Christina Oshan grew up seeing lawyers wear their stress and exhaustion as badges of honor, and oddly, that’s what initially attracted her to the field. Talk about a challenge-seeker. Now, Christina is a lawyer as well as an entrepreneur, having started Maul Media, an Emmy Award winning production house. Her experience going through the startup wringer is what inspired her follow up project, J+O Firm, a law firm providing the efficient legal counsel for every day issues that was nowhere to be found when Christina needed it most. In the Talent Pool Christina shares her insights on peacocking, networking, and seizing opportunities.
Talentedly: What inspired you to pursue law as a career?
Christina Oshan: I became excited about law at a very young age while growing up in Miami and watching the sophistication and power attorneys seemed to have. Through internships and conversations with many lawyers I knew, I found that lawyers tend to wear their exhaustion and stress as badges of honor. This both scared and intrigued me, but mostly intrigued me—I’ve always been one to seize challenges. I was determined that my law career would be different, but as they say, easier said than done. So, I actually think a more apt question is why I continue to pursue law as a career. To that I answer I truly enjoy simplifying legal issues and crafting efficient solutions.
TLY: What has been the most important professional takeaway from starting Maul Media?
CO: The appreciation of how time-intensive, all-consuming and complex running a business is. It’s easy for us lawyers to point out issues, but for founders, all we have are issues. We need people on our team that are going to give us practical answers to the pile of issues that seemingly multiply each day. Your team and network are everything. I’ve heard this all my life from entrepreneurs but didn’t truly understand it until I learned first-hand.
TLY: Why did you start J+O and what are you looking to accomplish?
CO: I’ve always worked with startups, but only after co-founding my own startup did I realize there was an unmet need in the market for efficient legal counseling. Most law firms are a great resource for larger transactions, but make no economic sense for everyday issues. My business partner, Rachel Johnson, and I started J+O to help redefine how lawyers work with clients and fill that gap.
TLY: What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
CO: I recently attended a panel hosted by Cyrus Innovation on “10 Things Every Female Founder Should Know.” While there was a ton of great advice, the advice from Heidi Lehmann (Co-Founder, SWSI Media) and Mary Kopczynski (founder and CEO of 8of9) especially hit home for me. Heidi emphasized the need to “peacock” and acknowledge your accomplishments without qualification or attribution to others. Mary admitted that she had been reticent to call herself an expert despite her extensive experience and reminded us to celebrate and take pride in our expertise. This means everything from being firm and decisive, to saying yes when asked to participate in panels and seminars. It hit a lot of marks for me.
TLY: What skill has helped you most in your law career?
CO: It is essential to be open to opportunities. I graduated law school at one of the worst possible times—law firms had just laid off droves of associates and were not eager to hire first year associates. I couldn’t rely on my credentials to get me the job I wanted. I met my former boss at a restaurant while having breakfast. I fostered that relationship and within a few months of meeting, I was part of his team. You never know what opportunities can come from chance encounters. Get out there, meet people, stay in touch—that’s where the real opportunities exist.
TLY: Where will we find you in 5 years?
CO: I’m working toward managing a business that can run without me. While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s how I define a successful business. It’s easy to make things depend on you. It’s harder to admit when you are not needed.
TLY: Quote or mantra to live by?
CO: “Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it.” Hillary Rodham Clinton. Politics aside, I couldn’t agree more.
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