Here is what Jennifer would like to share about her journey to Skylark:
My path to working as an associate at Skylark Law and Mediation has been a little unusual. Many times, the career path for a family law lawyer/mediator goes something like this this:
For me, so far, my path has been a little different:
For some, this may seem like a backward step in the “normal” path of a law career. For me, if feels like the most natural step down my path. Opening my firm had nothing to do with feeling like I had reached the point in my career where I was ready to run a business in addition to practicing law. It was much more about my desire to strike an appropriate work life balance for a new lawyer with two small children and the economic circumstances that developed while I was in law school and have persisted for new lawyers since 2008. At the time I decided to work for myself, after some thought about what I had learned in law school and while on co-op, I decided to start practicing two areas of law, estate planning and family law.
Through a series of very fortuitous meetings in 2013, I met Leila Wons, Marcia Tannenbaum, and Justin Kelsey who all encouraged me to take a mediation training and a Collaborative Law training. I took their advice and took both of those trainings in 2013. During those trainings, it became clear to me that resolving divorce and family cases (when possible) through an out-of-court process that focuses on reducing conflict and focusing on the future relationship and well-being of both parties is of the utmost importance to me as a practitioner.
Shortly after taking mediation training in 2013 an opportunity came up to join a program through MWI (Mediation Works, Inc.) to be mentored while mediating in the Norfolk Probate and Family Court. Through that program, I truly became a mediator and eventually a mentor to new mediators and not just an attorney. I spent a year and a half mediating once or twice a week for anywhere from 2-6 hours. During that year and a half, I continued to expand my practice through networking and found a career mentor and friend in Justin Kelsey.
In 2015, my third child was born so my life circumstances dictated that my work should be a bit closer to home for a short amount of time. I continued working with my private clients but took a step back from the in-court mediation work. At some point during this time, Justin offered an office sharing arrangement that was less sharing and more me taking advantage of his generosity to use his conference rooms and take over a desk at Skylark. Through office-sharing Beth, Melissa, Val, and Julie became my co-workers and trusted friends well before I joined Skylark in any official capacity.
Then in 2016 my own life path shifted again when my father became ill. It was very difficult to juggle a solo practice, being a parent of three small children, and being an additional hand in caring for my father. My Skylark family was a huge source of support both professionally and personally. On the days I was able to make it into the office, I felt so much relief. It felt more like going home than going to work which given the nature of our work speaks volumes about the culture of our office.
When I was offered an Of Counsel position and later an Associate position at Skylark, it felt like the most natural step I can take in my career. I am excited to be joining a firm where I know that folks have a common mind set regarding work/life balance, where all my co-workers think of each other as an extension of their own families, where we all truly believe that cases should be resolved amicably when possible, and where there is a deep belief that our clients should be treated with the same respect and care we show each other. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Skylark team and I cannot wait to see where my path leads next.