BABE #234: PAIGE GRIFFITH - Attorney & Photographer
Paige’s hustle includes juggling the responsibilities of running not one, but two (very different) businesses of her own. After finishing law school, she tapped into her creative interests and ended up turning her passion for photography into a business — while somehow simultaneously balancing her first job in law. This year, Paige opened a virtual law office to help business owners navigate the world of legal jargon to feel protected and confident. Her story reminds us to do what we love, prioritize our responsibilities and, of course, defend our seat at the table.
Hometown: Missoula, Montana
Current city: Missoula, Montana
Alma mater: Pacific Lutheran University, University of Montana School of Law
Degree: B.A., Economics and Political Science; Juris Doctorate
Very first job: Working at the local swimming pool
Hustle: Attorney and Photographer
Babe you admire and why?
I admire Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or “RBG” as she’s known now. This lady is a total badass and completely changed the way our country’s judiciary looks at same-sex marriage, women’s rights and equality. If I could be 1/100th of the woman she is in the courtroom, I’d be pretty darn happy.
How do you spend your free time?
I love to workout to free my mind from work, I read a lot, walk my puppy, and, of course, watch Netflix.
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
Cabernet Sauvignon, or an americano!
Current power anthem?
“Electricity,” by Dua Lipa.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
I would devour sushi. It’s literally my favorite food ever and I love trying new sushi everywhere I go. I just love the beautiful creations that are unique and different at every single restaurant.
What’s something you want to learn or master?
I want to master the “art of chill.” I’m not very good at chilling yet.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
The Queen of England. Hands-down. I’m obsessed with the Royal Family and think everything she’s done to save the monarchy and be a female leader is astounding.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
I am the youngest of four kids! (Usually people think I’m the oldest because I such a go-getter and hard worker.)
What tools, books or ideas help you in your day-to-day work?
Slack is the best thing ever for communication with my team. I also am obsessed with Dave Ramsey and live by all his financial mottos!
Tell us about your hustle.
I started out just working super-duper hard at school. I got a full-ride scholarship to college and then decided to go to law school. I immediately knew law school was my jam and made it my sole purpose to be as good as I could, get the best grades I could and be a part of as much extracurriculars in law school. That led me to my dream job as a law clerk for a federal job. It was the job everyone said would help you “make it” in the legal world. I then worked my fanny off for my judge and proved to him that a young 25-year-old girl could be a huge asset to his chambers. All the while (like, at the very beginning of starting law school), I decided, “Heck, Paige, why not just go for gold and start your own business?!” Whelp, six years later and I’ve built my photography side-hustle into a thriving business. Through my clerkship I worked 40- to 60-hour weeks at the courthouse, and then another 30 to 40 running my photography business in the evenings and on the weekends. I literally didn’t sleep, breathe, eat—you name it. Looking back, I don’t even know how I survived. But, I did, and I made it out on the other side. After I completed my two-year-term clerkship this past summer, I decided to be my own boss full-time. I started my own virtual law office, The Legal Paige, and still run my photography business, Paige Marie Photography. I’m officially taking things down a notch and trying to only work both part-time (so, one full-time job). My new brand, Paige Marie, is a combo of all my skill sets and favorite things to do.
What does your typical workday look like?
All. The. Hats. Gosh, no one told us running our own business would be so much work, huh?! It’s like a dream job most people would kill for, but then ends up being 90 hours a week and staying up way too late to finish projects. I’m still finding the balance. Yet, I’ve learned I can’t do it all and export a lot of my duties. I have an editor, a photography associate/assistant, an operations assistant and help with graphic designing. I’m also getting an accountant/bookkeeper in 2019 because I know while I love taxes and consulting on tax law, I just can’t keep up with my businesses anymore. Alas, I wear the CEO hat, the manager hat, the lead photographer hat and the lawyer hat.
When and why did you decide to pursue a career in law?
I love debating and listening. Those seem like contradictions, but they shouldn’t be. Good debaters and good attorneys are first and foremost good listeners. I knew pretty much from the time I was 5 I was meant to be an attorney. I love to read and write, make a well-crafted argument out of my research and deliver it in a way that serves people. I knew after my clerkship that I wanted to combine my passions into one. So, entrepreneurship and law became The Legal Paige. I specialize in helping other small businesses get protected and legit.
What is your relationship like with your clients?
I always start with what they need (whether it be a custom contract, contract review, LLC, partnership, tax consulting, copyright or trademark), and then let them talk through it without me bombarding them with legal jargon. Legal stuff is super frightening to entrepreneurs because we are, by nature, creators and dreamers. The law tells you what not to do and how to not get in trouble. So, I try to then share my input, suggestions and legal expertise in a non-scary way during our jumpstart of a project. I love working with people who understand my legal philosophy and want to run a legit business.
How do you stay organized with your various workloads and responsibilities?
I’ve been asked this by tons of people, because I seem to somehow have a way to keep my head above water. My goal is to prioritize each week. I tackle a couple projects a week and know I won’t get to others until the following week. I finish a project before I start a new one. I’m really efficient this way and don’t get distracted if I’m working on one thing until the very end. I really don’t have a perfect answer, because no tackle-tricks are perfect. We all just do our best and figure out what works best for us, which becomes our most efficient way to tackle projects.
How have your past professional and academic experiences prepared you for the work you do today?
Law school teaches you ways to be efficient like no other. It’s like a fight-or-flight situation. You learn to do all the homework/reading/studying in order to make it to the next day. It’s literally a one-day-at-a-time type of thing. Which, makes me efficient as heck as a photographer and also a solo practitioner. I take each day at a time and give it my all for the six to eight hours I work.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
No matter how often the world says women and men are equal, we are still not in the law world. Female lawyers still struggle with [gaining the] respect of their male counterparts, have difficulty being seen as powerful and hide under the shadow of men. I try every single day to break through this barrier and be a light for other women in the legal field. It’s a constant battle, but one I am proud to be a champion for. Alas, being a female in legal-world is challenging. It’s always been primarily a male-dominated industry. There are more and more women—very close to 40 or 50 percent! Which is great. But, that doesn’t mean women are being treated the same or paid the same. The biggest suggestion I have for women—in any professional field, for that matter—is to know your worth and fight for it every minute. Don’t let some dude stand in your way. Don’t let that bro overshadow you and take credit for your hard work. Own your amazingness!
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Do you. Don’t let failure get your down; get up and try again. Stand in the doorway like you’re meant to be the biggest and most important person in the room when you walk in.
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