Ever wonder how lawyers with great jobs got their sweet gigs? Then this free event is for you. Join us at the N.C. Bar Center on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. for a panel of practicing attorneys who have career advice to share. Get more details and register here.
Panelists are Nicholas Dowgul of Felton Banks PLLC, Wes Saunders of the N.C. DOJ, Lyle Gravatt with NK Patent Law, and Daniel Moose of The Law Offices of Daniel R. Moose. Starting Out Solo is free, and dinner will be provided, so RSVP. All law students and legal professionals who want to learn more about law practice management are encouraged to attend. For questions, contact Jeremy Williams.
In advance of the panel, Lyle Gravatt answered a few questions about his path from $10-an-hour tech analyst to firm attorney with NK Patent Law.
Q: With experience as an entrepreneur and a degree in physics, what motivated you to pursue a law degree and practice?
A: I had a very nontraditional pathway to a legal career. I started out as a biophysics researcher and slowly realized that being in a lab just wasn’t for me. I had some skills as an extrovert that the lab setting didn’t allow me to use. And working in a lab has a very narrow focus. So, I went the complete opposite direction and I got involved in entrepreneurship, particularly sales. That again steered me toward an industry that was very narrowly focused. I was merely exercising the social aspects of myself and not really challenging the intellectual aspects. After trying out those two extremes I felt like the legal field would allow me to exercise my intellectual passions and my passion for people and my more extroverted tendencies. And intellectual property law allowed me to dive back into the science, which I always enjoyed.
Q: How did you arrive at your current position?
A: When I first graduated from law school at the University of Mississippi, I went to work for the law school developing a pro bono program that’s now in place. After I left, I was studying for the Louisiana bar, and I was really struggling, trying to get an IT job in that area. So, I packed up my bags, I put a bunch of suits in the car, printed out a bunch of resumes and I went on a Southeast tour – where all my friends lived — and started knocking on doors because emails and phone calls weren’t working.
When I got here to the Triangle area, somebody hired me for $10 an hour to be a tech analyst. It was a company that was associated with a law firm, where the tech company and the law firm worked together and were housed in the same offices. That was my in. I started out as a tech analyst, and a year later I was working in the law firm, and two years later I was transitioning out to a traditional law firm.
I saw the tech job as an opportunity to get into the company with my science background and allow myself to gain some legal experience and hopefully transition to the legal side, which did happen.