(Provided by Desiree Nordstrom, a WIL Committee member.)
Why did you decide to go to law school?
The study of law appealed to me since my teens, and I thought it would be a secure way to provide for a family if I ever needed to, but I was hesitant to commit to the extended years of schooling and debt. My ultimate desire was to help people, and I initially explored other service oriented vocations, but it was my undergraduate legal courses that really engaged my mind and personality. Fortunately, Heavenly Father opened doors and everything fell into place with perfect timing.
What did you do after law school? My last semester of law school I took an Elder Law course, which was taught by an adjunct professor who had her own law practice and was a JRCLS member. After I took the bar I discovered that the same professor had an open law clerk position, and I was a law clerk at her practice until I got my bar results, and was then hired by her as an attorney.
What are you doing professionally now?
That same professor, turned employer, decided to retire and offered to sell her elder law practice to myself and another associate attorney in the office, which we bought in October 2011. My partner and I both manage the business, but I have a part-time schedule, which I struggle constantly to keep part-time.
What is your favorite part of your current position? Although I love the area of law I practice in, and the co-workers and clients I work with, I have to say my favorite part of my current position is that I control my schedule and workload. I can put my family’s needs first and still fulfill my professional roles in my own way and time.
Tell us about your family? My husband, whom I married during law school, is a tax accountant, so I am currently a tax widow. I have 3 boys, ages 5, 3, and 9 months, who create chaos, which is mostly happy, and always exhausting. My oldest will start kindergarten next year and I am dreading the addition of a new variable to my scheduling.
What is your best advice for juggling work and family?
In juggling work and family, I have had to learn to recognize and accept my limits. I had to be realistic about trying to work from home as my children got older – I was doing everything poorly and everyone was unhappy (“How did that five minute e-mail just take an hour?!”). It was more efficient and less stressful to be gone just a little more each week to recapture quality family time at home; to accept that I was always going to be too tired to do more work after my children went to bed.
I don’t like change and lack of consistency, but acknowledging that a schedule or plan of attack is just not working and trying something new is not defeat – it is progress. One thing I regret not putting more effort into was developing a good network of friends and neighbors that I could establish reciprocal arrangements to help minimize the scheduling conflicts (pick up and drop off at preschool, exchanging babysitting for that hour meeting or doctor’s appointments, etc.). I used to think of it as another burden, when it is really something I need to invest in.