Litigation attorney by day, stage actress by night – and that’s just the way Jessica Walker likes it.

During the day, Walker is a litigation associate at the downtown office of Nixon Peabody, specializing in commercial cases. But at night and on weekends, Walker is rehearsing or performing in plays at a community theater in Pasadena. She’s had roles in Agatha Christie’s “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound” (a parody of Christie’s murder mysteries), and Susan Glaspell’s “Suppressed Desires.”

Walker, 31, was very interested in theater as a child.

“I wanted to be the center of attention and acting was the way for me to do this,” she said.

Unlike other aspiring actors, however, Walker acted on the advice of her high school drama coach and decided not to pursue a full-time acting career. When she got to college, she occasionally performed in productions such as William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” but decided to devote most of her energy toward developing a legal career. And she’s kept that approach.

“Acting has helped me develop a stage presence in court,” Walker said. “Also, it’s helped me to think on my feet.”

Walker points to a recent performance of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” where one of the actors got mixed up and jumped ahead a full scene. She had to improvise a line to get the actor back on track.

“That’s a skill that helps in litigation if the other side does something unexpected,”

Walker said.

Comic Connection

Connecting with people is what Eric Doyle helps his marketing clients do. But after work, he’s connecting with people in a much different way: through stand-up comedy.

Doyle, 36, is the principal of Wavesquad, a Santa Monica public relations and content marketing firm. When he’s not busy working with tech and entertainment clients such as Netflix, Temando, and ToutApp, he transforms into Doyle Brand – his stage name – and performs live comedy on stages throughout Los Angeles.

Doyle has been acting for about 20 years and stand-up was a natural extension, he said. He’s been writing and performing stand-up for nearly three years, focusing on observations about being an only child, aging, and relationships. He said he once had to follow Sarah Silverman at the Comedy Store to close out a show – which he admits was intimidating – but ultimately a positive experience.

“The personal appeal to me is the immediacy of being able to express myself,” said Doyle, noting he was trained on the technique of joke writing and performing by comedy coaches Steve North and Jerry Corley. “With stand-up, I’m writing, producing, performing, and directing all at the same time.”

That kind of creative control and expression has served him well back at the office, too.

“When it comes to business presentations and pitches to get new clients, there is a strong connection with a comedian’s ability to grab attention,” he said.

Staff reporters Howard Fine and Kristin Marguerite Doidge contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Jonathan Diamond. He can be reached at jdiamond@labusinessjournal.com.

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