess how it went. Not good. 

It was Thanksgiving 2019, and I was in a bad place. It was also my birthday weekend, but instead of being thankful, enjoying turkey and dressing, and celebrating another year around the sun, I was curled up in a ball crying uncontrollably. I had nothing to be thankful for. 

I was unhappy. I’d made a mess of my life and business. I had no direction, was struggling financially, and the business that used to excite me, had become my biggest pain point. I’d let others talk me back into the litigation side of things even though I hated litigation. It didn’t align with my core values or what I really wanted my business to be, and if I’m being honest, the only real appeal was the money. The things we do for money, eh?

Well, God thought I needed a little wake up call, that’s for sure, because that year, I learned that I had high blood pressure and it was causing my resting heart rate to creep into the danger zone. I was determined to make a shift and when my associate attorney said she was giving her notice, I knew it was time to give mine too. I sold the litigation practice and slowly started to breathe again. 

Until the panic set in … I’d just kicked my revenue source to the curb?! Was I crazy?! Nope, I just wanted to reclaim my health AND rewind to when I was running that virtual law practice I’d started for entrepreneurs. But rewinding and rebuilding can be hard. I can still remember how hard Thanksgiving 2019 felt when I didn’t know which was way up or how I was going to make ends meet, but I knew litigation was not the answer.

A lot can change in a year.  Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2020, I was in a completely  different space.  The pandemic gave me the time and mental space to finally figure out the solution to that program I’d tried to create many years before. That’s right, I came up with a way to give everyday business owners access to a lawyer when they need one without having to pay those high retainer costs. My Locked & Lawyered® Membership was born.  

Locked & Lawyered is a membership program designed to give entrepreneurs legal resources, on-demand workshops, customizable legal docs, and legal advice on the regular.

It’s like having all your legal prayers answered with the click of a button. 

(psst … try it, click here to see what I mean) – link to membership services page.

 

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