Celebrating 10 Years: My Small Business Journey

Celebrating 10 Years: My Small Business Journey

I have been a small business owner for ten years – 10 years! It sounds so surreal to even say it out loud. Maybe it is because as a one-woman shop, I never allow myself to stop long enough to think about how much it has done, how many we have helped, how we have impacted others’ lives. I only started to give this thought, when I began showing a friend of mine photos of our renovation of the building we currently occupy – and the party that followed it. Then I took a moment to look at all the pictures of me with clients over the years – from attending an entire season of ASO with a playwright, to open houses of client studio spaces, to awards ceremonies for our clients. Together, we brought education to our community in our Business Basics for Creatives™ class, and other opportunities, investing hours into forging what we hope are lifelong friendships with people, who trust us to serve.

Morin Legal Renovation


Morin Legal Grand Opening Party2

Morin Legal Grand Opening Party1

Then there is the volunteer work we accomplished in 10 years, which for me, began before law school. I think that volunteering is how we show our greater selves, by giving without expectation of return, to help others as we were helped. My most recent work was reading the Augusta Chronicle for the visually impaired on the Georgia Radio Reading Service (hey, I started my career as a volunteer college radio disc jockey for WRAS Atlanta, 88.5FM). I now have a recording of myself performing 12 volumes of Little Women, complete with a parrot impersonation! In connection with my business, I served on a handful of boards since starting the Firm, and spent one on one time with a number of high school, college, graduate school, and law students, and recently minted lawyers, to talk with them about their careers. I remember how much that mattered to me, when I was a new lawyer!

In addition to volunteer work, my law school dean honored me when she hired me to teach non-lawyers how the legal ropes work in entertainment and corporate law, giving them a lecture in finance and private securities. This honor carried over to the next year when I was a group moderator for a talk with heavy hitters in our state film and media production industry, at the Creative Media Industries Institute. Teaching has always been part of the role of a counselor to clients, to enable them to make their own choices. Ironically, both of my parents are teachers (and veterans – Go Army!), and suggested that I avoid teaching. I think my mom made up for it when she said I should go to law school after I got my B.A. – my response? Never! The moral of the story? Never say “never,” and don’t believe everything you hear about you, even if it is well intended advice from a family member.

When I tell people about my journey to 10 years, it starts with some statistics. I had a 10 year break between undergrad and grad school. I started law school at 33 years. I was on academic probation my 1st semester. I recall sitting in my administrative law professor’s office one winter, crying over an exam that I thought I aced – only to find out I was really, really wrong. Thankfully, law school only teaches us skills, and with some elbow grease and application, I raised my gpa to above a 3.5 my final semester. I celebrated small victories that mattered, echoing the sentiment of my history professor, the late James Heitzman, when he wrote, that I would perform excellently when motivated by a topic that I wanted to learn. How true his statement was; I earned the highest grade in International Law, and Arts & Entertainment Law in my class. I specialize in arts and entertainment law.

When I graduated, I began studying for the bar exam. 3 months after passing the bar, one of my mentors in law school procured a contract for me, which led to another contract. At the time, the market seemed flooded with overqualified lawyers; finding a job was challenging. The usual entry-level jobs were not available (discovery center, anyone?). After passing the bar, I lost my home, because I had no job (and no readily available income), and moved back in with my parents. I took what contracts I could get, especially paralegal roles, when the employer did not want an attorney, but needed someone who understood “IP.” (I spent 8 years in intellectual property law departments and a blue chip firm before attending law school).

Three things therefore led to my business’s birth:

(1) realizing that I love freedom, independence, and being the boss of myself,

(2) attending a solo workshop at my alma mater that validated my motivations and showed that I was a “natural” entrepreneur and

(3), wanting to “do right by” a producer, who needed some help with an IP matter. All 3 ingredients combined and voilà, I started Morin Legal (née Morin Entertainment Law, LLC) on March 18, 2013.

Morin Legal Renovation


I faced many of the same challenges that small business owners do – meeting client expectations (and knowing how to set expectations, which is arguably more important), marketing and promotions (that first website…), and trying not to do it all myself even though I could not afford to hire anyone. All of those years as an administrator helped me quickly and efficiently perform routine tasks and utilize technologies available to me to “streamline,” and “automate,” some, including billing, calendaring, scheduling, receivables, and invoicing. It seemed that for every billable hour I spent 3 more doing administrative work to keep the business functioning. I took calculated risks, too. Being a solo, I do not have the luxury of walking down the hall to an experienced “partner,” to assist with my work. So I created a network of specialty attorney mentors, who committed to always review my work and give me pointers on how to approach things, from the very first day and the very first client. Nothing is fool proof however, and the lessons I learned on this early road were very painful at times. These lessons taught me business resilience, which helped me and the Firm to survive in 2020.

For years, I looked for a brick and mortar building where I could meet clients in my office and still work from home (for those tax deductions!). 4 years of hunting and then one day, the perfect place rose up. It was out of my price range, and not available. I still put my email in the box for communications when it hit the market. And the very next day, I got a call, with an offer to reduce the price by $5,000. I toured the building, which is a whole commercial space on the bottom floor, with a private residential space above it. It was perfect, and I began the transition of moving my business from Gwinnett County to the City of Atlanta. Returning to Atlanta after having lost my home because of job scarcity just 4 years prior, was a huge moment for me. Renovating the building gave me great pride, and hosting my clients, colleagues and friends was sublime. It is hard to believe that 6 more years have passed since we moved in, and I hope we continue for 10 more. Since locating to our downtown office, I have played a more meaningful role in my community, joining business associations and assisting small, local businesses and artists, entertainers and athletes, with their legal services needs.

Someone once told me, that if you take care of your firm for 10 years, it will take care of you! I hope that is true because I love to wake up every day, fulfilling my dream of being the boss, while enabling the many strong, smart, and creative people of our city to run their companies as they see fit, or to help a client secure IP rights to a property dear to them, or to support screenwriters as they bravely face rejection, or to close distribution deals for brand new movies!

I hope, after reading this blog, you will subscribe to our newsletter to stay connected. My social media team keeps telling me to make more videos, and I will, so having you in my network will make sure that you see my videos, for better or for worse (this coming from someone happy behind the mic with headphones, not in front of a screen!). And if you happen to be on the Atlanta BeltLine® trail, look us up! Or better, schedule a Discovery Call (FREE) to meet us before booking your consultation to get our legal advice. I hope we offer the solutions you need to pursue the American dream of freedom and independence! A HUGE thanks to every person who has made this journey so very special, thank YOU. 🤗


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