Advocate Shivani Tyagi is also known as Shivornia the Artist. She has 2 identities with 2 careers and she plans to add more to her career graph as she is working on becoming an entrepreneur as well. She particularly specializes in nature photography. She is also a digital marketer and helps businesses grow.
Q. Hello, it’s a pleasure to have you with us! Could you tell us a little bit about your life during law school? What extra-curricular and co-curricular activities were you a part of?
I was tricked into becoming a lawyer. I always wanted to be a filmmaker and wanted to go to NYFA to study films. But funnily enough I got into this deal with my father that he’ll pay for film school only if I do Law school first. So I agreed to this very clever deal on my father’s side and became a Lawyer. Life in Law school was not easy. There always was the next assignment, next presentation, a lot of competition but at same time it was fun too. As I met a lot of different people, I was out of my comfort zone which always helps you grow and also saw the transformation of many law students from lazy rule breakers to these very intellectual and knowledgeable individuals. I guess that’s what Law School does to you. It transforms you into a confident walking encyclopedia. My professor always told us this one thing: “A Lawyer must know everything about something and something about everything”.
I then started participating in other activities like debate club where we discussed the trending youth issues and had some quite strong opinionated discussions with other law students, became vice president of entrepreneurship club and director of drama club which was full of fun and laughter.
Q. After Law School, you worked in the legal sector and now you’re also a photographer & writer! Did you ever envision that you would shift to careers outside the legal field while at law school or even right after graduation?
I started as a hobbyist photographer during my 2nd year of law. I never thought of it as a career but when you become great at something you automatically drive the right people’s attention. I never really was passionate about law but in order to do what I love, which is art, I became good at what I hated, which was doing the 9-5 in law. With law I earned tools for taking my art forward. You can’t just have everything you want and give nothing in return. Remember anything worthwhile, anything important requires some form of sacrifice. So I made a nice social presence and kept working in the legal profession side by side and suddenly one day got contacted by big brands for doing social marketing and content writing for them. With every project I tend to become a little better and I am still learning. People’s reaction and results towards my work made me confident enough to have two careers. We all have been there where you think wow does it even matter and I should just get a normal job and quit. I understand how difficult, stressful and time consuming the legal profession is, but everything you do takes a lot of time, energy and work. So once I had a strong back up plan with digital marketing and writing, I went ahead and made a conscious decision of which profession I’d be happy to invest my time, energy and work in. So I divided my time with 70/30 – investing 70% of my time with content writing and helping business. While still doing a little bit of legal help too as I formed my own law firm – “For Justice” with my brother, which definitely made me my own boss and I got the power of deciding my working hours.
Q. What was the inspiration/motivation behind the decision to take up photography and writing along with keeping a legal career? What does a typical day in your life look like?
Everything beautiful inspired me to become an artist from the most prominent mountain to the smallest bit of dew. Also a conversation with Charles Shwartz. While preparing for the judiciary one day, I was really tired with my 10 hour study session. I was scrolling through Instagram and found Charles Schwartz, a life coach from Florida. Charles asked me “what makes you happy” and I had no answer. He suggested I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and also his own book Who Changes Everything.
Instead of continuing with my study, I read both those books and it definitely changed my perception of what I really want in life. These books helped me get answers and see clearly the way and future ahead.
A typical day in my life is very relaxing. I wake up really early in the morning, do my workout. I Make myself the best breakfast and start my day by listening to motivating podcasts and then working for my clients and taking a break whenever I want because I am the boss. Also I get to spend a great amount of time with my people.
Q. How do you manage your two professions simultaneously? What crucial factors did you take into consideration before making this decision?
With two careers I get two identities Shivornia the Artist and Shivani the Advocate. So instead of giving up one thing or the other, I decided I don’t want to sacrifice anymore. I look at law and art as 2 hobbies one made me money and the other one made me happy. I knew if I want two careers I should be the boss to do so. Starting my law firm was a big decision as I had limited knowledge but partnering with someone who could handle work where I lacked was the best decision and allowed me to work with what I was good at and also gave me time to work on a second career. I divide my time making art a priority and legal profession as a side business.
Q. What were some of the challenges that you face as a part of the process of balancing two vastly different careers and how did you overcome them?
Biggest challenge was the Time management and adjusting to responsibilities of 2 different sides. So I started planning my day the night before, only taking on responsibilities I could fulfill and breaking down the task to make it more manageable. I plan my to-do list for each day and try making it happen. This way there is no surprise burden. I don’t complain when things get a little tough because I chose this for me and I have control over it. Whining about it only makes you lose control and there is nothing worse than feeling powerless.
Q. Has your legal background helped you in anyway in your current professional journey? Are there any skill sets which intersect between these two fields? Have these skill sets in law helped you advance in photography/writing or vice-versa?
Law transforms you into a confident individual. The more knowledge you have, the more powerful you feel. Becoming a lawyer gives you breadth and depth of useful and pragmatic transferable skills that will help you in whatever career path you end up taking. Like writing well, being able to articulate complex thoughts and theories, public speaking, or research skills were highly valuable with my second profession as a digital marketer and writer.
My photography is way better than from where I started, the continuation made me better and the results makes me cherish this hobby more. It was because of law that I was able to invest more and more in my photography and it was my love for art and photography that I kept working on becoming a better lawyer as well.
Q. Most of our readers are students of the law or are law graduates. What advice do you have for those who want to take up a career based on their passion but feel limited to the conventional career options in the legal field?
When you have 2 careers think of it as a Primary (Law) career and Secondary (Passion) career. Don’t ever give up your passion if you’re good at it. Then work on both simultaneously. Be persistent with your work and passion. Once you’re good enough to make money with your secondary (passion) career. You have an important decision to make – either to make a complete career shift or to handle both careers. You should also know that once you get your law degree you can come back anytime to law, pass your bar exam and become a lawyer again. So take a chance and don’t contemplate 5 years of law being wasted because whatever you learn or study only helps you further. In the early stage of any career it is okay to feel lost or get to a conclusion that this is not going to work out. But you have to be persistent to get somewhere even if it is 5% close to your goal.
Find out more about Shivani Tyagi –
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/advocateshivanityagi/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShivorniaPhotography/
- Instagram: instagram.com/shivornia.t ; https://www.instagram.com/FORJUSTICELAWFIRM/
Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.