Full Time Practice

Monday, May 13, 2013

Meet Ginny Isaacson

(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 WashingtonD.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 WashingtonDC 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 WashingtonD.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. 

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