Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Her current practice focus is on family law, but her experience includes many areas including criminal, commercial litigation, employment, insurance defense, and civil rights.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
I have a mini foldable keyboard that I take everywhere. I can type or edit on my phone with ease in the car, at a restaurant, or anywhere I go.
How do you manage your well-being? What struggles do you face in this area?
My struggle is that I never feel I can get away from calls, texts, and emails. If I go on a trip and do not return emails every day, I cannot bear to face what awaits me on my return, so I find myself checking my phone even when I am supposed to be relaxing. I manage my stress by exercising about 10 to 15 hours per week.
How do you remain civil in tense situations?
I visualize a high road and a low road. If a client or opposing counsel is acting in an uncivil manner, I picture them on the low road and picture me on that high road, smiling and above it all.
How can attorneys advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession?
Attorneys should understand and appreciate how hiring people of color and people from different walks of life adds to the practice, the atmosphere in the workplace, and one’s overall life education. I try hard to hire people and associate myself with people who are different from me. As to women in the practice, I try to take them under my wing and impart whatever wisdom I have acquired.
What is an attorney’s role in furthering public confidence in the rule of law?
It is important to educate the public in general and clients in particular about the law and give them reasonable expectations. If [people outside of the profession] better understood the judicial system and the laws that govern it, they could better appreciate how it really does work.
If you could offer one piece of advice to young lawyers, what would it be?
Find a practice area and a workplace that suits your personal needs. If denying insurance coverage all day long does not make you happy, do something else. If you are in a firm that is driven by competitive billing and lacks collegiality, go somewhere else. Recognize your needs and identify what is not working for you. Finally, take chances. Represent a pro bono client. Do something outside the practice that is daring and stretches your talents and skills.
What is the biggest challenge impacting lawyers today?
The biggest challenge is the same as it has always been: The stress of dealing with clients with problems and the stress of taking on those problems.
What do you do for fun?
I travel, read, meet up with friends for dinner, and I’m writing a book.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys here.