Paula Duffy successfully reinvented her life as a former top lawyer in corporate America and you can successfully do the same thing!

Paula Duffy successfully reinvented her life as a former top lawyer in corporate America and you can successfully do the same thing!

by Andrew R. Spriegel

During an almost unprecedented recession this point in history provides an opportunity to re-invent “you”.  Many of the jobs that have been lost will never come back during the economic recovery, referred to as a “jobless recovery”.  It may be time to ask yourself if you would like to be your own boss, do “work” that you love, able to control your own schedule…?

In a down economy you can pause for a moment, overcome the ensuing panic and anxiety and reflect on how you might like to redefine and reinvent yourself and pursue your passion.  Paula Duffy did exactly that, not in a down economy but she followed her passion and her love of sports, baseball and of writing.  She left behind her career as a senior corporate lawyer for Sony and General Counsel for Vivendi Games.

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Paula Duffy

Paula Duffy is a sports fanatic, a popular on-air correspondent for Sports Journey Radio, a contributor to the Huffington Post, founder of the sports learning site Incidental Contact and the National Sports Examiner at Examiner.com.  Duffy also practices law in Los Angeles. You can follow Paula on Twitter or contact her at jurisdiva@gmail.com.

Maybe you have been laid off and it’s time for you to scale back your expenses, look at what matters to you and decide what you have to do to change your life and if you really want to pursue those things that matter to you.  You may want to take a part time approach while you are employed or engage in a full time endeavor that was “forced” on you with a downsizing or it may be something that you’ve dreamt about for years.  Many businesses are started during an economic downturn when situations are forced on people that otherwise might not have decided to change their career were they not forced to do so.  You can also work on starting a business while you look for full time employment.

Paula Duffy, from the time she was a five year old spent time with her father; a sports enthusiast extraordinaire that instilled in her a passion and love of sports.  She shared with her father and brother, history being made during the first Super Bowl, Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record and eventually saw the NY Knicks win a basketball championship.

Paula found it easier to navigate her way through the corporate world in high level positions by being able to talk sports both with her colleagues and clients.  Working at a high level in the consumer electronics and computer games world mean that frequently, she was one of the only women at the meeting table.  She has said:  “Men who thought of me as too aggressive, too smart or just plain intimidating had no trouble talking sports with me.”  She developed the technique of using metaphors from the sports world to explain complicated contract language or deal points in business transactions.

She had season tickets at Yankee Stadium when living in NJ and after relocating to LA she purchased and still owns season tickets for the Lakes at Staples Arena, the same arena where the Michael Jackson memorial was recently held.  Her favorite teams are a reflection of her Jersey roots as well as her relocation to Southern California. She is still a die-hard Yankee fan, roots for the New York Giants of the NFL and tends to live and die by how the Lakers succeed or fail during the NBA season.

Paula graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, New York. Her career as a lawyer didn’t start, as most do, in a law firm working as a junior-level associate. She jumped right into corporate life at Sony Electronics, Inc. It was Sony that gave her that magic carpet ride to life at the beach and she established the company’s west coast law department. She couldn’t give it up when it came time to change locations again. She found a position as the general counsel of a public company that just happened to be in the midst of the growing computer games business.  It was that position that launched her into the speaking circuit at legal seminars. Some of what she presented was practical advice on how to survive the “merger-mania” that was engulfing Internet-based businesses.

After her mother became gravely ill and her company changed ownership for the third time in less than three years, she said goodbye to the corporate office and hello to one at her home. During the highs and lows of the Dotcom industry she found clients who could utilize the services of someone who had worked for the heavy hitters and could de-mystify the vagaries of corporate acquisitions and lengthy contract negotiations. They never looked askance at her choice to care for a family member and fly solo.

After her mother passed, Paula found a way to merge her passion for sports with her business acumen. As a tribute to her Dad, she founded Incidental Contact, LLC (www.incidentalcontact.com), a sports learning site for women. It began as a seminar business and morphed into one that became a source of written and audio content about the basics of the three major sports. Her audio coaching session entitled “A Woman’s Guide to Basketball” reached the top ten lists for audio books at iTunes in the months after its introduction.

Building on her skills as a speaker and to effectively market her audio books, she appeared on sports-talk radio programs. As a result of that she found the crew at Sports Journey Radio (www.sportsjourney.com) where her gender didn’t seem to matter as it did elsewhere in the sports media business. Without having been an athlete or a sports journalist, she found tremendous resistance to her attempts at providing sports commentary even when the topic was sports stars’ colliding with the legal system.  With Sports Journey on her resume she found acceptance elsewhere.  She has continued to contribute to the show as a national correspondent and she is often called upon by Fox Sports and ESPN radio affiliates to appear as a guest to discuss hot topics of the day.

A blog on her Incidental Contact site led to her decision to attempt yet another career as a freelance sports writer. She managed to land national sports beat at Examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/x-426-Sports-Examiner) and a bi-weekly slot at the popular Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paula-duffy).

Throughout the migration of her career into the sports realm she has maintained a small law practice that includes artists, television directors, voice-over talent as well as software companies.  It not only contributes to the bottom line but allows her to keep current in a profession that she loves. Paula has been known to say that at her core she remains a lawyer with a bad sports habit. I think you’ll agree there’s nothing bad about the way she continually challenges herself.

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2 Comments

Filed under Baseball, business, job, Jobs, Law Firm, Re-Invent Yourself, Reinventing Yourelf, self employed, Starting a business, Success

2 responses to “Paula Duffy successfully reinvented her life as a former top lawyer in corporate America and you can successfully do the same thing!

  1. Hi!. Thanks a bunch for the info. I’ve been digging around looking some info up for shool, but i think i’m getting lost!. Yahoo lead me here – good for you i suppose! Keep up the good work. I will be popping back over in a couple of days to see if there is updated posts.

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