(Ginny Isaacson is the JRCLS vice-chair of the Conference and Events Committee.)
I wanted to go to law school in the fifth-grade. My dad was a lawyer and I announced at the dinner table one night that I was thinking about being a lawyer as well. My dad was a general practice litigator and seeing his trial schedule made me realize that a different practice area would be a better fit for me. Long ago, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the government sector. Since that long ago decision to go to law school, I truly have felt God's hand at every stage in my life.
I met my husband, Tom, during law school at BYU and we got married after graduation in May 1997, right before we took the Utah bar. While Tom finished up a clerkship in Salt Lake City, we applied for jobs in Washington, D.C. (where I am from) and in Utah. We both ended up getting offers in D.C., he at a big firm, while I was offered a clerkship at the Senate Judiciary Committee. During my six-month clerkship, I was assigned to the intellectual property unit. After my few months there, I knew I didn't want to have a career on Capitol Hill.
A colleague told me that the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) was hiring trademark attorneys and I applied. The wheels of federal government bureaucracy grind slowly and it was six months before I heard from the Trademark Office. I temped at a big firm before I got an offer to work at the PTO. I had found my home. I loved the people, the work, the law and the office. I worked full-time for four years and then had twin boys in June 2002. I took six months off and started back on a part-time schedule working two days a week. I found a wonderful nanny for my boys.
My first day back at work, I told my husband that I felt like I was on vacation. I worked part-time for five more years until I had my third son in July 2007. At this point, my nanny decided she was done and I couldn't find anyone else that I was comfortable with to stay home with my son. I made the decision to leave my job and stay home. I was fortunate that my husband had a great job and I could make that choice. I still miss my job. Even though it was a difficult decision, I believe it was the right one for my family at that time.
Before I left the Trademark Office, I felt very strongly that I needed to sit for the Maryland bar. That was the last thing I wanted to do with a nursing baby. However, when I filled out the paperwork, I realized how much more difficult it would have been for me to sit for the attorney's exam had I not been employed at the time. I passed the bar and I occasionally help my husband with trademark matters at his office.
Now that my youngest is in Kindergarten, I always thought that I would go back to the Trademark Office. However, my twins are ten and I realize that I only have eight more years with them before they leave home. I can be patient and make this season of my life about them.
Dean Rasband at BYU Law School has often said that he believes a law degree is also a leadership degree. I feel like that has been true in my life. I was the president of our local Parents of Multiples club, served as the chapter chair of the DC JRCLS chapter, I volunteer at the school, chair the cub scout committee and chaired the 2013 JRCLS Annual Conference in Washington, DC in addition to all the various church leadership callings through the years. I am making an effort to get involved in the community. My dad drags me to our very small local bar meetings, where I am such an oddity--a stay-at-home lawyer who practiced trademark law with no immediate desire to return to work. Even though I am not formally working, these activities make me feel that I am involved and continuing to progress.
I am not sure if I will ever practice law again, but I know that I will be inspired to go and serve or work where I am really needed. I know that I am fortunate to have that luxury to choose. Early on in our careers in Washington, D.C., we started attending JRCLS meetings and events and became active in the DC chapter. Being a part of the law society has been a blessing during my entire career and especially during this time that I have been at home full-time. I can associate with the law in a way that fits with my time and schedule. The law society helps me feel connected even though I am not working.
It is still hard to know what to say when people ask, "Where do you work?" when they find out I am an attorney. I long to say a firm or the agency where I worked. I wish I had a better answer. Sherri Dew said in a recent fireside that women should say when asked that question, "I am shepherding my children to exaltation." I am not sure I can say that because I know that all mothers and fathers have that same goal, whether they work or stay at home. However, I remind myself that God has a plan for me and I know it is an amazing plan. I turn 39 years old in a couple of weeks. I just have to be patient and let each season of my life unfold as it is supposed to and enjoy the journey along the way.