How to Stop Paying Small with Esther Etim

Esther Etim decided to stop playing small when her hard work at a legal/medical firm led to her becoming a published author and connecting with her husband. Esther Etim tells us why your privilege is not always for you!


  • How to prepare in undergraduate school to become a lawyer (LLB)
  • The challenge of looking for a job during the 2008 global recession
  • How to use your law background as a blogger
  • The importance of Lagos in Nigerian entertainment and media


  • How to deal with one-sided and selfish friendships
  • Studying law in the United Kingdom versus Nigeria
  • Working as a writer on a reality television show
  • Why you need to create a blogazine

How to Stop Paying Small with Esther Etim

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How to Stop Paying Small with Esther EtimHow to Stop Paying Small with Esther Etim

About This Episode

When you stop playing small, you decide that you will accept all the opportunities and blessings that life has to offer. You are always prepared, you are ready to meet any challenge, and you get excited by new experiences. 

Esther Etim has opportunities thrown at her and she is prepared every single time. 

The countless options excited Esther Etim:

  • When Esther was unsure about studying law so she created her own mentorship program, Esther learned her answer because she was proactive. 
  • Esther Etim worked and wrote, studied, prepared, and managed her expectations for life. And life continued to surprise Esther (and me!) will the opportunities that were presented to her.
  • When a report needed to be edited to perfection - Esther handled it.
  • When a radio station asked Esther Etim to become an interviewer - Esther was ready. 
  • When a book publisher created an ad specifically looking for her (so cool!), Esther responded to the advertisement because she was ready.

Oh, but Esther Etim is not a lawyer. Esther will tell you in great detail that is has graduated with an undergraduate degree, but she has not participated in what she would call a “straight” law degree which is a three-year study course in the United Kingdom. 

Esther Etim had conditional acceptance to attend law school if she earned acceptable grades on her exams in uni, but Esther woke up with a searing panic that she could not take her exams and she was moving down the wrong path. 

In this episode, Esther Etim shares a lot of details about the background and history of law school in the United Kingdom and becoming a barrister or a solicitor. 

  • Barristers wear black coats, the traditional white wigs, and attend traditional law schools, then takes a bar course. 
  • A solicitor takes the legal practice course which is a one-year course that focuses on what a solicitor will actually do. 

However, Esther had greater decisions to make before she decided on the type of law she would practice. Esther had to decide WHERE she would practice law. Originally from Nigeria, Esther Etim could remain in Nigeria or move to the United Kingdom.

In Nigeria, there is a fused legal system where you go to law school, complete it and when you pass, you are called to the bar. In Nigeria, you are a solicitor and barrister and someone can be hired direct. This seems simple enough, but five years after graduating from secondary school, Esther Etimd decided to study law in the United Kingdom. 

Esther Etim earned an L.L.B., an undergraduate law degree from the University of Kent (Canterbury, United Kingdom) and a certificate of food law from the De Montfort University (Leicester, United Kingdom). 

To ensure that she wanted to be a lawyer, Esther Etim arranged a “mini-pupillage” where she could shadow lawyers in family law chambers  after “three horrendous days.”

In Nigeria, the only suitable career choices are doctor, lawyer, or engineer. But what happens when you have been daydreaming about being a writer since you were a little girl?

Attending law school, deciding not to take your conditional approved job, working in a medical-legal firm and eventually working on a report for a psychiatrist who loves your writing and turns out to own a publishing company! This should not make sense, but for Ether Etim, this was another opportunity to stop playing small!

Working as a transcriber is writing and it was all practice for Esther Etim. Later, after getting a book published that included a theme of domestic violence, a chance meeting in a McDonald’s led Esther to a radio host who eventually asked Esther to host a radio program. 

Bam! Another chance for Esther Etim to stop playing small. Esther decided to host the radio program, and later become the first international host because Esther’s talents were requested after she moved to Aguja, Nigeria.

Oh, and the blogazine that Esther was writing earned Ester a BEFFTA award… one month after she was fired from her job as a reality television writer. 

Stop. Playing. Small! Esther will help you forget that you know the word SMALL.

Currently, when Esther Etim is not writing multicultural fiction, she is producing a movie about how she is not “Nigerian enough” for some people.

For assistance with creating a legal career or help with building a personal brand and business that you actually like visit


00:00:11 - INTRO: Welcome to You Are A Lawyer and Introduction of Esther Etim

00:00:46 - Explanation of the LLB degree and studying law in the United Kingdom

00:05:15 - Explanation of attending law school in the United States of America

00:05:51 - Without the bar exam, it often feels like your law degree is not worth anything

00:06:42 - What was the incentive or advantage of attending law school in the United Kingdom vs Nigeria

00:07:44 - Explanation of standardized exams and their importance in education in the United States

00:08:25 - Graduated from secondary school at 16 and attended law school at 21. Is this track typical of students in Nigeria?

00:09:28 - You decided not to practice law after finishing all of your exams. Why did you make that decision?

00:18:39 - Advertisement for The Heart-Centered Lawyers Membership from Journey & Practice

00:19:17 - The use of mental wards in criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom

00:28:25 - Discrimination because Esther did not sound Nigerian enough to work in media

00:31:13 - It sounds like you are advocating for others even though you didn’t become a full solicitor advocate

00:31:28 - If you cannot find something, you must create it

00:31:34 - Your privilege is not always about you

00:31:57 - Esther listened to the You Are A Lawyer podcast and thought, “How can I participate and help others?” and pitched herself to be a guest on this podcast

00:32:10 - Your story will resonate with others and challenge them to say, “Am I doing everything I can in my life?” or “Why aren’t I doing more?”

00:33:01 - Work hard because you never know who is watching; your enemies or your next opportunity

00:33:47 - Why are you teaching other women to say ‘No?” Why was it so important that you learned how to say no?

00:37:16 - Women are always rationalizing responses or emotions, but No is a complete sentence

00:37:28 - Are you still writing your BAFTA award-winning blog?

00:37:46 - You wouldn’t take too much time away from writing because writers need to write

00:38:15 - Do all of the stuff!

00:38:19 - Esther, is there anything else you want to share with the audience?

Esther Etim: First, don't be afraid to ask questions. Second, don't be afraid to start where you are. And Third, learn to recognize people, things, and situations for what they are, not what your ego or emotions would prefer, and treat them accordingly. 

00:39:24 - OUTRO: Rate the podcast and tell a friend to listen to You Are A Lawyer

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Esther Etim is not licensed to practice law. Learn more about Esther Etim:




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