Ex-Lawyer Can't Let Go of LEGOs, So He Builds New Career

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 28, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Nathan Sawaya.

Sawaya, 38, once earned a six-figure salary as a corporate lawyer in New York City. Now, he spends six figures each month on LEGOs, which he turns into life-sized works of art.

No one "has done more to advance the concept of LEGO as its own artistic medium" than Sawaya, the co-authors of The Cult of LEGO told New Jersey's Star-Ledger. It's a far cry from Sawaya's former legal career.

Lawyer-turned-LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya, born in Washington State and raised in Oregon, earned his law degree from New York University. After he landed a corporate legal job, he entered a LEGO "master model builder" contest -- and won.

"This is a dream of a lifetime, and it's happened. I'm so ready to build," Sawaya told Wired magazine after winning the LEGO contest in 2004. He soon gave up his law practice to focus full-time on a freelance sculpture career.

Since Sawaya's big career move, he's received national acclaim for his LEGO artwork. One of his first commissioned sculptures, depicting the Major League Baseball logo in LEGOs, is a fixture at MLB's corporate headquarters. Another LEGO replica, of the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising sculpture, is proudly featured at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Sawaya's fame has also been showcased on television, like this 2007 interview on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report":

Nathan Sawaya's LEGO art can currently be seen at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland. For future exhibitions, check out Sawaya's website, below.

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.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard