Sep 21, 2011

Ask Amy: Changing Careers

By: Amy Atlas, in Ask Amy


Hi Amy,?? I am a law student in New York City but have a love for event planning.  Do you feel that your law background has helped your business grow?  If so, in what ways??? Thank you.


Ashley, This is a question I often get. You wouldn’t believe how many emails I get from women {and some men} who are looking to change directions in their careers.  Many of these people are looking to make the move into a creative business. I’ve received a few hundred emails from lawyers alone!  Many have expressed their concern about whether their former experiences and education would be for naught. I am a firm believer that no matter what field you are leaving, your past experiences will help shape your next career. As a lawyer, I’ve found contract experience to be particularly helpful in my business. I’m busy looking at several per week, even with the help of specialty lawyers that I employ. Trademark and copyright issues also come up. Even though my field is completely different now, the skills I’ve learned from my former career help me ALL the time.  I hope this helps, Ashley!


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  • Jessica

    As a professional event planner, I would *highly* suggest spending a week or so interning for a local event planning or catering company. Amy Atlas is truly the pinnacle of glamorous stylists, but obviously not the norm. Event planning is a very low paying ($28k/year), data entry job. Details need to be tracked, contracts to be filed.

    Look seriously into the position before leaving law school. Like any job, it has it’s perks but definitely is not as chic as it seems!

    • Amy Atlas

      Jessica – I agree with what you said above. Either intern for a company or test doing events with your own friends before you completely dive in to a new career. – Amy

    • Niki

      I am also a professional event planner, and I agree with Jessica. Although sometimes you want to take a leap of faith into a new career, ensure that you can’t see yourself not doing it. It is definitely long hours, challenging clients at times, and low paying in the beginning.

  • Kelly

    Thanks for this question Ashley (and thanks Amy for your response!) I am a law student in Massachusetts and I was wondering the very same thing. Seems that I am always hearing about another attorney/law student who left the field to do something more creative. It always seemed odd to me that there are so many!

  • I agree Amy…nothing in your past is wasted. It’s amazing how every interest and piece of experience piles up and makes us who we are and what we do!

  • I love event planning too. What position should I apply for in a wedding/event planning company (trying to get in one, but have no clue what position to ask for) if I’m just starting out?

  • As a former engineer turned party designer, I totally agree with Amy! There are so many transferable skills from one profession to another…I do believe that if it’s your passion and you’re not fulfilled in your current career path, then don’t be afraid to set the engines in motion to achieve your goals!

  • Jennifer

    Dear Amy,
    Your website/blog are inspiring. I’ve always loved baking and decorating for fun. How would you recommend I get started in event planning? I’m a stay-at-home mom looking to go back to work in your field. My experience is writing and law. What steps do I need to take? Thank you.
    Best, Jenn