This week in Things I Wish I Knew, a colleague’s confession about the end of her marriage encourages solo attorney Joleena Louis and her husband to re-evaluate their marital priorities.
Recently, Vivian Sobers, solo attorney and my Law Firm Suites’ colleague, shared how her law practice contributed to the end of her marriage. As a matrimonial attorney, the dissolution of marriages is something I deal with daily.
Vivian’s honesty about such a personal issue, particularly in a professional context like her blog article, must have taken a lot of courage.
I really feel like this is a topic that prospective solos need to consider before starting their own law firm.
Vivian’s article generated a lot of interest on social media, and even got picked up by Above the Law; however, it was shocking to me the extent to which other attorneys criticized Vivian for admitting that her commitment to her law practice was part of the reason her marriage failed.
Starting a solo practice, or any business, is a huge commitment of your time and energy. If one wants to be successful, he or she will have to make sacrifices in other areas of his or her life – including a marriage.
As women we are expected to put our families above all else, especially our careers, while it is more accepted when a man puts his career first. Coincidentally, Vivian received one negative comment about how this argument was cliche, but I can tell you that it has been on my mind, and it was on Vivian’s. Maybe it is cliche, but apparently it is still very relevant.
We all have a right to choose our priorities, and for Vivian, her priority is her law practice. As a married solo, I appreciate Vivian being so forthcoming and she has given me a lot to think about regarding my own practice and marriage. In fact, it encouraged me and my husband to re-evaluate our own priorities.
My husband has been very supportive of my practice, and very early on we set up boundaries between home and work. While the boundaries are helpful, they are still not foolproof.
Confession: as I was reading Vivian’s article, I was also checking work emails when I was supposed to be watching a movie with my husband. He had to remind me that it was husband time not work time. I promptly shut everything down.
My husband and I discussed the amount of time I spend on my practice and how it was effecting our marriage. While my practice is important, I never want him to feel like he comes second to it.
However, I also wanted him to realize that my career is important to me and it is going to take a lot of my time and my attention.
Right now I think we have a good understanding. We agreed that he will be understanding about the time I spend on work as long as I give him my undivided attention when it is his time.
Need to find more time in your day to spend with loved ones?
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Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a ﬁrm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial ﬁrm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ start-up program in Downtown, New York. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew… explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law ﬁrm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur.