We started our own family law firm this week. Once you get over the fact that no one is going to hand you a paycheck at the end of the week and stop panicking, you settle in to doing work that you are used to doing. For us, it is practicing family law.
My husband and I graduated from law school one year apart and have never practiced together until now. This year, we had an epiphany. Most of our work complaints had to do with other people being in control — of our financial situation, our workload and our calendar. With two kids in middle school, these factors, which we did not have control over, impacted our lives in so many ways, from our day-to-day schedule, our vacation planning and our long-term goals. For me, it also impacted the type of work I had and how I was expected to do it.
Although I have been a litigator for the majority of my legal career, my epiphany included that I wanted to change my legal practice to collaborative law, or handling legal matters for clients outside of court. Hunt will continue to be a fierce litigator but I don’t want to identify myself in this way going forward. Perhaps my philanthropy through The Lunch Project, teaching law students, or being a mom has made me “soft” as some people may see this; whereas in reality I think these aspects of my life just opened me up to different skill sets and a different approach to problem-solving.
The way I see it – if you find that your strengths are different than the traditional methods of your practice, then adopt a non-traditional approach to your practice. I believe using your strengths will make for a more successful practice and will make you a happier person. It will also make you more authentic. I am able to change my approach in part because my husband’s strengths are different from but compliment mine. The hope is that this will make for a happy marriage in our law practice similar to what we have experienced in our actual marriage. Time will tell, but we are definitely open to the possibilities our epiphany and hard work may bring.