An attorney’s secret to success is attributed to what he or she excels at. Remember being back in your hometown during college breaks? Friends and family probably asked what you were studying and what you wanted to do after graduation. Most people’s experience boils down to one of two conversations.
If you studied fields like science, engineering or business, you probably got nods of approval and comments along the lines of “your parents must be so proud.” For others studying fields with less unilateral career paths, you might have heard “good for you for following your dreams” at best and “why are you spending thousands of dollars on that” at worst.
An attorney’s secret to success: follow your dreams
Some art majors become the next Picassos, and some theatre majors make it to Broadway. Many others, however, end up in careers not directly related to their fields of study but succeed in those fields because of the unique point of view their backgrounds bring to the table. Seattle Divorce Services attorney Nathan Cliber attributes his success as an attorney just as much to his background in theatre as his time in law school.
“If I’m being completely honest, my theatre degree has done as much or more than my law degree moving me forward,” he said. “Every single job or internship I’ve ever had, everybody I’ve worked for, they’ve all been interested in hearing about my theatre background.”
He said being able to speak loudly and clearly is one of his biggest transferable skills. His comfort speaking in front of large groups during litigation and ability to clearly articulate the circumstances stems from his years spent acting. Beyond that, he says his time spent stepping into other people’s’ shoes on stage also helps him identify with his clients.
“A theatre education, if done properly, is really about people,” he said. “A good actor is trying to understand how people work. If you want to portray someone on stage or film convincingly, one of the first things they teach in good theatre classes is observation.”
He explained the first steps of his acting education involved watching other people and being able to channel those emotions into his own acting.
“The baseline of that is understanding what motivates people: what they’re doing, what emotions they’re expressing, what anger looks like for that person,” he said. “I think it’s a valuable way of thinking about people regardless of what you do for a living. I try to make my practice about individual people as much as possible, and my theatre background definitely caters to that.”
This approach translates into his day to day interactions with his client. Cliber stresses the importance of treating each of his clients as individuals. He says that in divorce law, many couples face the same challenges. He strives to customize his approach to each client rather than using a one size fits all mentality.
“Realistically, a lot of problems people face during a divorce are similar,” he says. “I really try to figure out who these people are, and focus on what they need as opposed to what we typically do in this situation.”
Though Cliber’s career shifted from theatre to law, his passion for both rings true in his day to day work. He brings his open-mindedness, ability to articulate, and understanding of others into his practice. He addresses each individual case and helps people navigate difficult times to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Whether he’s stepping into someone else’s shoes on stage or using that type of empathy to understand his client’s point of view, Nathan Cliber is one attorney whose time and money was well spent on an education in theatre. An attorney’s secret to success is about passion, experience, and determination — all of which Nathan Cliber possesses.
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