Can a Lawyer also be a Stay at Home Mom?

Flowers on desk

Are you currently working as an attorney but would like more of a work life balance?  Did you take a break from your law career to take care of children and wonder how to get back into the workforce?   As two moms who were also attorneys, we faced similar challenges.  So we created our own mobile law practice so we could tailor our practice for a better work-life balance.

Catherine’s Story:

I had a great position as General Counsel for a finance company. But I decided to resign when I had my first child. My friends and co-workers teased me that I would not be able to handle being a “SAHM”. I was worried myself since I loved the law and loved what I did.   But as I handled the first rough months of living with a newborn, I realized I really enjoyed being so present and involved in my daughter’s life. A few years later, we had our son and I still wanted to go to all the play-dates, daytime school events, and be there for my children.

As my children were getting older, I had toyed with the idea of going back to work but couldn’t reconcile it with my desire to be a full-time mom. Was there a position for a part-time lawyer?

Meeting Kelly:

I met Kelly through our local MOM’s club. She was an attorney too. At the time, Kelly was working part-time for a law firm. I asked her how she did it? Balancing a legal career and family life? And she honestly said that she didn’t! The sad reality is that working “part time” at a law firm is really “full time” in any other profession. Like me, she was looking for an alternative to be able to practice law but still have control over the amount of time she could put in at the office and be available for her children.

We also had common life experiences. My father had a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease and Kelly’s father died from an aggressive cancer. From personal experience we understood how important estate planning could be to help families. However, this was out of reach for some since most Estate Planning law firms focused their practice on high net-worth clients. We thought it was important to base our practice on reaching the underserved or overlooked clients such as families with young children. They were most concerned with guardianship of their children rather than saving on estate taxes.

Making it Work:

So we decided to start our own estate planning and business planning practice. We also wanted to work as we called it “from drop-off to pick-up”, meaning we would schedule our meetings when our children were in school but would be available for them after school.

Our primary concern was not to take on too much overhead. So we set up a “Mobile Law Practice.” We would visit our clients at their homes or offices to help them with their estate planning needs. Drafting documents from our home offices eliminated the need to take on the major expense of office space.

We discovered that we could embrace the latest technology and computer programs to help manage our law practice. We also were pleasantly surprised of how many clients appreciated our business model. Our clients loved that we made “house calls.” They realized that the fancier office, the higher fees they might have to pay.

In dealing with busy entrepreneurs, we found that they appreciated us meeting them at their place of business. They also preferred communicating through email, fax and phone.

Spreading the word:

As our business took off and we realized that we were on to something. Many attorneys that we met loved our “Mobile Law Office” concept and wanted to know how they could do it. Our clients were happy with our personalized service and they recommended us to others. And most importantly, we could work the hours we wanted to and have more control over our life.

Kelly and I enjoyed our law practice. Especially the freedom and flexibility to be available for our children. We wanted to spread the word to other attorneys (especially stay at home moms) that the practice of law is not an “all or nothing” proposition when it comes to balancing a family life.  If you have a law degree, there are many opportunities that would fit into the life you want.

LawOfficeBook2We have used our experiences to write Law Office on a Laptop, Second Edition:How to Set Up Your Own Successful Mobile Law Office. 

We also have started www.GoSoloForSuccess.com to provide advice and support for solo practitioners and entrepreneurs.

 

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