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Courage to Change

Courage, Community and the Arena Floor

On April 23 of 1910 Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech entitled “Citizenship in a Republic.”  This came to be known as the man in the arena speech.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms… And if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

Over 100 year later, on September 11, 2012, Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly was published.  In this New York Times bestseller, the author quote’s the man in the arena speech, and discusses vulnerability, shame, failure, courage and guts.

This resonates with me, as many times in my life I have literally and figuratively been marred by dust and sweat on the arena floor.

Neil and I admire and respect the law as a framework and a guardian for a civil society.  Graduating from law school is a massive accomplishment.  The practice of law is admirable. With that said, it simply is not for everyone. And that is OK!

It took courage to get into the arena and it takes courage, bravery and keen sense of self to make a change.

The ex judicata community is here to support and guide you in your time of exploration and beyond.

We are not in the cheap seats; we are on the arena floor with you.

We are ex judicata, we are here to help!


Kyle Marie Crognale is a friend of ex judicata who started a successful crowdfunding platform, Parichute, that matches celebrities and influencers with vetted charities (  To get there was difficult, as it required Kyle to abandon a career she had dreamed about, and succeeded in, because it turned out to not fit her personality and evolving career aspirations.

How one tv news star overcame a question more and more attorneys are facing.  Can I leave the practice of law and change course completely?

It’s not easy pivoting and telling family and friends who supported you that you are going in a completely new career direction.  Her story should be inspirational to any JD who is struggling with the idea of leaving the practice of law.  Making a change.  In her own words:

“I’m one of the few who knew exactly what they wanted to do professionally from the time they were in Middle School.  I was in eighth grade, and I knew I wanted to be a television news anchor, and from that point on, I set out to achieve my dream.  I grew up across the street from the female face of my local television station, and I was just in absolute awe of everything about her.

She was beautiful, of course, but so poised, so put together and so involved in the community. And of course, you know, there was a little layer of local celebrity that was intriguing to my middle school pre-teen self.  But from that moment on, I set out to be the best and to achieve that dream of becoming a television news anchor.

In High School, I was involved in our school print media production.  I went to my college of choice, Kent State University where I was very involved in the student led media room. 

By the time I was done with my four years at Kent, I landed my dream job as a morning news anchor right out of college. So, I was able to skip a few steps of being a reporter, being in the field every day, cranking out packages. I got to be behind the desk talking about the things that mattered most, and that was really my dream.

And after about a year and a half or so of fulfilling that dream, I think it was like the shiny toy aspect of it started to wear off and I realized like, okay, this is my every day. I was working from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. so brutal hours.  You need a lot of motivation to get up at that time and work those hours and go to bed at 4 p.m.

I always believed that being a news anchor or being in the news would allow me to be essentially a pillar of communication in my community, working with people, telling their stories, meeting every walk of life that lived in my town and beyond, covering national news stories, just everything that happens in a day. And I really thought that I could be someone that people could turn to, that they could rely on, that they could trust and just feel like we were all connectedAnd after a while, I just realized that that position behind the news desk, while it did allow me to raise awareness around the causes happening in the community, it did not allow me to do something about it.

I’m on tv talking about all these negative things and not being able to do anything about them.  I started grappling with what if this isn’t for me.  I just spent 10 years+ of my life working to become a tv news anchor.  Now, what do I do?

I remember it was a particularly brutal week of news coverage. There was an awful fire on top of a hill.  I was setting up the camera and the elderly couple that lived in the house were verbally upset with me and tried pushing the camera away. This is a private matter; this is private property’.  I was like ‘this is my job.’  I knew the rules around where I could be and couldn’t be. 

And the wife looked at me as her house is in flames behind us and said, “How does it feel to know that your job is to cover the worst day of someone’s life?”  That’s when it sunk in for me.  That’s exactly what I’d been doing for the last 2 years of my life–covering the worst day of someone’s life. That was a pivotal point for me.  I knew that I had to do something else.  But again what? 

My family and friends had been behind me, cheering me on, applauding the success that I had.  To give that up felt so wrong.  I was terrified to tell my parents. They afforded me the incredible opportunity of a four-year degree.  And to go back and say, I know you just paid for this broadcast journalism degree, but I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ll just never forget having that conversation with them and other people.

But eventually I stopped focusing on the negativity and focused on what my next chapter would be.  I had a long history of philanthropic involvement, whether it was volunteering my time or leading different student involved activities on campus.  I just knew that was where my heart was.

At the same time, I was dating my now husband.  We met when we were much younger, started dating in college, and he had signed his first contract as a professional soccer player for his hometown community in Columbus, Ohio.  I had what I felt at the time was like a tragedy of a career and he was thriving. And with that, he wanted to use his platform as a soccer player, as a homegrown soccer player, specifically to give back to his community.  He had a few different areas of impact, different causes that he was interested in supporting. 

He was not the only one feeling this way.  In his locker room and beyond, a lot of guys and girls who have large social media platforms and a professional desire to help people thinking about how to leverage their fame for good.  But not really knowing how.  With that, we put our heads together and after a year’s worth of conversation came up with Parichute. 

It is a social crowdfunding platform that connects like-minded individuals, especially those with influence and large followings, with nonprofit organizations that we have vetted.  We pair an athlete or other celebrity with a cause he or she is interested in.

100% of the money raised goes to the organizations.  My job is running Parachute. So, it took awhile to get there but I was able to pivot in my career and leverage all I learned in school and my on-air news career.  The years of perfecting my communication skills let me to be able to do what I do effectively.  I love my job.”

Just as Kyle walked away from tv stardom, if your dream was to be an attorney and now you’re not happy give yourself permission to alter the course of your professional life.  You are not a failure if you no longer what to practice law.  Finding that new career is very challenging.  We created ex judicata to provide guidance and support through the process.  But before you can move you have to realize that everything you worked so hard to achieve in law school and practicing law has provided a terrific foundation for your next act.  Whatever it might be.

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