Ex-Lawyer Elevates Art of Note-Taking to New, Creative Career

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 12, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Corwin Levi.

Like many law students, Corwin Levi took meticulous notes by hand while attending the University of Virginia School of Law. But the complex doodles he sketched in the margins set Levi's notes apart -- and opened the door to a new career in visual arts.

After about four years at a BigLaw firm, Levi left his full-time legal job and turned his law-school notes into a traveling art exhibit. A gallery near the UVA campus debuted his works in a show called "Marks and Remarks" in September 2010, according to a blog called The Ex-Lawyers Club. And it didn't stop there.

Other art galleries in Virginia and North Carolina got wind of the ex-lawyer's talents, and hosted similar exhibitions of Corwin Levi's scholarly and artistic notes.

"I would write the notes as the professor was talking, and as I was writing the notes I would also fill up the margins of the page with pictures," Levi explained to the University of Virginia's alumni magazine in a video interview.

"Both activities, writing and drawing, were ways to focus my attention so that I remembered what the professor said," Levi continued. You can watch the rest of Levi's interview here:

Despite fears that law school would leave no room for his creativity, Corwin Levi found the opposite to be true. Even now, free of law-school encumbrances, legal issues still show up in his artwork.

"The law and that way of thinking has become an intrinsic part of who I am, so I still think in those terms," he told The Ex-Lawyers Club.

As for leaving his BigLaw career, there are no objections from ex-lawyer Corwin Levi, who earned a Master of Fine Arts before he earned his J.D. His latest art exhibits feature new illustrations and 3D designs, and are being showcased this month at two galleries in New Mexico.

Curious about other ways to use your JD, or how ex-lawyers have found success in other fields? Check back here for more ex-lawyer profiles and success stories. And if you have suggestions for our Ex-Lawyer of the Week series, let us know by posting your tip on our FindLaw for Legal Professionals Facebook page.

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