This week on our Legally Speaking Podcast, powered by KC Partners, our host Robert Hanna is joined Angela Han. Angela is obsessed with all things health, she is a healthcare lawyer, personal trainer, wellness coach, and a yoga instructor. Angela also is the Host of the highly popular “Fit to Practice” Podcast! Angela is on a mission which we fully support at the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is to see more lawyers happy & healthy!
Angela is achieving this by helping busy lawyers overcome their physical and mental challenges through wellness training. She found her life’s purpose from her biggest pain point: her own health journey!
[0:00:00.0] Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. Today, I’m delighted to be joined by the amazing Angela Han. A healthcare lawyer, healthcare coach and host of the highly popular Fit to Practice Podcast. Angela is on a mission, which I fully support, which is to see more happy lawyers and healthy lawyers. So, a very big welcome, Angela.
[0:00:24.6] Angela Han: Thanks so much for having me, Rob.
[0:00:26.5] Rob Hanna: With absolute pleasure great to have you on the show. Before we go through all the amazing work that you are doing, we do have a customary ice breaker question on The Legally Speaking Podcast, which we ask all of our guest which is about Suits. So, on the scale of one to ten, ten being very real, how real would you rate the reality of the hit series Suits.
[0:00:50.6] Angela Han: I only watched a few seasons of it and it was a while ago, but I think on a scale of one to ten, maybe six or seven.
[0:01:05.4] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I think that’s a fair kind of analogy. I don’t think it- it started off bizarrely in our first season. Some people gave it a 10 but I think they were saying it was more based on the humour side of it, but I think in terms of actual lawyering it falls a little bit short. So, listen there’s so many things we need to get through but let’s start at the beginning. Tell our listeners a bit about you and your family background and upbringing.
[0:01:31.0] Angela Han: My family background. Okay, wow! That’s the first that’s I’ve been asked that in a podcast and I actually I love that question because the family is kind of your origin, right? And so, with the fact that you talk about family, I think it reveals a lot about a person. I was born in Los Angeles but I grew up in South Korea and I came here on my own for college in 2008. For those of you who are trying to calculate my age, that’s okay. Anyway, so I came here for college about 12 years ago and then that was pretty much it. You know, I was – apart from my family, over the past 12 years, we’ve been all split across the globe and I maybe over the past 12 years went to visit Korea, where I’m from. Maybe once or twice a year, not so much anymore, now that I am out of school and most recently during my maternity leave, my mom was here to support me and that was a great experience.
[0:02:30.3] Rob Hanna: Lovely, I love that. So, I guess moving on to the legal profession, did you always want to go into the legal sector?
[0:02:38.9] Angela Han: Maybe, I don’t know because I was actually a teacher right after college and I loved it. It was an eye-opening moment for me because I was part of a community that I was just never part of and the culture was different. I mean, I think in any community that you go to that is not your home community, you just learn so much about their culture and their values and their experiences. And the fact that I was able to kind of immerse myself into a community I was never part of before really allowed myself to take a look at my own values and re-evaluate and I just absolutely loved that experience getting to know the staff and the students and serving the students and learning my own short comings as a teacher. And also, learning that – not like I was not able to make the kind of impact that I wanted to make because it was limited to the classroom and even though I was really grateful for it, I felt like I wanted to create an impact in some other way and I thought that law school was the answer. That kind of line of thinking is just one part of it, the other reason that I wanted to go to law school. It was just kind of an option that seemed stable, an option that seemed prestigious and coming from at least for me a background where my parents never pressured me to be a certain way, but I think that I identify certainly with the Asian kind of culture where you’re expected to be a doctor, lawyer or something. I definitely identify with that. I was part of that kind of culture. I wanted to fit into a specific mould and that was the other reason I wanted to go to law school.
[0:04:19.9] Rob Hanna: Good for you. So, you did tremendously well and then you obviously moved from law school into legal experiences. So, tell our listeners a bit about some of the legal experiences in your legal journey today.
[0:04:32.5] Angela Han: I actually didn’t do very well in law school. I was not like the top 50% or anything like that. So, I struggled a lot, I struggled a lot to find a job and I struggled to find a big law job. Everybody else was at big law and I felt like I needed to also fit into that mould and so, I felt like a failure all throughout law school because I didn’t get the summer associate job that I felt like I needed to have. And so, I was grateful for my absolutely first job opportunity as an attorney after law school into education field. I thought that I would be able to resonate with that because I was a teacher before law school, but then I realised that teaching and practicing education law were two very different things and I had a moment where I needed to decide what was I really going to do with my law degree for the rest of my life and I was watching this YouTube video about how to find your passion. And it was saying something about identifying your pain, your biggest pain. That kind of clicked with me because I had an opportunity to reflect on my biggest pain which was my health journey. When I first came here to the States without my family, the culture shock and adjustment and everything was kind of the background for my eating disorder for about seven years and then I recovered in the middle of law school and so, I realised that there were many others who were going through something similar. And so, I decided I’m going to dedicate my everything to health and wellness in healthcare. And so, I searched for months for a job in healthcare and that’s my current job as a corporate counsel at healthcare company, in Baltimore. And then, I’m also a health coach for lawyers as my side hustle.
[0:06:20.5] Rob Hanna: And we’re definitely going to deep dive into a lot of that as well because I think the work you’re doing is truly fantastic and I think, you’ve also been hard on yourself there because I think you’ve done some great, simply from legal [internal-ling] White & Case, I think you were out in South Korea. You had some experience there, you worked with the United States Attorney Office and then the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Please tell our listeners a little bit about those legal experiences as well because they sound fascinating.
[0:06:45.1] Angela Han: Yes, so I was actually at White & Case during the summer right after my three L years, so right after graduation, I was interning there in Korea, in Seoul, South Korea. And I was studying for the bar and during the whole time, over the whole summer, because I was in a state of transition, and I had not still found a fulltime job and our lease was up. And so, we were kind of like nomads, moving from my in-law’s place in Maryland, going over back to South Korea where I was kind of living in my grandparents’ house because my parents’ house, my mom’s house was being renovated. And so, I was studying for the Bar in the mornings and then being at White & Case during business hour and then coming back home to study a little bit more before the Bar Exam. And so, that was certainly an experience. I really appreciated the legal experience that I got from White & Case because it was definitely a demanding environment. Our clients demanded – not demanded like in a mean way – but was expecting us to produce the highest quality work and attorneys that I worked for knew how to do that and was able to mentor me how to do that and so, it was certainly difficult at times to push myself to be better. And to be a better lawyer but I’m just so grateful that I got that experience knowing what it’s like to be an attorney.
[0:08:11.0] Rob Hanna: Brilliant and thanks for sharing that because I think it’s really good for people to get a flavour of what it’s like, particularly in these big sorts of white shoe law firm. So, again before we kind of touch on all the great work that you are doing in addition to the legal world you do day-to-day, what does a typical day look like for a healthcare lawyer? What do you get up to?
[0:08:29.3] Angela Han: I say I’m a healthcare lawyer, but I’m more of a corporate lawyer at a healthcare company. And so, what that means is I handle kind of the corporate side of things meaning we work closely with the compliance department. The compliance department, they’re the ones really in the manage care, Medicare space and really closely in touch with the law and the recent legal updates and the compliance with those legal updates and what we do in the legal department is we handle contracts, we handle negotiations, we handle MNA matters, we also handle collections issues, HR, things like that, that you would have to deal with at any given company. But I do call myself healthcare lawyer because I am exposed to so many legal issues that are specific to healthcare as we work closely with the compliance department.
[0:09:22.5] Rob Hanna: Brilliant. Well, thanks for that. I think that’s a good comprehensive overview and you summarised it very well because I know there’s a lot of work that goes into that particular role. And you openly talked that moving on about over coming Bulimia, anxiety and depression. So, do you want to tell us more about how you did that?
[0:09:40.5] Angela Han: Well, all those things happened in kind of a different time. So, I was Bulimic first since the beginning of college and then it kind of persisted because I just had this nagging feeling that I – It’s more like a vicious cycle of wanting to indulge myself but also punish myself for indulging myself. So, I think that was what I was doing then and I think that – you know, still to this day unfortunately I can’t really pin point whether there was a turning point or turning moment because I think a lot of people – I don’t know – there is a lot of stories out there about how there is like this breakthrough or a moment, turning point, but for me it was more of a gradual process. And I think one of the accelerators and the catalyst for that change and trying to grow out of the seven years of that viscous cycle of habits in my eating, I had gotten married in the middle of law school and then I realised that I’m not just living on my own anymore. There are other people that I need to consider and the fact that I was hurting myself was doing a disservice to my husband and that was – I knew that that was not going to be good for our relationship and so, I really worked hard to let him help me and work through it with each other and together out of it. And in that process I was able to – I was trying to find some tools and resources and build my own tool box on how to recover and the first thing I did was exercise and that was transformational for me because it help me get physically stronger and I realised that being physically stronger allowed me to become mentally stronger and that’s kind of when the whole, I guess it was a domino effect, wanting to learn more about it so that I can get certified. So, that I can assist other who have been going through the same struggles.
[0:11:36.5] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no, brilliant. And so, then Angela Han Health was born and that does so many things. I want to break that down, who want to help burnt out attorneys who want to feel back on track and less alone when trying to combat that lack of energy time or mental health resources. So, what tips would you give to them specifically or what some of themes that you tend to see and offer to people?
[0:12:01.6] Angela Han: So, I work primarily with lawyers and I try not to really give advice. I try not to give advice because I think that we’re all going through something unique. We all have our own experiences and I am able to teach you how to work out. I will be there for you to workout with you. I will be there to ask you questions so that you find the answers within yourselves because we will always find the answers within our own minds. No matter how many books or podcast or whatever media that we – something external that we consume, the answer will always be within ourselves and those other tools will just help uncover what is within ourselves and I know that’s kind of a little bit like at a spiritual level, but I truly believe that. Because I can tell you, “Oh, find five minutes in the morning to work out.” But what if it doesn’t work out, what if you don’t have five minutes? What do you do then? And so, I think the fundamental thing is to just revisit what really is important to you and then once you realise like working out is important or working on your mental health is important, then you’ll find the time. You’ll find the resources; you’ll find the right information to make it happen.
[0:13:17.1] Rob Hanna: And I just love that about what you’re doing because I see it as you break it down into two very sensible strands and that is one around the personal training and emphasis on that and then obviously the health coaching. So, just on the sort of personal training because you do craft perfect routines and really make them personal to people, just tell us a bit more about that and how you work – people, potentially lawyers who may be listening in who might be interested.
[0:13:41.4] Angela Han: Yeah, so my services are most effective in a group setting and so that’s why I created the Fit to Practice society. I started offering free workouts every Tuesday at 4:30 eastern and we all started building this community together because of the pandemic and this was around maybe April or May that I started doing these workouts and every time we worked out together, we were doing something together, we were accomplishing something for ourselves and for one another. We were showing up for ourselves and for each other and we were committing ourselves to just something larger than ourselves. And so, the community is just growing that way and so, I think when it comes to personal training and working out, we have this misconception that we have to be disciplined, we have to have more motivation, we need to put in more effort. But really people who are most effective at whatever they do, they find the easiest way to do it and then I think the easiest way to do workouts and find a healthier lifestyle is to find other people who are committed to the same thing and it just becomes effortless.
[0:14:50.7] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I love that. Really good advice and I think it’s truly organic then as well. Like you were talking about doing it together. Really, really on board with that. And then moving on to the other piece which I know you do a lot around on the health coaching particularly. You know, I’m a foody as well, alright? So, I’m probably feel quite guilty of this myself but I just love to learn a bit more about how or any tips in terms of like food routine and kind of making sure people are on the right track with that and thing to avoid bad habits. Is there anything you would say around that?
[0:15:20.1] Angela Han: Yeah, I think when it comes to anything that you are struggling with whether it’s food, whether it’s time, money, relationships, exercising, studying, anything else, or your work. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, I think the first thing that needs to be uncovered is your relationship with that thing. And so, when it comes to food, what is your relationship with food and if you think about all of your relationships, every single relationship has a history like if you have a relationship with the parent or friend or a mentor or a boss or anything, it starts with something. It starts with, you have a story behind the relationship and so, with food, what is your food story? What kind of conceptions did you have about food while growing up? Did you have lack of food? And is that why you always have the scarcity mindset when it comes to food? Or did you have too much food or did you have just the right amount of food? Or were there people who kept telling you, “Why are you eating so much?” Or were there people who kept pointing out about the amount of food that you ate and so I think when you take the time to uncover and discover the history of your relationship with food, you’ll be able to notice where it kind of went wrong, where it kind of went in the direction that you didn’t really want it to. And once you’re able to pinpoint and troubleshoot those turning points, then you’re able to kind of undo that and say, “You know what, like I’m able to address that issue. I don’t care about the opinion of that person. I think I’m able to create my own opinions for myself and transform my relationship with food.”
[0:17:13.0] Rob Hanna: Brilliant. Again, I’m just loving that. I think that’s really, really good insights there. So, thanks so much once again, Angela. And then, I guess one of the other things we should talk about, which I’m a big fan of as well is your Fit to Practice Podcast. You’ve had some amazing guest on there since you’ve been going, but for those perhaps new to the Fit to Practice Podcast, do you want to tell us more about it?
[0:17:34.8] Angela Han: Sure, it was actually not my idea. I didn’t know – like over a year ago, I was talking to who is now my podcast editor, I don’t know what to do to reach my audience and serve my audience. Where do I post? How do I post things like that? And he said, “Start a podcast.” And I told him, “I’ll think about it.” Because I don’t really know what that involves, I don’t know. I don’t know and he just kept pushing me. He’s like, “Just start it. Start it, I’ll help you build this. I’ll help you do it.” And I just kind of got started. I reached out to a Facebook group of attorneys. I asked them if anybody wants to be in my brand spanking new podcast and a bunch of people shared their stories and I was just so inspired by their journeys and being so vulnerable about their own health journey. And it made me realised that I was not definitely not the only one who had my own health struggles and then I was just kind of able to build a community from there too and so, every week I interview an attorney or anybody who is able to advice lawyers on their health about their mental, physical and professional health. And so, it’s very broad, it’s very general. And I think rightfully so because everything that we do, I think always ends up influencing our health somehow.
[0:19:01.1] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and I would really encourage, particularly some of our listeners, to check it out because it has been truly amazing some of the guest that you’ve had on, just in terms of the shared brutal honesty and I think the authentic nature of what’s been shared has been really, really great. I mean, from your mind, has there been anything that you’ve kind of seen from doing the podcast that’s kind of a recurring theme. I appreciate everyone is unique but is there any themes that you’ve seen that you maybe would share with our listeners?
[0:19:26.2] Angela Han: Yeah, I always this question ‘What does it mean to be fit to practice?’ at the end of the podcast, and the reason I ask that question is, I don’t know what it’s like in any other country, but in the U.S. we have a character and fitness part of the bar exam where we put in our history for like the past ten years or whatever. And then, all of our references test to our character and fitness to practice the law and so we have to pass the bar in order to be fit to practice law. And so, it’s kind of like a play on words like a pun because it’s fitness to practice a law and also, physical and mental fitness. And so, when I ask this question, not a single attorney has said that you need to know the letter of law, you need to have a high score in the Bar Exam, you have to have gone to a great school, you have to have had a good grade. Not a single attorney that I have interviewed so far, which is I guess almost like 70-80 attorneys now, have said that. And so, I think that really goes to show that being a lawyer, contrary to popular belief, is not about being smarter, more intelligent or more efficient or more disciplined than anybody else. It’s about truly being healthy in the mind and then body so you can show up and serve others the way you want to.
[0:20:48.4] Rob Hanna: Yeah, brilliant. And thanks so much for that Angela. Again, I think that’s just some real authentic undertones there that people can really take heat off because I think people put such stress on themselves about need to be the best than the other but unless you are kind of in the right space then you can’t show up every day like you’re saying. And I think you are a great advocate of practicing what you preach. So, I guess what a lot of our listeners would like to know is how do you balance being a corporate job, healthcare lawyer, running Angela Han Health, and doing your podcast? How do you fit it all in? How do you balance it all?
[0:21:19.7] Angela Han: I think most of it really is that I am extremely blessed. I am extremely blessed to have the support system around me and that starts with my family. My family is the most supportive, mainly my husband who really takes my work seriously and supports me in every way that he can and I think also my boss. My boss in my lawyer job. He is also just fantastic and he is flexible and he appreciates me for who I am without – You know, because I think in the legal field there is still a lot of stigma to mental health and with my boss, I’m able to just be open with what I’m going through and my passions and my interests. And he fully supports me and we always have conversations about each of our interests and passions and we give each other space and time and the energy to really talk about it. And it just lights both of us up and really improves our relationship and maintains our awesome relationship. And so, he really pushes the human being in me first and so, as long as I get the work done, he really doesn’t micro-manage me or anything like that and so, I just feel more empowered and he also listens to my podcast even though I tell him. I’m like, “You don’t have to listen to it.” But he is always like telling me like how he enjoyed it and how he enjoyed the latest episode and so, just that support that I get from the people around me, really allows me to make that time and space for myself. And the second part I think is mindset. I think a lot- like I’ve never been a fan of saying, “I’m busy.” Or, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t do that” or “I don’t’ have enough time.” I don’t think that that is the right mindset, at least for me, because if I am always constantly thinking I don’t have time, what am I doing with the time I have right now? I’m using the present moment to talk about how much I don’t have time and all the while the current time that I have at this very moment is just passing away. And so, I think in my opinion, at least I was able to create time for myself by changing my mindset about trying to really live in the moment and I appreciate the circumstances that I’m in right now and to leverage those circumstances in my favour by telling myself I have time and this is what I decide to commit to at this very moment.
[0:23:51.8] Rob Hanna: Yeah and again, just really, really great insights there, Angela. What I really liked is I think I saw earlier in the week that you did a lovely post with regards to your boss about just how supportive he has been and that is true today. I mean, obviously a large part of what we do at Kissoon Carr is you know helping people with legal careers, legal moves and it’s time and time again people don’t leave jobs, they leave toxic environment or poor leadership and so, it’s great when you find an environment where you feel comfortable and mental health is encouraged and talked about because I think it only kind of puts in more positive outlet and is a win-win for everyone. So, I really enjoyed listening and hearing you talk through that particularly as I resonated that particular post on LinkedIn.
[0:24:32.0] Angela Han: Yeah, thank you.
[0:24:33.7] Rob Hanna: And just as we got to sort of wrap up Angela, what tips would you give to your younger self. I mean, you had a fabulous career and like you said, it’s not always been straight forward and you’ve had some ups and downs yourself but what tips would you give to your younger self?
[0:24:48.0] Angela Han: I would tell myself that I get to decide whether I have a good life or not. Thank you for telling me that I have a fabulous career, but I didn’t think that when I was first kind of looking for jobs and trying to find my footing in the legal profession. And I was like kind of ashamed of my path because it was just so different from everybody else, but I think that people started telling me that I was having a good career and a good kind of lifestyle only after I decided that was the case for myself. And when I told myself I have a fantastic job, I have a fantastic career, I have a fantastic lifestyle, that affected the way I showed up every day, and then I was able to really convince myself and then that just showed as fact. It just presented as fact to other people. And so, then that was kind of just established not just for myself but the people around me. And when that happens you just attract your tribe and then you connect with the people who shares you values and so, I think we all have so much to offer and you will only be able to offer all of the amazing things that you have to offer when you decide that you have a lot to offer. But until then, it’s going to be extremely difficult. And so, I would tell my earlier self or my younger self that and tell myself there is nothing to be ashamed of. Just show up as yourself and try to learn and grow every single day.
[0:26:26.7] Rob Hanna: Brilliant, really, really well put, Angela. Absolutely love that. So, if people want to, which I’m sure they will after be listening to you on this episode, follow you or get in touch about anything we’ve discussed today, what’s the best platform and way for them to do that? Feel free to shout out your LinkedIn or website link or any relevant social media.
[0:26:45.0] Angela Han: Yeah, I’m most active on the LinkedIn. My name is Angela Han on LinkedIn. If you are a lawyer or someone who serves the legal profession or a law student or anyone related to the law, I’m always going to be doing my Tuesday workouts at 4:30 p.m. eastern unless I become incapacitated or something else happens, so feel free to join us at Angela dash Han dot com slash society. We will welcome you with open arms.
[0:27:14.5] Rob Hanna: Brilliant, well, thanks and absolute brilliant, Angela. It’s been great to finally get you on the show and it’s been a pleasure listening to you and your journey and everything you’ve been through and everything you’ve achieved and wishing you lots of continued success and also congratulations again on your recent new-born, very exciting times and no doubt we’ll see you feature again on the podcast but for now over and out.
[0:27:37.4] Angela Han: Thank you.
[Audio Ends] [0:27:39.5]