Smooshy Thursdays: Lawyers can be Multipotentialites Too!

Smooshy Thursdays: Lawyers can be Multipotentialites Too!

Written by Emilie

Topics: Renaissance Business

This is the first installment of Smooshy Thursdays, a series in which I feature an innovative project or Renaissance Business that cleverly “smooshes” together multiple disparate fields.


I recently sent out a Puttylike email about how each of us sees the world through our own lens (and how that can play out in shared living situations…). One of my major lenses is obviously multipotentiality.

Every time I meet a new person, I’m very attune to whether they have a lot of different interests in their life, and how they feel about their projects. I’m also constantly thinking about careers, and whether certain ones are more specialized or multifaceted in nature.

Well sometimes over-categorization can be a problem, because often a career that looks very specialist in nature, can be made more broad and multipod-friendly. In fact, this broadening often comes about through combining the narrow discipline with one or more of your other interests.

It’s also true that different multipotentialites require different amounts of variety in their lives. For some of us, simply working with a wide range of clients, each of whom introduces us to new challenges, provides enough diversity. Others need a Rolodex of clients in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.

I love today’s Smooshy Thursday feature because it actually challenges some of my own ideas about law. When I was in law school, I was pretty unhappy. I found most of the classes quite narrow in content and perspective. The overall culture of the place was pretty “specialist” in nature too. I regularly heard advice like “don’t take any outside law courses or the law firms will ask you why the hell you’re taking a course on Shakespeare, and question how seriously you take your career.” Ew.

There were exceptions of course. A few teachers took more creative approaches in the classroom, and I naturally gravitated towards classes that combined multiple areas, like intellectual property and criminal law. But I still found the experience too narrow for me, and I never really imagined that a legal career could provide me with enough variety.

I know I made the right choice for me personally, but it is really cool to see other lawyers who are out there challenging the specialist bias in the legal world and finding creative ways of expressing their multipotentiality.

Meet Dustin Milligan

Dustin and I went to law school together, and I always thought he was a super rad guy– one of the few other law students that I could relate to on a human level. I suppose that’s not surprising, since he’s apparently a total multipotentialite. I didn’t realize it at the time (I didn’t even know that I was a multipod), but it makes sense.

Unlike me, Dustin did become a lawyer. However, he appears to have found an ingenious way to integrate his other passions into the mix. Check it out.


Dustin created a series of children’s books called The Charter for Children. His stories feature characters such as Anne of Green Tomatoes, a New Brunswick lobster, a Montreal bagel, a Saskatchewan moose, Justin Beaver, and Alanis Mooset! He essentially took his interests in human rights and blended them with storytelling, education, creativity and humour.

Um… Can I just hear a collective “AMAZING!”? Like damn. If the Career Development Office had presented that to me as an option, I may have reconsidered my choice to ditch law. (Not really, but you know. :)

It just goes to show that there are multipotentialites in every field, even those that we traditionally associate with high levels of expertise.

By thinking outside of the box and trusting that you’ve got all these amazing interests for a reason, you can piece together a personalized career that allows you to explore multiple areas.

Super cool, Dustin! You’re awesome.

For more information, check out Dustin’s interview on the CBC.

Your Turn

Have you ever combined a field that’s arguably more narrow in nature, with your other interests, to create more fulfilling work for yourself?

Know of any other other “smooshy” projects or Renaissance Businesses that I should feature? I’m always up for suggestions.


  1. Janet says:

    Your blog is always an inspiring read- thank you for sharing. I have nominated your blog for a Versatile Blogger Award. Have a look at my recent blog post for the details and how to get your Versatile Blogger Award Badge.

    Have a blessed day

  2. Sharise says:

    Very cool! Who would have thought becoming a lawyer would lead to creating educational and entertaining children’s books?

    • Emilie says:

      I know, right? (I don’t think it typically does… But maybe if creativity were encouraged more in law school, there’d be more people like Dustin out there.)

      I love when people in “traditional” careers do unconventional things and mix it up a little.

  3. Rachel Rodgers says:

    Hi Emilie,

    I know Dustin from the interwebs and agree that he is pretty cool. But learning about the cool stories he did makes him even cooler! I love seeing lawyers get outside of the lawyer-box and create a career that works for them instead of following the traditional path when its not a good fit.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Great to see you weigh in here. I think you’re doing remarkably original stuff with your legal career too. I may ask for a feature in the future. I’d probably use you as an example of someone who said fuck it to the whole “lawyers must work crazy hours and big firms and charge stupid rates” paradigm and did things your own way. :) You do a pretty nice job of smooshing together law with online business, creative entrepreneurship, etc. though. Super cool.

      See you in a couple weeks!

  4. Janet says:

    that is KICK ASS!! From lawyer to children’s book storyteller.. and illustrator too? I would love to write and illustrate my own kid’s book one day!

    • Emilie says:

      Haha RIGHT?!

      Go for it Janet.

      Daaaaamn… You just gave me an idea about writing a kids book about multipotentiality. Oh man… wheels turning.

      • janet says:

        dooo it!! I love being an idea instigator.. haha.
        you could even make a coloring book to accompany it.. or make the book itself a coloring book (line art, fill in illustrations only) all in one. think of the multipotential!!

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