Kimbyrleigha is a mom, a law school graduate, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology. She is currently taking courses in Medicolegal Death Investigation and has a non-traditional job as a Content Creator and has had multi-platform success, especially in the last 5 years. She is currently making a career change and looking into working for YouTube as a User Experience Researcher. Right now she is a True Crime YouTube Content Creator with close to 240,000 subscribers and over 23 million views on her channel.
Q. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your life at law school? What extra-curricular and co-curricular activities were you involved in?
For starters, I’m a native Floridian. I went to college in Palm Beach and law school in Jacksonville, FL. I started my educational career studying psychology and sociology and ended up with a bachelor degree in both. Then, my interest changed into law because of a kinda unfortunately but almost divine situation that happened to me in my junior year of college. I was attending a private school with a lot of rules. Being a young college student I was not really interested in reading contracts, I’d sign them without a care in the world but apparently I signed a contact when I was accepted to my college. This contract prohibited me from drinking alcohol, having premarital relations and much more. Without knowing it, I decided to participate in a really fun opportunity! I was shopping at my local drug store and saw a booth set up from a radio station in my area. They were looking for contestants for a “survivor” like reality show and of course I applied. Out of thousands of entries, I made it into the final 10! They only picked 5 of us, and needless to say I was one of the 5. They transported us to an island (it was really Key West in FL) they took away all our money, phones, and most of our belongings, including certain clothing so we were forced to get creative OR work to get our things back. Well, they had lots of interesting events and one of them was a bar crawl. I was of legal drinking age; as a matter of fact I turned 21 on the show! I was legally allowed to drink but my college had rules. It was also the summer so I’m actually still unsure how they were able to expel me but they tried to. Someone sent pictures of me to my school. I was devastated. I was such a hard working student and to think I would lose all I’ve worked for over this? It made me think. I decided instead of just letting it happen to me I was going to appeal and argue my case to the disciplinary committee.
I was able to argue that I deserved to stay and I was the very first student to avoid expulsion and was put into a sanction program. It took a year to fulfill my duties and by that time I was a senior. I was actually asked to be a chair on the disciplinary committee my last year and I learned so much. All this lead to me deciding I’d make a good attorney or at the very least I’d like to learn where I went wrong and why young people aren’t as concerned with contracts and I really wanted to understand the law for the rest of my life. That’s how I decided to go to law school.
While I was in law school I was also an actress. I spent most of my days after school working on the set of TV shows and movies as an extra or with a speaking role. I also did a lot of modeling to pay for school and other fun activities like taking trips to LA. I was part of the animal law society and I didn’t really hang out with other students that much or go out on the town. I was VERY serious about studying.
Q. Along with being a Law School graduate, you have also studied Psychology, Sociology and Death Investigation. Where did your interest for True Crime and Forensic Psychology stem from?
I have been interested in True Crime since I was in 8th grade when the OJ Simpson trial was going on. My maternal grandmother got me interested in the case and I was forever changed. I recall wanting to see pictures of the crime scene and walked to my local bookstore to find the true crime section. I’ve been interested in the law and crime ever since. My father was also in prison when I was very young. At first you think someone must be a really bad person to be sent to prison but that’s not exactly the case. I learned that people get involved in things and they evolve. It doesn’t always start out sinister, but it’s a slippery slope. My dad and I have a very good relationship and he’s taught me a lot about the law and crime. He’s taught me how to stay safe, what warning signs to look for when it comes to suspicious people. I started to have a passion for defending criminals and being a voice for the underdog. I truly love defense work and usually take the viewpoint of the defense or play devil’s advocate during most of the cases I watch or learn about.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about your YouTube Channel and your Phone Case Company – ‘KIMBYR.COM’? What was the inspiration/motivation behind the same?
My YT channel was started in 2010. I was bored in law school and didn’t have much time to socialize. I decided it would be a great hobby or a creative outlet. It started with simple videos shot on my digital camera. Later, in 2015 when my daughter was around 3 she wanted a YT channel! Yeah, like mother like daughter I guess. She would pretend she was doing a video in the mirror and say “welcome to my YT channel.” I thought it was adorable so I did create a fun toy channel for her. Eventually I was inspired to start posting on my channel again and the rest is history. I’ve been in many different genres from beauty to lifestyle, ASMR, reaction videos and now true crime. As far as my business is concerned it grew out of a genre I pioneered on YT called Phone Fashion. I began sharing my love for tech accessories back in 2015 and a lot of my videos of my phone case collection (I have hundreds of cases) and phone grips went viral. I was known as the pop-sockets girl. I was making a lot of money for other brands by using and sharing their products so creating my own was just a natural extension of that.
Q. Was the process of career change from a law graduate into YouTube and Entrepreneurship, a difficult one? What factors did you take into consideration before making the switch?
Changing my career from working in real estate law in corporate to being my own boss was not really “hard” as it was different. I have always been a self-starter and been self-motivated but it is hard to know how to make things work and how much money will be coming in. It’s much easier to clock in and clock out. Being your own boss means working ALL the time. Any time I have my phone or I’m in front of my computer, I think about work and I DO work. Work is never done especially when you are doing a job like mine where everything is tied to social media which by the way I used to be against so it’s ironic that it’s how I pay my bills now. I did my senior research project entitled “Myspace: Psychological Friend or Foe” and it was selected to be presented it at the American Psychological Association convention in San Fransisco right before I started law school. I created a scale called the “Myspace Interaction Scale” which was used to gauge how much time a user spent on social media (FB wasn’t big and IG was not around) and the correlation between the time spent and their self-esteem. The study showed that there is indeed a correlation between lower self-esteem and overall well-being and more time spent online on social media.
Funny, because that is definitely one of the challenges of doing the type of job I do. It’s also pretty lonely and got even more so during Covid. Before I made the switch I did take things into consideration; things like how much money I had saved, when I would start making money and IF it would even work! I definitely had to save at least 10k before I left my job and I also had the support of my now fiancé. I lost all my benefits too so that was a major consideration.
Q. What were some of the challenges that you faced as a part of the process of making a career switch from the legal field and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge has really been people that are rude, mean and just downright evil online. There have been a lot of positive changes for creators online that allow us to control what kind of comments and engagement are allowed on our platforms but it doesn’t mean people won’t create their own content about us on THEIR platforms and it’s happened to me many times. They just lie and start drama for the sake of views and it’s really disheartening. I see this more with younger creators than creators in my age range. Either way, there’s no excuse for it but it’s part of what we all expect these days which I find is pretty sad but it’s kinda the price you pay if you want to be popular online. I have a VERY strong support system. My fiancé, daughter, sisters and friends are all there for me in real life. I know who I am and strangers truly don’t. They only see a small sliver of who I am so anything they think they know and what they make up about me doesn’t truly affect me since their opinions don’t matter at the end of the day but it does hurt. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and options I can use to deter hate comments and to control what people can say but they still slip through the cracks.
Q. Has your legal background helped you in anyway in your current professional journey of entrepreneurship? Are there any unexpected skills that you brought in from law school to your career today?
My legal background helps me every day! Every single day. The law is weaved into everything we do. Every purchase I make is a contract, every time I talk to a brand about a potential collaboration I use all my legal skills and my negotiation skills that I learned in college when I was studying psych and what I learned in law school. My legal background has helped me with my true crime content. I am constantly legally analyzing cases and I watch a lot of trials. I truly wish I was a defense attorney sometimes but it’s NEVER too late. I think I will be ready to take the bar in July of 2022. I was going to do it in February but my YT channel has started taking off with my true crime content. It’s working for me because it’s in line with who I truly am. I don’t have to fake anything, I am authentically interested in everything I talk about. I also decided to go into Medicolegal Death Investigation and I am currently getting certified to become a professional death investigator. If anyone is interested in becoming a coroner or a death investigator, having a law degree is VERY helpful, almost essential in my point of view.
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?
My advice is, make sure you have a passion for the law. It’s nice to memorize statutes or know the law but it’s another thing to be in school because you are truly inspired by the concepts and the history of the law. I never expected to become an attorney. I didn’t go to law school with that objective in mind. I knew having a law degree would be the only way for me to become an attorney BUT it was also the type of degree that employers know is very hard to achieve. It takes a lot of perseverance and trust me I wanted to quit a few times but it was SO worth it once I walked across that stage. You don’t HAVE to become an attorney. You can get creative. You could become an expert witness of some kind if you combine your legal studies with other areas of expertise, you can go on to get your masters degree and become a professor, or you can go way out on a limb and do something like I am doing. There really isn’t a limit to the things you can do.
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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.