Episode Notes

If you could work from anywhere in the world, where would it be? What if we told you it could be possible with a little planning?

In this episode, Sara talks with attorney and Lawyerist Lab Member Chrystan Carlton about being a legal nomad. Chrystan recently spent a month living and working in Spain without interrupting her practice. They dive into how she made it happen and the tools and preparation you need for success. Chrystan also details a working day in the life of a legal nomad.


Links from the episode: 

Remote Year Referral

If today's podcast resonates with you and you haven't read The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited yet, get the first chapter right now for free! Looking for help beyond the book? Check out our coaching community to see if it's right for you.

  • 8:59. Using tools to work remotely
  • 13:41. A day in the life of a legal nomad
  • 24:22. Business impacts



Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts


Zack Glaser (00:35):

Hi, I’m Zack Glaser.


Ashley Steckler (00:36):

And I’m Ashley Steckler. And this is episode 416 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Sara talks with lobster Chrystan Carlton about being a legal nomad.


Zack Glaser (00:50):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Berkshire Receptionists, and Lawyerist Lab. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on. So Ashley, in the episode today we’re talking or Sara is talking with Chrystan Carlton about being a legal nomad. And I don’t think that means moving from legal jurisdiction to legal jurisdiction or running away from the law. I think it means working as a lawyer from anywhere. And I think this is an interesting concept.


Ashley Steckler (01:24):

I am fascinated by it. And Zack, I actually think you and I have both worked for remote jobs in remote positions doing remote work and went from place to place. You actually did it recently?


Zack Glaser (01:38):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Just moved from South Dakota, middle of nowhere, South Dakota to Memphis, Tennessee while continuing to work and moving everything, moving equipment and getting internet turned on and all that stuff. And it’s not a difficult thing, is not as difficult as it has been previously.


Ashley Steckler (01:58):

Yeah. The only thing that’s changed for me as I see a different background,


Zack Glaser (02:02):

Yes, yes. I have different carpeting in the room here, so it’s not that different. But I’ve also, I have practiced law from different countries while traveling. I’ve actually had a meeting with a judge’s office while I was in Estonia. I’ve had many meetings while I was in Colombia or Iceland and now I’m just rattling off places I’ve traveled to cause I wanna talk about them. But


Ashley Steckler (02:31):

Yeah, keep going.


Zack Glaser (02:32):

I have been able to actually practice law while traveling because we can bring our equipment with us. I think it’s a fascinating thing to be able to do and I think we all know that we can do it temporarily now. Yeah. Can we do it permanently?


Ashley Steckler (02:46):

Yeah. It’ll be a fascinating conversation. I’m actually looking forward to it. So let’s hear Sara’s conversation with Chrystan.


Chrystan Carlton (02:58):

I’m Chrystan Carlton. I am an attorney here in Chicago. I am in solo practice. I work with a paralegal and legal assistant to help me get my work done. I started my practice may of last year, full-time last year, meeting 2021. I decided, okay, I’ve got more clients than I can handle in my notebook, so let me get Clio. So I got Clio and it was almost as soon as I employed the tool now everything to fill up the use of that tool started to happen. So the clients started to come more. I worked primarily with entrepreneurs, or actually I should say only with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Those are my client. I am their counsel. I help them negotiate the contracts, I track the contracts, I help them buy other businesses. I help them sell off pieces of their business. So I almost never have to go to court, which makes the remote work possible.


Sara Muender (04:01):

Yeah, that’s super exciting. Well, it’s so good to have you on the Lawyerist podcast. It’s really been a joy to watch you do this thing and grow this business. And I know that our audience is super excited to hear how you did it. So talk to us about your vision for your life and how that relates to this firm that you wanna build. Did you always know that you wanted to primarily work remotely and travel the world or did that kind of evolve over time? Kind of tell us how you got here.


Chrystan Carlton (04:33):

So there’s a lot of things that have come together to make this possible. I’ve always known I wanted to travel. I could never figure out with the jobs that I’ve had, how to make that thing happen. One of my favorite jobs was working for a company in Africa where I got to travel all the time. I spent a quarter, one month in the quarter in Africa and then the other two months going around literally the world to take care of stuff for them and then back there again. And so that was amazing cuz my home base was still here in Chicago. I left that business and then worked for a traditional corporate job and I hated it. I hated, I hated getting up in the morning. I hated everything about it. But it was good exposure. You learned a lot of stuff. And so when I was sitting down asking myself as part of the lawyerist work, what does your client look like?



What does your life look like? I’m like, that job was the most fun job I ever had. I like to do that but not be captive. It’s the one client I need to diversify cuz something happens to that client, what happens to me? And so fortunately for me, or unfortunately, or just the time came this year, my daughter graduated high school, so my oldest daughter are we gone, this one graduated high school, gone away to college. So now I have an empty nest. So empty nest and law degree <laugh>, bar passage clients, let’s make it happen. So I started doing the work full time last year just as she was going into her senior year cuz I saw the empty nest coming. I’d known about the Remote Year program, which is the program that I travel with and how they were basically encouraging being a digital nomad.



Then I’m digital, I’ve got my MacBook Pro and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to go and travel 12 countries in 12 months, but with my kids still adapting to being the freshman in college, I’m like, okay, I can’t go and be away for 12 months in their entirety, but I could do smaller bursts. So they went from offering only 12 months to offering four months to offering programs one month at a time. So last November, I’m sitting in my living room after Thanksgiving, scrolling through the emails on my phone that I had ignored on Thanksgiving Day. And I see this offer to go to Spain in July at 30% off. And I’m like, boo boo boo, I’m in. And it’s really dangerous to buy stuff on your phone, but of course that’s what I did. Yeah. So that put me in Spain in July, I’m in July. Worked because it was post-graduation was right at that time before college starts in August, but after graduation in June where I could get away and just see what it felt like. And it worked out really well at work out really well. Did I answer your question?


Sara Muender (07:31):

Yeah. And I think that this is probably gonna inspire a lot of people to take a step back from the day-to-day grind and realize and kind of remember, Oh yeah, I can create this thing, this business, this firm to be whatever I want it to be. And you are living proof of that. You are doing it and you’re figuring it out as you go. I, and it kind of seems like maybe the stars aligned and it was good timing with your daughter’s going away and you having this new opportunity in life, which a lot of lawyers we’re all gonna get to that point where we’re like, Okay, what’s next for me? And so it’s super inspiring to see you really just take the reins on your life and look at your firm as a tool for you to live your best life. Cause that that’s really what it is. So let’s talk more about how you did it. How did you make it work in terms of working remotely and all the things that need to be thought of in being a lawyer in the US but not actually physically practicing in the US. Tell us about some of the roadblocks that maybe had come up in your mind or the fears or the questions of how am I gonna do this? And then tell us how you figured it out.


Chrystan Carlton (08:59):

I’m gonna say this is one of the few things that I thank the Covid pandemic for because it forced everyone at the same time to really reconsider what it means to work remotely. A lot of people kept their jobs and then they went home to wherever their families were. And sometimes that was in the state that their initial job was Sometimes that was home in Florida, I had a friend to go to. Some people went home to their families in Switzerland or wherever it is in the world they were. And they continued to work because everybody recognized that the access to wifi, access to a VPN with those work could continue. I happened to be doing work for a bank at the time of the pandemic. So all these PPP loans that had to get processed and out and looking at the volume of work that we were all doing, allowing the banks to do what they needed to do fully remote, really opened my eyes to what the possibilities were.



And so last year when I was like, Okay, I’m gonna just do this thing, I went at it with the intention of being fully a virtual practice, which meant that I had to have all of the tools. Fortunately, I’m like, I won’t call myself an app junkie, but I really like my apps, I love my apps. If I can do it on my phone, it can be done. So DocuSign, HelloSign, friends, QuickBooks, all kinds of apps, friends, Clio Lifesaver, good friend. So I got the Clio Manage, I got the Clio Grow. So now I can build all my templates, all of those I did from my laptop, all of the work I did remote. So I had that whole kind of year to prepare and to practice what it’s like to deal with clients, to deliver their work, to have them be happy and satisfied with the work.



To watch these businesses grow without ever having seen me sit in person, Part of it is retraining our clients, but they were right for it coming off of the shutdown because everyone was acclimated in some way to doing things not in person. And so since I don’t have to appear in court, I don’t have to appear before judges. Most of my work was according to the time as I scheduled it. And so Calendly again another tool, fabulous app for my phone that made the work really possible because then I could hear the times that are available in my client and I could put that little cavity thing in my signature. Now a lot of people do it, I don’t know if attorneys are doing it, but what I’ve found is with those small business customers particularly because by the time that they want an attention from their attorney, they got a problem that they need me to address and they can get on the calendar and see me when they need to see me versus calling.



So that’s another thing that I put myself in practice to do. I answer my own phone, but the people that are calling me are probably already clients now I don’t do the kind of marketing that will cause my phone to blow up. Oh my god, I would go crazy. But clients can call me if they need to and know that I’m going to answer the phone unless of course I’m in the meeting. And then you do the little Apple automatic reply, I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back in 45 minutes or I’m in a meeting, please call me back in 45 minutes. But I answer my phone. So because I’m answering my phone because there is that communication and that contact. And then I trained everybody to use the communication portal inside Clio. So you need something, you need to send a document, you wanna have a question, drop it in Clio, it’ll be in your file, it’ll be recorded.



That’s the fastest way to get a response from me even faster than dialing my number. And then the push notification comes up, which I love the apps that I can answer. Those push notifications and they feel well taken care of. So training my clients to use the tools, using the tools myself, practicing over that basically 12 to 15 months and then aligning myself with the Remote Year platform also helped a lot. And with Remote Year, one of the things that they gave me is, here’s a list of things that people have needed when traveling. Cuz they’ve been doing this for years with a lot of engineers, a lot of tech people that are doing their coding wherever in the world as they’re sitting on the beach. And that just sounded so appealing to me too, sitting on the beach and working through a stock purchase agreement. You don’t wanna be doing a stock purchase agreement, but if you’re gonna be doing it while you’re watching the Mediterranean make ripples. That’s lovely. <laugh>. That is lovely.


Sara Muender (13:41):

I wanna hear more about that. I want you to get into a day in the life of working remote in Spain. When you were there, what was that? What was your day to day, what did you do in the morning and then how did you start your workday and how did the day kind of flow?


Chrystan Carlton (13:57):

I gotta say I came back from Spain, I was fully jet lagged and I wanted to stay on Spain time. So after all of this training myself and training my clients and setting up the schedule so people could get time on my calendar. I get to Spain and of course I’m jet lagged, right? Cuz we’re there seven hours ahead of us, which means that at seven o’clock in the morning here it’s already two in the afternoon over there. So it made my day shift a little bit towards I think what we call second shift. So I’m more like starting at 11 and finishing at two in the morning. So I’d get up in the morning, I’d go to the market, the market was a block from my little apartment. I had a nice little apartment fully furnished, almost like an Airbnb or vrbo. So everything is in there, it’s fully appointed including a washer and dry and a little that you need to use.



And it wasn’t a studio, it was a convertible studio where the rooms divide. So it was really lovely. And I had a few out to the little Spanish streets and I’m in a neighborhood that is equivalent of an old town here in Chicago. So everything is walkable. There’s like a bank on the corner across the street is a dominoes go figure. But dominoes in what care about what you care about is in the corner <laugh> least a little coffee place with a nice lady who speaks seven languages. So I get up in the morning, I go get my three liters of water. I went to go buy my water every day. Sometimes I’d buy a six pack. But I found that getting up and going and getting my water and picking up my tomatoes and picking up my cook cucumbers, which is, those were my staple foods in Spain, was a good way to get out because if I’m out at the store at 10 o’clock, it’s still three in the morning in Chicago.



So by the time I get back from doing whatever my view of the market is, and sometimes I go to the grocery store, sometimes I go to the side markets, but it was usually just to pick up my produce for the day or the day and the next day to grab my espresso from the little lady who spoke the seven languages on the corner. So I have my espresso, I get my vegetables, I go back to my apartment because the workspace in Spain did not have private office. I reserved my time using the co-working space for when I was just doing document drafting and didn’t have to have calls. But if I needed calls I’d stay in my apartment just like I’m working from home now. But my headphones on, I bought these lovely Air maxes for when I was there and by the time I got back it’d be noon, which is about five in the morning.



I could get up, check my emails that came in the evening from the night before. And so if you imagine, I was going to bed about two in the morning, which is like seven people tend to send you emails right up until about 10 because they go, Oh no attorney is going home at five o’clock. Maybe not, but we might be shutting that machine off. So I get it up, I answer those calls between what would be five o’clock and seven o’clock in Chicago, which was really noon and two o’clock where I was. And then I’d work basically from noon till like 8, 8 30, 9 o’clock at best during Spain time. But during that nine-hour period, I wouldn’t, unlike Chicago where I, I’m in my home office and I’m here all day and I might not leave my desk there. I’d work a couple hours and then I’d go out and take a quick walk around the block just to see what was happening, to hear the sounds, to the smell, the smells.



And even though I was in Valencia and in Valencia, it’s an urban area, it was like the energy, you could just feel that the energy was completely different. And so it was nice to take those, you know, have just 30 minutes between calls instead of trying to go do another document. Cause I could do that in the morning right after my walk, I mean after I picked up my water, I’d go for a quick walk on days when I would go to co-working space, I’d come back still, it would be like 11 o’clock, which is still very early in Chicago and I’d ride my bike. So one of the things that we could do with our Remote Year program is they lease bikes for us for the month. So I had a bike, my bike had a basket, I put my backpack, which had my two computers in it.



And then I’d go to the coworking space where I had set up two monitors to plug each of those computers in so I could do my work. But I’d take a nice little 15 minute ride through the city on bike paths that were specifically designated and separate it from traffic. So there was no, I don’t really know where I’m going and I’m be at risk that the cars are gonna drive over me, which is what happens in Chicago there the bike paths were just, they were like along the sidewalk and there were two lanes for them and people obeyed the traffic. It was wonderful. So I’d drive through the bike paths and you pass through these really nice parkways, right? There’d be these parkways. So the bike pass would be along the parkways. So my 15 minutes and all the lush green Parkway area and then I get to the coworking space and I plug in my computers and then even from there there’s a cafe inside the co-working space.



So I’d have my coffee or someone would say, I’m gonna go get coffee, do you need a thing? I’d be like, Yeah, bring me a triple espresso. So my espresso would come and I’m having my espresso, I’m at my computers drafting my documents. I could hit save and then go out across the way and there’s, there’s another market where you can pick up juice if I didn’t go to produce that day or there’s something else I wanted, I ate a lot of prosciutto because it was only like a dollar a pound comparison to $25 we pay you in Chicago. So that was lovely. And then there were some nights which is I think typical of our industry where you just gotta do a lot of work and that’s where I’d be in the workspace with all of the monitors in the infrastructure. And I had 24 x our access.



This wifi was super fast, which was fantastic. I had VPNs, right? So I can say put this VPN I’m in Idaho so I’m logging in, my computer thinks I’m in Idaho, but it also obviously secured my network. So that was great. And there would be times when I would work until midnight, one o’clock, 1:30 in the morning and then it’s like, okay Chrystan, I realize that it’s, it’s really only six 30 in Chicago, but it does not mean that you can’t have to stay at this workspace. You need to go home. And the neighborhoods that were selected for us, for our apartments and our workspace were so nice that I go out, I put my computer and I feel perfectly secure whether I had my bike or didn’t to walk, I mean to ride the 15-minute ride home or to walk the 30-minute walk home. And it was because the bike pass are very specific, kinda like roads. You can walk a lot shorter than you can ride, but it’s still a lovely, lovely walker, a lovely, lovely ride. And in the evening even just the sounds, the smell of the fresh trees and the flowers. Yeah, I loved Spain. Valencia was fantastic. It was


Sara Muender (21:02):

Fantastic. That is just incredible. I feel like I was right there with you. And I’m really curious how this lifestyle, it’s such a different lifestyle than what I imagine you have in Chicago in working there. But I’m so curious how that actually impacted your business because I think that we just kind of, our brain assumes that if we’re in Spain or we’re in a European country where things are just kind of slow where people take Cs, does that, it would negatively impact the business. But I’m really curious to hear about how your business has been and how it’s grown. We gotta take a quick break to hear from our sponsors and then when we come back we’ll take a look under the hood and see how things are going for you.


Zack Glaser:

The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists

As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow-deep in an important case. Well, that’s where Posh comes in. They’re a team of professional, US-Based, live virtual receptionists available 24/7/365. They answer and transfer your calls, so you never miss an opportunity and you can devote more time to building your law firm. And with the Posh app, you’re in total control of when your receptionist steps in. You can save as much as 40% off your current service provider’s rates. Even better, Posh is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist services. 


Sara Muender:

Does your firm give you FREEDOM? Do you feel confident about what you’re building? Are you in control of your schedule, focused on the right things? If not, maybe it’s time for some help. Lawyerist Lab is here to help you build a healthier business. Lawyers in our program are building profitable businesses that can run without them so they can take that 6 week trip to Europe. They’re finding joy in being a business owner.  


Sound interesting? Schedule a 10-minute, no-pressure call with me, Sara, by clicking the link in the show notes or visit lawerist.com/coaching.   


Zack Glaser: 

30% of calls to a lawyer will result in a new client. How many calls do you miss while at court, during a meeting, or while spending quality time with your family? Berkshire Receptionists is a group of highly-trained US-based 24/7 Legal Receptionists who have provided concierge service to law firms for over 80 years. They’ll Answer your phone, transfer your calls, schedule appointments, perform lead intake, and much more. They’re there when you need them, at a price that just makes sense. Call now and receive up to $100 in savings on your first month of service at (866) 928-5757 or Visit berkshirereceptionists.com/lawyerist to get started.


Sara Muender (23:47):

We’re back and I’m talking to Chrystan Carlton about being a digital nomad and building this law firm abroad and being able to have the freedom of working from anywhere. And so Chrystan, I’m super curious how this cultural change that you experienced in Spain and the freedom and just, I mean there’s such a focus on being present and living life and getting out when you want to and really not being tied down to anything. How did that actually impact your business?


Chrystan Carlton (24:22):

I think it had a very positive impact on my business and I say a positive impact because the change in my energy was palpable, right? There’s a certain stress we have just being in a city like Chicago or New York or just being an attorney. There’s like a attention that we live with and that tension, it had no place in Valencia, <laugh>, it had no place in Valencia. I still did the work, I still did my marketing efforts. I still took on new clients. In fact, I think in July I took on probably 10 new clients that I interviewed and that hired me while I was there in Spain. Fortunately I had my assistant who was here in Chicago. Not that it mattered, he could in Chicago, he could have been in anywhere in the world, it could have been in Bali, which is hopefully a next on the list.



But through the processing, a client say, Yes, I’d like to hire you. He’d send them the stuff that they needed to go through our onboarding process and I just kept doing the work. But in that timeframe, that was allotted for work and it was nice in the morning for me, having that time to go for the walk. I think I’m finding it’s challenging here in Chicago to get up and try to go for that walk because the sounds are just so different. I walk outside, I hear trains, I hear cars, there’s horns being, there’s big giants. Rocks not, that wasn’t traffic, but where I lived, it was just the taxis were slower. Everything felt like you downshift it from fifth gear at 104, so we’re gonna just set crews at 53. But yet the business continued to grow. It didn’t taper at all. I think it actually expanded.


Sara Muender (26:17):

Tell me more about that. So your marketing efforts, did you do anything differently being abroad or were you still targeting the same people in the same ways that you would’ve if you were still in Chicago? How did you get clients?


Chrystan Carlton (26:33):

I did not do anything different in Spain than I had been doing in Chicago. I did the marketing efforts exactly the same. I still had referrals. I still continued to follow up with my clients. I needed follow up at certain times of the day. I still kept answering my telephone. So at some point, it may have been, I don’t know, 1130 at night, which is four 30 in Chicago and I’m sitting in a hibachi grill with someone having Japanese barbecue and my phone rings, okay, I’m gonna step out onto the street and this is Chrystan Garlin, how can I help you? And I’m gonna answer the phone and I’m gonna take the call and I’ll keep a little notebook inside my backpack so I can make notes the same as I would for at any other time. I have a standard notebook that I use but have my little backup and the moment that they said, Yep, we’d like to hire you, Okay, let me verify your information and that, send that over to my assistant.



So by the time I got up in the morning my time, which was still in the middle of the night for him, all the documents were there and we were ready to get going. It didn’t slow down at all. I didn’t do anything different. I think I was probably more effective at it because I was more relaxed. It made the sales pitches that much, I won’t call them easier but effective. And I think that the clients felt more competent cause of the even tone that they could hear in my voice. And in some cases when it was very, very latent, Oh, can I call you in two hours? No, you can’t call me at eight o’clock at your time because it’s gonna be three in the morning. I just happened to be in Spain. I almost never disclosed it unless it was we’re calling for a late meeting or just something happened where we’re doing a video conference in a Zoom. And during that time they could see, well where are you? I’m in Spain, I’ll be home on the 30th first. It’s not a problem. A lot of them seem to be impressed by that.


Sara Muender (28:31):

Yeah, yeah, no, I can imagine. Undoubtedly. And I’m wondering how this idea of working remote and having that freedom could translate in a law firm where the attorneys did have to go to court where there was litigation where they had to really be physically present. I’m trying to get creative and think of, for those people listening who are like, Well I could never do that because I do have to show up in court. It’s like, well, is in between. Is there something that you could create in your business to provide value, whether it’s a recurring business model or some type of paid training that they can do that would allow them to still have revenue but also not require them to be in court as much. Maybe they don’t stop doing that completely. Or maybe they take out three months out of the year and dedicate to being able to travel freely and they just don’t take those types of clients during that year. I’m trying to think about how this can apply to everyone who’s listening. Do you have any thoughts on that?


Chrystan Carlton (29:43):

I do.


Sara Muender (29:44):

<laugh>. So I knew <laugh>.


Chrystan Carlton (29:47):

The way I think about that is when we think of those super mega law firms, those partners don’t have any problem taking a one-month vacation and being gone for the entire month and what people schedule around them. I’m the owner of my business and I am, that makes me the partner. So guess what? People need to schedule around. The clients are hiring me for a reason. My father used to say this to me. He would say, You despise your education. Look, I don’t despise my education dad. But what he was really saying is, do not forget why people are hiring. You are the one with the brain trust. If they had the brain trust, they wouldn’t hire you because you have the brain trust. Even though they’re the ones with the money, you are the one with the brain trust. And that doesn’t mean let’s be egotistical and make everybody wait for us, but it also means that we can take a month vacation.



The reason I could do the Remote Year program is cuz it wasn’t a year, it was one month in the month of July and in many other parts of the world, the lawyers take all of August off. There are times of the year with respect to religious holidays coming in December, whether it be Hanukkah or Christmas, that people don’t expect people to be at work. These are times that you can just take a whole month and go away. And if someone says, Oh, I’m not available on December the 15th, I’m not available until January 3rd. Oh yeah, right. It’s the holiday. People will accept it if we normalize it.


Sara Muender (31:22):

And I imagine that that’s a big cultural thing too. I think just here in the US it’s, it’s a little more taboo than other parts of the world, but the benefits, I mean, what you’re describing about your ability to show up differently as a business owner, as a leader, as someone who provides value to people, you’re actually able to provide more value and help more people in a much bigger way and grow your own business. So it’s a win-win because you’re prioritizing you and the life that you want and the business that you wanna create and your happiness. I mean, life is short. And we don’t talk about this too much on the Lawyerist podcast, but again, you’re just such a living example of really focusing on what your priorities are. And it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your business clearly. I mean, you’re doing this. So any other advice that you have for anyone who’s considering working remotely, becoming a legal nomad? What are some things that they need to think about in advance?


Chrystan Carlton (32:30):

I would say things to think about in advance. Simple things, technology. You need to have the latest, greatest best. It doesn’t have to be the absolute best, but not something where it’s okay to limp along at home. You are abroad, you don’t wanna limp, and technology costs way more abroad than it does here. Even down to getting my air pods, I need to know that I’ve got good sound and I can isolate myself away from sounds outside. So that was a purchase I made before leaving for Spain that I’m still using now. Having VPN services are not that expensive. You think they’re gonna be, but they’re not. So just add that to your technology budget for the year, having access to your legal libraries, whichever libraries you use digitally, and knowing how to navigate those quickly enough so that you really are making an efficient use of your time.



For me, it was helpful to travel with basically Remote Year the company as a concierge because they took care of making sure the coworking space was there they took care of and making sure the housing was adapted. And so there are lots of things that we as lawyers will say, Oh, I could do that myself. But you know what? Full employment, we don’t need to do everything. And I think that’s another thing, right? Full employment, we can hire people to help us. We don’t have to do everything. And if you can embrace that piece and then embrace the technology, then the nomad piece, you know can be sitting in Chicago, you can be sitting in Atlanta, you can be sitting in Tucson, you can be sitting anywhere as easily as you can be sitting in your home office if everything can be done from your laptop.


Sara Muender (34:17):

Yeah. Aim into that. I mean, why not? Right? Well, it’s been such a joy to hear your story and it’s so inspiring. I’m so proud of you for doing this and for prioritizing yourself. So what’s next for you? What are you excited about? I know that this podcast is being released in November-ish of 2022 and we’ve got next year coming. And what are your plans? Are you doing some more traveling we should be aware of?


Chrystan Carlton (34:48):

I am. I’m so excited. I can barely contain myself. So today is Wednesday. On Sunday at 5:00 AM I will be flying to Colombia. I will be a month there. My daughters made me come home for Thanksgiving. She’s a freshman. Okay, great. I hear you. I’ll come home for Thanksgiving. But then I fly to Brazil and I will be in Brazil all of December, first week of January. So I’ll spend five weeks in Brazil, four weeks in Colombia. And because I’m officially a nomad with the program, I’m looking at possibly spending April in Bali.


Sara Muender (35:24):

Wow, that’s really exciting. I’m jazz. Yeah, well you better tell me all about it and you better post some pictures in the Lab forum so that your fellow lobsters can see what you’re doing and get inspired. Oh, this is so fun. Well, thank you for coming on the Lawyerist podcast today and sharing your story. I only wish the best for you. I want you to go travel the world to every place you can possibly imagine in your heart, and I only wish the most success for your business for it to be whatever you want it to be, my friend.


Speaker 6 (35:54):

Thank you. Thank you, Sara.



The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.

Your Hosts

Sara Muender

As a Lab Coach, Sara works with lawyers to build healthier law firms through workshops and 1:1 coaching. She makes sure lawyers have the guidance and tools to implement their ideas and grow their businesses.

Featured Guests

Chrystan Carlton headshot

Chrystan Carlton

Chrystan Carlton launched her firm in solo practice 10 years ago.  During that time she has worked for a start-up in Africa – Angola to launch quick service restaurants, franchised retail stores, and movie cinemas.  After the Angola project, Chrystan did some ad-hoc legal project management in regulatory implementations for banks, and now serves small business owners and start-ups helping them draft and negotiate the myriad of agreements facing entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Share Episode

Last updated November 9th, 2022