Divya Mirlay's Transcontinental Voyage from Corporate Law to Copywriting
Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Divya Mirlay, who leapt from corporate lawyer in India to copywriter (and podcast host!) in Berlin. Step by step, she describes how it happened.
What were you before?
I was an associate at a law firm in Bangalore. I practiced corporate law, mostly working on private equity deals.
What triggered your reinvention(s)?
During one of my internships, I met a lawyer who was a seasoned professional and an absolute powerhouse. When I asked him how he got so good, he simply said that he liked it. Sure, it was a lot of hard work, but he liked it. That marked the beginning of my realization that law wasn't the right career for me. Bottom line, I didn't like it.
What did the first steps look like?
I reached out to a relative of mine who was a copywriter/ACD and shared a few of my blog samples. He saw potential in my work and encouraged me to apply for an internship. I then met with a CD at Brave New World, an integrated agency in Bangalore. We had a nice chat and it felt like a good place to grow. Soon after, I began working as an intern. I went on to work there for a year and a half, where I met some of the most talented and driven creatives I know.
What was one hard obstacle to overcome?
Mentality. I was paid well as a lawyer and had just started to molt out of the intern avatar. Now, all that disappeared and I had to start from scratch. At the same time, I was lucky and privileged to have my parents' support—emotionally and financially. Ram and Jyo will always be my MVPs.
What was easier than you thought?
The actual shift from being a lawyer to a copywriter wasn't that difficult. Law forced me to think logically and develop a good work ethic. Those skills made the transition easier.
What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?
Whatever career you pick, it helps to identify solid mentors and reliable friends in the industry. Lean on them, learn from them, try not to steal their coffee.
Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?
I like Ali Wong's book Dear Girls. Even though it has nothing to do with career changes, it's a treasure trove for people trying to work on their career goals.
What has this fundamentally changed for you?
Not having a solid plan. I liked having a very predictable life. The pandemic and job changes changed it.
Do you think you could go back/do you want to?
Tell us your reinvention song.
"Backstreet Freestyle," Kendrick Lamar.
How would you define yourself now?
I'm a copy/conceptor intern in Berlin, doing a portfolio program at Miami Ad School. I also host a podcast, Please Turn Over, where I interview creatives who've similarly switched from different careers.