Matt Ritter, Lawyerist Staff Writer
Greetings from your alternative career guru, Matt Ritter, out here in Hollywood. Yes, Hollywood. I guess you could say my career has not followed the traditional path but is there really a traditional path for a lawyer/comedian/writer/actor? Yes, I’m aware of how many slashes that is. I will be writing on a variety of subjects covering all kinds of legal work that I do to support my alternative career ambitions.
Long story short, I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2005, then worked at two large firms in NY (Mayer Brown and Kirkland & Ellis) for around four years. My primary focus was corporate with an emphasis on M &A, private equity finance and securitization. While cranking out close to 100 hour weeks as a junior associate, I was also running around at night honing my craft as a standup comedian at the various dingy comedy clubs and bars that would give me my 5 minute of stage time. Around 2 years ago, I made a difficult decision to leave BigLaw and focus on my passion. So here I am in Hollywood, which is not quite as glamorous as you might think.
On the comedy/writing front, things are going relatively well considering I have only been out here a short time. I recently made my first TV appearance on a show called Man Up Standup on the Maverick Channel and landed representation from a prominent talent management company called Parallel Entertainment (they rep the Blue Collar Comedy guys, Lisa Lampanelli, etc). They send me out frequently on auditions, submit me for TV writing gigs and generally help further my comedy dreams.
However, since I do have this pretty handy dandy law degree and solid work experience (and bills to pay!), I have managed to continue working in the law part-time. In the past two years, I have been hired to draft all the incorporation documents for a couple startup entities, I have drafted and reviewed contracts for fellow entertainers and work for a family friend who has his own solo practitioners (sports and entertainment). I also frequently take on those dreaded contract law projects. I am registered with no less than 5 agencies here in LA. All of these things allow me the flexibility to chase my dreams and they sure beat waiting tables (which I’ve never done, so that may or may not be true, but it seems hard to juggle all those plates on your arm).
It’s been an interesting journey thus far. I spent the past 2 years writing for the website, Bitterlawyer.com where I told semi-fictional tales of my experiences in BigLaw. I hope to share some useful advice on this site for those pursuing other interests while maintaining a steady solo practice or a consistent legal workload at the same time. You can connect with me on twitter, and on Facebook. I’m probably the only writer on the site that can also say: you can check my schedule if you wanna come see me perform live standup comedy!