BigLaw Vet Turned Stylist

by lawshucks on April 6, 2010


Kalyn Johnson has a guest post up on Corporette this week.  Even though she’s writing about women changing wardrobes with the season, which isn’t exactly anything we know about over here, her bio struck us as interesting:

Fashion Stylist and Lifestyle Blogger, Kalyn Johnson is a former corporate lawyer who turned in her precedent binder to pursue her passion of making fashion attainable. Her company, Style by Kalyn Johnson, is a style consultancy focused on personal branding for professionals. Kalyn dresses men and women who who don’t have the time to focus on how they look but who know that looking the part is a part of the formula for success.

So we had to look her up.

Her BigLaw bona fides after the jump.




According to her LinkedIn bio, Johnson is a Michigan Law ’96 grad who spent almost 11 years at Jones Day.  She was an environmental lawyer, and at least one of her publications is still online: Environmental Property Transfer Requirements from 2002 (warning: extremely dull).

According to this blog post on Mommy Tracked, she spent three years in Chicago before coming to New York.

It also provides insight into how and why she made the move.

After much internal debate and struggle, I decided to quit my job. I was completely stressed out about money, benefits and all the creature comforts associated with law firm life when a friend said to me, “if you jump, the net will appear.” I weighed the risk of staying some place where I felt underappreciated and was unhappy vs. the risk of doing something I love to do and am good at; I figured if I failed, I could always go back to practicing law. I was fortunate in that when I started practicing, I began socking money away to create a nest egg in case I ever got up the courage to fly the coop. So, while earning money is important to me, I’ve got a bit of a cushion and I’ve paired back my lifestyle quite a bit. When I left my job, I had no set plan, but I knew I needed to quit in order to figure it out.

She’s still keeping up her legal contacts.

Two of my clients are former lawyers turned talk show hosts, Ryan Smith (The Today Show, The Star Jones Show, Geraldo at Large, CNN Headline News, co-host BETJ’s “My Two Cents”) and HGTV’s Lauren Lake, Host/Decorator of “Spice Up My Kitchen”.

Ryan Smith is a lawyer at Zuber & Taillieu, which we wrote about last year as a boutique of BigLaw refugees (Smith was at Paul Weiss) who are hitting the ball out of the park (yes, we’re excited about baseball season finally starting).  He’s also a co-host of CNN’s InSession.  Keep an eye on him.

We have to admit we’d never heard of Lake before.  That little blurb doesn’t do her justice.  You really have to read her bio from her website.  She’s a solo criminal defense lawyer and regular contributor to a bunch of shows you’ve heard of.  But so are lots of people… how many can say they’ve toured with P-Diddy, Jay-Z and Snoop?

Anyway, lawyers aren’t necessarily the most-fashionable bunch, so let us know if you’ve used Johnson or another stylist.  It seems like there are always a handful of stylists roaming the firms’ hallways looking for clients.  Usually they have a partner or two as a client then spend the rest of the day trying to chat people up.

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