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Lawyer leaves career to become cemetery historian

Mary Hanan and Joanna Weinstein
Friday, 10 Jan 2014 | 12:06 PM ET
Lawyer digs up new job at a graveyard
Friday, 10 Jan 2014 | 12:00 AM ET
Criminal defense lawyer Jeff Richman visited Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn in 1986 and soon began giving tours of the remarkable spot. More than two decades later, he became the second full-time historian in its history.

For more than three decades, Jeff Richman represented people who couldn't afford a lawyer.

"I've always been a fan of the underdog," he told CNBC.

Although Richman enjoyed the work of being a criminal defense attorney, he grew tired of the stress, so in 2007, he became the historian of Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he specializes in tourism.

Tours of the cemetery grounds, as well as the catacombs and mausoleums, are big business. Green-Wood, a National Historic Landmark, attracts about a quarter of a million people annually, and TripAdvisor rates it as one of Brooklyn's top 10 attractions.

That's a positive turn, as the cemetery is running out of its primary product: burial sites.

Read more about Richman's transformation from lawyer to graveyard guide below, part of CNBC's "Escaping the Cube."

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