From Law Student to Profitable Law Business Owner: How Sarah Beth Built Her Dream Career With NLBM

After working in litigation and Big Law as a law student Sarah Beth became disenchanted with the practice of law and went on a search for a better way. When she found NLBM she immediately knew that this was the path for her and she started making plans to launch her Estate Planning practice while still in law school. As soon as she passed the Bar Exam she enrolled in our program and used our training to fund and launch a law practice that was profitable from day one.

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Sarah Beth Locke

Sarah Beth Locke is the founder of Every Step Law Group where she serves clients throughout Tennessee with heart centered Life & Legacy Planning.  She is the proud owner of 2 precious dogs Ella and Kida.

The Search for Career Satisfaction

Sarah Beth knew she wanted to become a lawyer since childhood. While in law school, her vision was to become a litigator so she took coursework and internships to prepare her for that path only to discover it was not for her. 

“ I had known that I would be a lawyer since I was incredibly young and when I went to law school, I had every intention of becoming a litigator. I was a big mock trial competitor throughout undergrad and in law school. However, after receiving my student license and working in the courtroom, I realized court-room life was not for me. I did not feel like there was much justice happening in the court system, and I did not feel like I was truly serving my clients.”

Sarah Beth pivoted away from litigation and tried to pursue a career in Big Law only to feel like she hit another dead end.  

“So, I tried the big law thing… I did some internships with some great firms doing all kinds of civil litigation, but ultimately, I was unhappy there. Despite the paycheck, I did not like how my life would look post-graduation… so I quite literally had an identity crisis and started googling things like ‘How to be Happy as a Lawyer.’ I was so afraid I would end up hating my job and ultimately my life like so many of the attorneys I knew.”

In her quest to find a better career fit Sarah Beth discovered NLBM and right away she knew it was the path for her. 

“By researching ways not to hate my life… I found Ali’s book, “The New Law Business Model.” Once I received it, I read it and then read it at least three more times, and I just knew that this was it. I had found what I wanted to do with my law degree. After a few weeks of talking through it, I made the decision to start my Estate Planning Practice as soon as possible. I was about to enter my third and final year of law school when I had my initial call with an NLBM consultant and we created a plan for how and when I would open my practice.”

NLBM helped Sarah Beth create a plan that she was excited to pursue and she knew that Personal Family Lawyer membership was exactly what she needed to support her on her journey.


Finding & Funding the Right Fit

Sarah Beth knew she wanted to build her own Estate Planning law practice and serve her clients the way NLBM taught but she had no idea how she would fund the venture.

“One of the biggest and most terrifying aspects of launching my practice directly out of law school was determining how I would fund my practice. To put it in perspective, I had never had a consistent job, because I had always been in school, so I did not have any consistent income history.

I was terrified of debt and had never even applied for a credit card. The only debt I had was my student loans. My credit score was in the mid-600s. To say the least, I knew I was not a great candidate for a business loan.”

Sarah Beth used NLBM’s coaching to shift her mindset around money so that she can start seeing the solutions that were available to her.

“Ultimately, I just followed the instructions provided in the NLBM materials to fund my practice. The first thing I did was get my mind right. I had a lot of negative feelings and fear about money that I needed to work through.

So, I looked at what I did have… I had some savings from working in law school and graduation gifts, which totaled about $4,000.

I also had an incredible support system. My partner had been providing for our needs previously and was willing to continue to do so while I launched my practice. By doing this, my immediate financial need for personal expenses was zero. 

By minimizing my personal expenses, I could put everything I had into my business. I was also fortunate enough to have a mother who could give me a loan of $6,000. I went to her under the guidance of Ali and the NLBM training materials.”

In addition to helping Sarah Beth transform her mindset and leverage the resources she already had, NLBM also gave her practical tools and training to successfully secure funding from outside sources. 

“Next, I created a business plan and used the cash flow forecast to determine my initial start-up costs and when I expected to see a profit. I used these documents once I started reaching out to banks for funding.

When I started to seek funding, I targeted local, community banks and credit unions. Initially, I contacted four banks and two business funding companies. The business credit companies said no simply because my credit score was so low, and because I had no real credit history. The banks, either via email or call, said no very quickly because I could not show at least 2 months of income history.

I was disheartened; however, I still had several outstanding bank applications..  

The fifth and final bank that I applied to contacted me a couple of weeks later and asked for a one-on-one meeting. I went in and discussed my business plan and my ultimate goals, then left with no determinative answer.

About a week and a half later, the loan office and senior vice president of that local bank gave me a call and said that although I had no real experience and could not show any income history, he was approving my line of credit request in full, unsecured, and with no cosigner.

I could not believe it. He told me that he recognized it as a risk but that after meeting with me, he could tell how passionate I was about my work and that he thought I would greatly serve our community. 

He said he thought ultimately, I would succeed, so he was willing to take a leap of faith with me and that he was happy to be a part of it. I received my business loan in January and launched [my law practice] on February 1st, 2023.”


Creating Instant Profitability

Joining PFL allowed Sarah Beth to build her law practice into a business that was instantly profitable.

“[Just 3 months after launching] my practice brought in an income of $12,775.00…. and has made a profit every single month since opening.

I personally sent that loan officer a gift basket and thank you card for believing in my dream.

I could not have achieved this funding or launching my practice as a whole without the guidance and support that I received from NLBM, the coaching calls, and all the material provided.”

Sarah Beth achieved her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer in a practice area that suits her even better than she envisioned. With support from NLBM, she’s already built her law practice into a profitable business less than a year after law school graduation and she’s just getting started.

Sarah Beth Locke


“I never would have even considered doing anything like this without the support and community I have found working with NLBM and the PFL community.”


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