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

<iframe width="100%" height="180" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

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

Purchase a book written by Esther Etim here:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Review my favorite books here:

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




You Are A Lawyer is hosted by Kyla Denanyoh. Follow the podcast:





How Sales Funnels are Changing the Legal Industry featuring Sam Mollaei

How Philanthropic Giving Promotes Diversity and Opportunity in Higher Ed featuring Jera Oliver

How to Have an Amicable Divorce featuring Nicole Kobis

Join the FREE mailing list and get behind-the-scenes content from Kyla.

1) Visit

2) Add your email address to the Subscribe pop-up box OR

3) Enter your email address on the right side of the screen

4) Get emails from me (I won't fill your inbox with junk)!

Advertiser: Journey and Practice offers The Heart-Centered Lawyers Membership, a community of law students, grads, and lawyers who participate in self-care activities to improve their legal journey and practice. Visit and enroll with code "podcast" for a special rate.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Recent Episodes

How To Create an Empire of Freedom with Your Law Degree feat. Aman Costigan

Aman Costigan runs a wellness business, is a partner at Shores Jardine, is a wife, #toddlermom, real estate investor, and master prioritizer. Aman acknowledges that finding time for work and personal life can be challenging, especially for an actively practicing lawyer. Listen as Aman explains why she advocates for lawyers and their mental health and why she is creating an Empire of Freedom.
Read and listen here

How To Change Your Legal Career at Any Age feat. Anne Hamer

In this episode of the You Are A Lawyer podcast, host Kyla interviews Anne Hamer, a family lawyer from Nashville, Tennessee. Anne shares her journey from Memphis to New York City for law school and discusses how she ended up in Nashville. She also talks about the challenges of having a southern accent in a northern law school and how it didn't deter her from pursuing her education. Listen to Anne's story and insights on building a successful law career. "You can make a life change in the middle of it and come up with something new," shares Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
Read and listen here

How Executive Coaching Impacts Your Career feat. Laura Terrell

Laura Terrell discusses the importance of challenging our assumptions and the need to advocate for ourselves. Laura earned her master's degree in law school and worked in the public sector before becoming an executive coach and in-house counsel with a non-profit organization. Listen to Episode 103 as Laura explains her career journey and her insights as a lawyer.
Read and listen here

How To Grow Your Law Firm with Informal Networking feat. Brent Nelson

Brent Nelson is an international tax and estate lawyer based in Arizona, specializing in working with high-income international families. What he comically calls “rich people law,” Brent found his niche in tax law during law school and focuses on developing meaningful connections through informal networking and social media.
Read and listen here

How Authenticity Impacts Your Legal Career feat. Bianca Jordan

Bianca Jordan applied to 500 jobs before opening her law firm IN 2014. Now, MANY law firm wants to hire Bianca, but she's found great success helping families and business owners with their immigration paperwork. Bianca has also begun coaching lawyers to become better business owners. Learn about the brazen power of Bianca Jordan on the You Are A Lawyer Podcast.
Read and listen here

How Clerkship Transparency Creates Stronger Lawyers feat. Aliza Shatzman

Aliza Shatzman is a judicial clerkship advocate. After a poor clerkship experience, Aliza created the Legal Accountability Project to bring transparency and accountability to the federal clerkship process. Find out how this pioneer and founder ensures the next generation of clerks is protected from bad judges.
Read and listen here

How To Negotiate Like a Disruptive Lawyer feat. Bill Mitchell

Bill Mitchell is a litigation manager, negotiation coach, and trial disruptor. Known as “Trial Bill,” Bill uses his experiences identifying trial red flags and nuances to teach other lawyers to streamline trials and settlements.
Read and listen here

How To Be an Exceptional Lawyer feat. Marco Brown

Marco Brown earns a lot of money and enjoys being a lawyer. But the truth is, Marco didn’t become an exceptional lawyer until he forced clients to pay for the exceptional work completed by his law firm. In Episode 92, Marco Brown discusses the power of communication and why he uses money to create an exceptional law firm.
Read and listen here

How To Revitalize Your Legal Career with Coaching feat. Whitney Harvey

Whitney wants women lawyers to STAY in the law by considering different practice areas, editing their resumes, and improving their soft skills to create their own success.
Read and listen here

How to Advocate as a Board Membership feat. Samora Legros

Samora Legros sits on the Board of the Max Cadet Foundation, an organization created to celebrate his grandfather, a lawyer, judge, and dentist. Created with a dental clinic based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the Max Cadet Foundation serves children and adults living n Haiti by providing them with better dental care access.
Read and listen here

How To Fight for Employee Benefits feat. Misty Leon

Misty Leon didn’t know that employee benefits law existed, but the practice perfectly suited her interests and skills. This specialty law practice allowed Misty to work for 19 years in private practice before moving in-house and working with Texas Instruments.
Read and listen here

How To Skip the Boring Stuff in Podcasting feat. Kyla Denanyoh

Ready to clear your to-do list? Skip the boring stuff and stop editing your podcast, uploading content at the last minute, and sitting on content. Work with KD Creative to hire a podcast manager so you can create faster and skip the boring stuff. Visit for more details. You’re the talent! Go back to recording and skip the boring stuff.
Read and listen here

©2023 You are a Lawyer LLC.
All rights reserved.