“I’ve been pressured / seven days a week, it’s the seventh match on me / Life will test you, you’ll live through that, that’s testimony” Big Shawn
This week, I had the opportunity to catch up with Angie Vichayananda, founder Leg Up Legal, Whose mission is to disrupt and revitalize the legal industry pipeline by providing targeted guidance to all.
During her years Little trainingYou have learned how important it is to obtain quality advice and care in your legal career. While she was fortunate to have some amazing and amazing mentors throughout her career, she realized that many others weren’t so lucky. So I set out to help prospective and current law students find good mentors and mentors early on before embarking on their career paths so they would develop their skills to get the right start.
As an attorney-turned-entrepreneur, first-generation Asian American, intellectual property attorney, and career coach, Vichayanonda has a range of professional and life experiences she draws on to help others in their legal career paths. Her energy and passion are contagious, and she will undoubtedly be mentoring countless students and inspiring the next generation of young lawyers and professionals.
Without further ado, here’s a (edited and slightly condensed) writing of our conversation:
Renoy Chung: Can you share a little bit about your background and career path with us?
Angie Vicayanunda: I am a first generation Asian American attorney. My parents are immigrants from Thailand, and they are both engineers. I didn’t know any attorneys personally when I decided to go to law school, so I tried to seek advice from lawyers about which law school I should attend, what type of law I should practice, and the actual steps I need to take to become a lawyer.
I quietly contacted more than 50 attorneys to try to learn about their career paths. I only managed to communicate with three attorneys, but fortunately one of them took me under his wing and became my mentor. He introduced me to dozens of other attorneys, and helped me decide which law school I would attend and what type of practice area to focus on.
She graduated from University of New Hampshire Law School and practiced trademark and copyright law for five years prior to the launch of Leg Up Legal.
RC: What prompted you to start Leg Up Legal What do you focus on during these troubled times?
From: My first teacher taught me how to communicate with lawyers on a meaningful level and build long-term professional relationships. It taught me how to “walk, talk, talk” and ask the right questions. I have realized how difficult it is for prospective and current law students to build the courage to speak with attorneys and learn how to follow up with attorneys to keep their relationships going.
Throughout my career, I have mentored other young attorneys and law students to pay for the kindness I received from my mentors. I saw the trainees struggling with the same questions and issues they faced. I realized there was still a good way for prospective law students to meet with lawyers on a large scale or learn to interact with them. So, I built the Leg Up Legal advisory platform for prospective law students to network with attorneys and learn how to build their first professional relationships.
RC: I came across your profile through prof LinkedIn sharing And you seem very intentional about how to take advantage of social media. Any advice for peer attorneys interested in creating engaging content?
From: Thank you so much! Here are my tips and tools:
- Use a content scheduler. I plan and schedule my social media for a week on Saturday. It helps you post constantly and at times of maximum engagement, regardless of your presence.
- A lawyer friend recommended using Shield for Google Chrome and I love it. It’s easy to see the performance of all posts at a glance. You can find out which type of content works well so that you can focus on creating this type of content.
- Hashtags on LinkedIn are really untapped. You can use up to three hashtags per post. If you are going to create branded hashtags, you need to tell people how to use them. “Follow the hashtag #________ for tips on …” Placing this call-to-action in the post makes it more likely that people will follow it and rely on it.
RC: We talked about being the first in our families to follow the law in our initial conversation. What surprised you the most about your time in law school or working in a law firm?
From: Oh my God, what didn’t surprise me was probably a much shorter list. What surprised me was most students’ lack of understanding of what it really means to practice law before they decide to pursue law school.
Law school doesn’t give you much time to do a career exploration, and you need to start applying for summer internships and jobs much sooner than you think, so you should take some time before law school to connect with a lot of legal professionals and get an idea of areas of practice. That interest you.
You can go through every portal to become a lawyer – take the LSAT exam, get into law school itself, take a bar exam – and still don’t know what actual practice of law looks like if you don’t look for opportunities to really talk to lawyers about what they do. You have to lead the exploration of your career, and you have to start as soon as possible.
RC: A lot has been written about the lack of diversity in law schools and law firms. What are your thoughts on this issue?
From: The lack of diversity is a systematic problem that begins long before law school. If you want to meaningfully improve diversity in our profession, it is not sufficient to start diversity initiatives at the law school level. You should start at the undergraduate level or even earlier.
Many law firms and legal employers invest in “pipelines” programs at the law school level, including training, fellowship, and mentoring programs for diverse students, but these programs only help the lucky few who entered law school in the first place.
Thousands of diverse, worthy candidates are left behind at the gates. If you want to improve diversity in the profession, you should help diverse prospective law students develop their interest in law, nurture it with mentorship, and give them access to LSAT prep preparation and affordable law school applications if you want them to do so in law school.
RC: You have a very nice group of advisors at Leg Up Legal. We were really distinguished Karen Locke On ATL before. How do you choose your advisors and what kind of relationship you have with them?
From: Karen is wonderful. She had known me for a long time, and I met her through my first teacher, so she has seen my career develop all the way from before law school to now. As I dived into the world of entrepreneurship, I knew instantly that I was out of my mind.
While being a lawyer and my past career in marketing helped me with many aspects of building my business, I knew I needed a team of people with expertise in many other areas to help guide me and Leg Up Legal I chose my consultant because they all have experience working with three types Different clients: university campuses, legal employers (and associations), and individual college students.
We have individual and group meetings to share ideas. They help me stay grounded, provide feedback and strategy, facilitate introductions and some even participate as mentors in our mentoring program.
RC: COVID-19 has taught, and still does, our community a bunch of lessons. What did you learn during this era of pandemic?
From: Human relationships and communication are vital during difficult times. Now more than ever, we have seen students reach out for guidance and emotional support. Having people support you makes a big difference when you face difficulties and challenges. We started hosting a host of free events on Zoom to allow current law students, current law students, and attorneys to connect and bond with one another.
You can create real, lasting friendships and meaningful mentoring relationships through virtual media. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. We hosted a legal professional virtual training camp for two weeks in September for incoming law students, and I watched people have the most candid and emotional conversations during the event. And I’ve seen this happen over and over again in our virtual events and through our virtual mentoring software.
You have to get over the initial mindset that online interactions are less private. They don’t have to be. If you don’t believe me, come to one of our events, and you’ll see.
RC: It was great to talk to you. Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
From: We host a virtual happy hour every two weeks for all former law students, current law students, and attorneys to help create new networking opportunities and registration links for these included in our Weekly Zoom Meetup emails. We had law students and attorneys from all over the United States attending. Registration for the bi-weekly magazine Happy hour here.
To interview individual networks and information, join our LinkedIn group, and Leg Up Legal Virtual Coffee Club. If you join the group, you can set up virtual coffee conversations with prospective law students, current law students, and attorneys.
Finally, feel free to contact me at:
On behalf of everyone here at Above the Law, I want to thank Anjie Vichayanonda for taking the time to share her story with our fans. We look forward to following her successes and wishing her continued achievements in her career.