Why did you go to law school? My father is a lawyer, and I was always interested in what he did. I enjoyed school, and thought law school would be a great challenge. It was indeed a challenge, and also one of the best times of my life!
I didn’t actually practice—I had my first baby during my third year of law school (I don’t really recommend that) which changed my thoughts about a career. My husband was a year behind me at J. Reuben Clark Law School, so to get him through I worked as a law clerk at Kirton, McConkie in Salt Lake City. We moved to California, took the California Bar together, and then he went to work in a law firm and I went to work as a full time mom.
How many children do you have? I have five children and two grandchildren (with 2 more currently on the way!).
What made you desire to return to practicing? I had always hoped to practice, but felt pretty inundated with motherhood for many years (20+!). With my youngest child entering middle school, I suddenly had a large block of time during the day to dream about being a real lawyer. The downturn in the economy helped me to actively pursue returning to the workforce.
What type of law are you now practicing? I work on a part time basis doing estate planning, asset protection and business law.
What have been some expected and unexpected obstacles in returning to practice? I had a very long time without any legal thoughts running through my brain—it was difficult to reboot. At first I wasn’t at all sure where to even start. It really was a process of taking a step at a time into the dark before I figured out what I wanted to do. Luckily, I was able to find a situation that was perfect for me, both with my desire to balance work with family life, and also my areas of interest. One unexpected obstacle was that I discovered that I had gotten “mature” (old!) somewhere along the way, and that I didn’t really fit in as a late 40 something newbie. People certainly expected that I knew a lot more than I did. I was also surprised that the age of technology had left me in the dust—I completely missed the fax age while I was at home—came and went! Online legal research was something I had not been exposed to as LexisNexis and Westlaw were just becoming widely used when I left law school. I still sort of miss those dusty old case books!
What suggestions would you give in returning to practice? I would have had a much easier transition back if I had stayed abreast of the law through my decades at home. I felt like I couldn’t do both motherhood and be a lawyer, but I certainly could have done more than I did. It wouldn’t have been such a huge learning curve when I went to work. I thought the day would never come when I wasn’t buried in children, but it did—and faster than I would ever have imagined.
What are the things you enjoy most about practicing? I enjoy the people I meet, the chance to be part of the legal community (especially the JRCLS!!), and feeling like I’m stretching as a person and as a lawyer all the time.
Anything else you'd like to add and then share a little bit about your family/personal life. I feel really blessed to have been able to have the education I did, and now to be able to put it to good use; for assisting others and also for the sustaining of my family. I always recommend law school to young women I meet because it has opened so many doors in my life, both when I was a stay at home mom, and now that I am working.
(We want to regularly use this blog to highlight you: women of faith who have been trained in the law. You are doing great things--in the courtroom, in your community and in your home. Getting to know each other better will strengthen each of us individually as well as strengthen us as a whole. If you know anyone you think we should highlight, please let us know at email@example.com.)