51 minutes | Jul 28th 2020

Quitting the law: one lawyer’s unique path to financial independence, with Kevin Ha

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#41: Is it crazy to quit a high-paying law firm job to take a lower-paying law job (not in a law firm)?

The majority of lawyers will say no. Because that’s what most lawyers who start their careers in law firms do! Whether it’s for better hours, better balance, less travel, whatever.

Now, is it crazy to quit being a lawyer to do something completely non-law related?

Again, most lawyers will say no – because tons of lawyers do exactly that.

But: is it crazy to quit the law to…deliver for DoorDash, shop for Instacart, be a dog walker, or recharge Lime scooters?

The first time I read today’s guest’s story, I admit I thought so. Why would you seemingly throw away a promising legal career to be a manual gig laborer, when there are plenty of folks who would dream about doing the opposite?

Then I realized two things.

  1. I should be the last person to critique this because I myself “threw away” a legal career for a totally non-law path. Granted, I didn’t do it for manual labor, but it also wasn’t conventional by any means.
  2. It’s not my place (or yours or anyone’s) to judge the career choices of others. What makes people happy is their personal decision alone, and no damn business of anyone else’s!

Interviewing today’s guest for the podcast just made that even clearer.

This week, I talk with Kevin Ha, a prolific side hustle expert, about why he quit the law to pursue a unique path to financial independence. He generates income both from his blog and through side hustles (which he often blogs about), each of which separately and independently replaced his full-time salary from his last job.

We discuss:

  • Why Kevin quit the law without a traditional FIRE portfolio already in place
  • How Kevin defines financial independence
  • Why he doesn’t view gig economy side hustles as manual labor
  • How he makes side hustles fit super efficiently around his schedule to minimize time spent
  • How he structures his daytime hours now without a traditional job
  • His technique for letting go of the “prestige trap” (notorious among lawyers), despite graduating with honors (and law review) from law school
  • Whether Kevin would have gone to law school again knowing what he knows now

Do you agree with Kevin’s philosophy on FI? Even if you would not have made the same choice, do you see merit in this path? If not, why? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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Links mentioned in this episode:

Intro/Outro: Old Bossa by Twin Musicom.

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