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

Why Legal Incubators are Creating Better Lawyers featuring Anne-Marie Rabago

Anne-Marie Rabago explains how to create sustainable businesses and the importance of admitting that lawyers don’t know everything.
Read and listen here

How I Graduated from Law School with Honors After Failing Out featuring SeNita McRae

SeNita McRae explains the difficulty of taking the bar exam while pregnant and the importance of innovating processes and procedures in corporate offices.
Read and listen here

How to Value Your Talents and Discover Career Success featuring Megan Smiley

Megan Smiley explains why she stopped practicing corporate law and the importance of international travel.
Read and listen here

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

Jera Oliver explains how a law clerkship inspired her non-traditional career and the importance of using money as a tool.
Read and listen here

Learn to Monetize Your Passions as a Travel Blogger featuring Francesca Chang

Francesca Chang explains how learning Mandarin made her closer to her family and the importance of managing your career expectations.
Read and listen here

How To Budget Like a Lawyer and Become Financially Free featuring Rho Thomas

Rho Thomas explains the risks of entrepreneurship and why lawyers should adjust their money mindsets.
Read and listen here

How Sales Funnels Create Million Dollar Law Firms featuring Sam Mollaei

Sam Mollaei explains how sales funnels can work for law firms and the importance of mentorship as an entrepreneur.
Read and listen here

Multiple Career Changes Inspired Me to Become a Career Strategist featuring Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson explains why calming the nervous system can make you a better lawyer and the importance of listening to your mom.
Read and listen here

Why I Withdrew from the Bar Exam After Being Bullied Into Retaking It featuring Kate Dwyer

Kate Dwyer withdrew from the bar exam when she knew she was not ready to take it. In this episode, Kate explains why she trusted her gut and avoided toxic positivity surrounding the bar exam. The bar exam is a gatekeeping exam that keeps the undesirable lawyers away from becoming an attorney. Listen to learn why Kate had to trust herself and how the bar exam affects your mental health.
Read and listen here

LLM vs JD: An Argument for Alternative Legal Degrees featuring Morgyn Jones

Morgyn Jones explains why you shouldn’t let the fear of not having a JD limit your career prospects.
Read and listen here

Digital Creators Have Unique Legal Issues (And Lawyers Must Take Notice) featuring Jon Tobin

After working as a designer & software developer, Jon Tobin attended law school. With his creative background, he became a partner at Counsel for Creators to assist with copyrights, trademarks, licensing and other issues.
Read and listen here

How a Health Scare Made a Patent Prosecutor Change Careers featuring Krista Contino Saumby

Krista Contino Saumby explains how studying calculus in the fifth grade led to becoming a patent lawyer and the importance of mentoring new lawyers.
Read and listen here

© You are a Lawyer LLC. All rights reserved.