Quitting corporate law to become content creators – a look back on Em and Lloyd’s first year as full-time YouTubers

Quitting corporate law to become content creators – a look back on Em and Lloyd’s first year as full-time YouTubers
Source: Em and Lloyd

For professionals in the law industry or law students on their way into the field, Em and Lloyd’s YouTube channel is a haven of answers. Peeling back the curtains, they offer an insider look into the life of a lawyer with their popular “Week in my Life” series and other videos covering their decision to ultimately quit their jobs for more creative pursuits.

Em and Lloyd are two former corporate lawyers based in Hong Kong who uploaded their first YouTube video just over a year ago. Since then, they have amassed almost 30,000 YouTube subscribers and made around 30 videos offering a look into practicing law, maximizing productivity and working toward a healthy work-life balance.

Although they started their YouTube channel while working as full-time corporate lawyers, they have both since quit their jobs to be full-time YouTubers instead.

“So we kind of saw it as a way to, I guess, increase transparency in the industry, to talk candidly about things that we were up to, while at the same time trying to make content that could benefit people that were already working as lawyers who maybe didn’t have the lifestyle stuff figured out – because we spend a lot of our time trying to figure that out for ourselves,” Lloyd says of their motivation for starting their channel.

TMS sat down with Em and Lloyd to chat about everything that’s changed after leaving law and the perspective they have gained since moving into content creation full-time.

Dissatisfaction as the starting point

To leave or not to leave the law industry? When was the good time to make the move? These questions had been bubbling for years, and the answers took years to come to fruition. Both Em and Lloyd had deliberated for many years before finally deciding to quit once and for all.

The two speak of a desire to do something more. Understandably in any job one embarks on, there’s a search for purpose and progression. An August 2022 report by Randstad points out that 45% of Hong Kongers surveyed would rather be unemployed than unhappy in their work.

Lloyd recalls being frustrated due to feeling like he wasn’t really growing in his career.

“I felt like it was even more stagnant in the sense that I was doing the sort of same things over and over, and I had already gotten to the point where I was running my own transactions as long as they were sort of like not these massive ones that required a lot of lawyers,” says Lloyd. “So I kind of felt like the rate at which I was growing was also slowing down.”

On the other hand, Em had harbored doubt since her law school days. “I’m growing, but then I think it was just a gut feeling that I couldn’t shake that it was not the right decision,” she remembers.

While she found the profession challenging, she ultimately came to embrace her intuition after methodical preparation. “I do think that, having known a number of lawyers who are not necessarily satisfied with a career, that it’s definitely not unique,” Em says. “But then I think it’s whether or not you acknowledge it and do something about it, or if you sort of leave it there.”

Yet, their experience working in law deserves some credit for the transferable skills they picked up and the hand it had in directing their life path.

“I think that if we had not gone through sort of our more traditional career path, then I wouldn’t necessarily know the difference. I wouldn’t know that ‘Oh, doing this doesn’t actually make me happy,'” Em says of the experience. “So even if it’s making other people happy or it looks good to other people, it’s very hard for me to go to bed every night feeling that way, feeling unsatisfied. So I think that’s definitely the starting point.”

As one can imagine, working at a corporate law firm differs drastically from working for yourself. For one, there’s not necessarily a fixed work schedule and no specific ‘goalpost’ to aim for.

Em and Lloyd’s initial goal was to overcome the seemingly most difficult task to hurdle – getting monetized. But, now that they are well past that stage, they are focused more on polishing their skills. Gradually they are improving the quality of their work by watching YouTube tutorials and getting inspiration from fellow YouTubers, a process both of them enjoy.

Prioritizing meaning and fulfillment

If the law could not satiate their appetite for meaning, then what could? A reorganized list of priorities quietly rumbled as their dissatisfaction with their traditional paths grew. For one of them, finding meaning took precedence; for the other, it was time to go back to their teenage passions.

Regardless of the type of law they’re working in, lawyers arguably have a great social impact in the world. Yet, knowing they have an impact is different from feeling it. With Lloyd’s practice in mergers and acquisitions, he says that a human element was missing.

“For me, it’s been more of a skew towards finding meaning and, again, finding a way to have an impact on other people … I think depending on what type of law you practice, there can lack that human element at times,” he says. “And sometimes, you know, you get that in a really, really big way, and I think you’re able to help people very directly and stuff. But I think there are other, more corporate settings where it does sort of feel like you’re just doing deals and doing transactions and there’s a little bit less of the human element. So I do feel like whatever I’m doing, I want there to be that human element in it as well.”

The comments section of their YouTube videos is where you can acutely find that direct human impact. Underneath every video, one scroll reveals a stream of compliments toward the effort dedicated to creating the video and the inspiration they’ve given their audience.

Lloyd says that they read every single comment.

“You know, I think it’s always those types of things that give the best kind of validation that what we’re doing is helpful to people,” says Lloyd. “Because it’s one thing for us to look at it and be like ‘Yeah, there’s a gap in this market. Maybe we can do these things to try to help people.’ It’s another thing when people say that we’ve helped them in exactly the way that we want to, and I think that’s really rewarding.”

“We always have something in mind for each video like exactly what kind of things we want to help people with or educate people on,” Em adds. “So I think when we get comments which are saying that they found that helpful or educated them in that way that we intended, that’s, I think, when we feel like ‘OK, I feel like we’re doing the right thing.'”

To Em, content creation is a source of joy. At around 16, she started a Blogspot for personal style and felt inspired by photography, writing and self-learning Photoshop skills. Alas, the hobby had dwindled over the years as work picked up in her law career.

“I think I just felt so inspired and invigorated when I was doing that, and it was just for fun,” she recalls. “And then that sort of petered out as I was a few years into law school and I had to find a job. But I never forgot that feeling of creating. So that’s something when I revisited I was like ‘OK, I’m sort of looking for something that makes me feel that way again,'” Em recounts about dabbling in content creation.

The drawing board was not where they returned. Instead, it was in answering feelings they missed that they found the solution.

Looking to each other for ideas and support

Source: Em and Lloyd

When they were both lawyers, Em and Lloyd recall a rare instance when they were on opposite sides of a case. Lloyd laughs over how he had to disclose their romantic relationship as a potential conflict of interest and was removed from the case in the end. But no feelings were hurt in the process.

Now that they have a joint YouTube channel, detaching from one another is not an option. For Em and Lloyd, however, that’s not a problem at all. In fact, they’ve been a great support system for each other in what could otherwise be an ironically lonesome job.

“I can imagine if it’s just you and a camera all the time and you’re editing and just putting things online, yeah it can actually get quite lonely,” Em says.

Especially since content creators at their level are rare in Hong Kong, they’ve found bouncing content and editing ideas off of each other to be a great benefit of working as a team. At the same time, it’s strengthened their understanding of each other because of the new challenges they’ve had to face and overcome.

“We’ve learned a lot more about each other,” Lloyd says. “And I think by overcoming the inevitable difficulty that you have working with your significant other, you kind of progress your relationship to the next stage. I think almost where you have this new level of communication that’s very open, very transparent and sort of understanding, I guess,” he says, looking over to Em.

“I think there’s just a lot of issues that we wouldn’t have dealt with if we didn’t start working together,” Em adds. “So I think that it’s made us have to actually talk about that, or it’s something that we just had to deal with because it’s just something that wouldn’t have otherwise come up. I think it’s good. I think overall, it has actually made us closer, and I think just understand each other, both the good and the bad, more.”

As of now, their channel remains their first priority, and they are both dedicated to growing the channel together. But, as things progress, developing their own individual verticals may be something for their audience to look forward to in the future.

“We have things that are sort of off camera that we were working on both in terms of stuff from the channel but also in terms of stuff in our personal lives,” says Lloyd. “So you know, we’ll announce those as and when they come up. But there are definitely things that are moving. And there’s other stuff that we’re doing aside from YouTube as well. But this will all be revealed over time, I think.”