Professionally, I’ve been blessed to gain a wide variety of legal experience and do some really exciting things. I’ve successfully argued in front of the Michigan Court of Appeals multiple times; I’ve argued in front of three judge panels at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; I’ve conducted trials, mediations and arbitrations; and I’ve traveled around the country defending my clients from lawsuits. However, the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced professionally is building and maintaining close relationships with my clients.
When I began my legal career, I focused on serving individuals and small business owners in estate planning, family law and litigation. I loved the bond I formed with my clients as I helped them through their varied legal issues.
As my career progressed, my practice became more specialized and transitioned from serving mostly individuals to primarily representing companies in commercial litigation. The reality of litigation was that every day was filled with contention, objections, and arguments. I spent my time and energy strategizing on how to defeat my opponent.
Every single day was a fight. Though being in the courtroom was exciting and suited my competitive nature, aside from the fleeting high of a win, my professional life was largely unfulfilling. Truthfully, it was filled with tension and negativity. Moreover, the more specialized my practice become, the less true client contact I had. As the companies I represented grew larger, I had less communications with my client and more communications with my client’s corporate counsel. It was nothing personal - this is simply how it works in larger organizations.
For me, however, it felt like I no longer had a personal relationship with my clients. To top it off, I worked in billable hours, which meant that every time my client wanted to share something with me, they knew they’d be receiving a bill.
Following My Purpose
While I had gone to law school for the purpose of helping people, in reality there was huge disconnect, as the further along I progressed in my practice, the less it felt I was making a difference in my clients’ lives.
Becoming a wife and a mom caused me to further assess the path I was on. Ultimately, I knew I didn’t want my days filled with tension and arguments. Instead, I needed to follow my purpose and do what I had set out to do when I started law school – making a positive impact on my clients’ lives.