How to Become a Lawyer Without Going to Law School

The Unorthodox Path to Becoming a Lawyer

Guest: Rachel Allums took a nontraditional path to law practice, first working as a receptionist and paralegal before reading for the California Bar. She benefited from years of firm management experience, leveraging these skills when she launched her estate planning practice one year ago.


  • What it’s like being a legal unicorn
  • Flipping the script by learning to be a lawyer before learning to think like a lawyer
  • Battling inertia to make practice management changes that benefit clients
  • Launching a firm during a pandemic
  • Scaling and managing an influx of clients
  • Cultivating relationships through preferred provider deals
  • Managing client expectations with forthright, transparent communication
  • Yes, print advertising still works!

The Tech Stack:

  • Clio Grow/Clio Manage for client intake and management
  • Quickbooks online for bookkeeping 
  • HotDocs document automation from AbacusNext 
  • Lawyaw for online legal forms

New Insights (brought to you by Nota):

  • Veteran practitioner Starlett Massey answers litigation associate Melanie Kalmanson’s question:
  • Question 1 of 4: “What made you decide to start your own firm?”

Special thanks to our sponsors, Lawclerk, Alert Communications, Abby Connect, and Clio.