The WBAI works to provide a level of support to practicing moms through its Legally Moms committee. Legally Moms hosts regular events and meet ups to highlight issues unique to mothers in the WBAI membership.
Erica C. Minchella, President, Minchella & Associates, Ltd Ms. Minchella has practiced law for 36 years. Her three-attorney real estate firm focuses on transactions (residential and small commercial, including short sales) and litigation (foreclosure defense, division of property, quiet title, disputes over property disclosures, etc.). After beginning her career as a bankruptcy attorney, she transitioned to real estate, which provided more flexibility in scheduling. She measures her years as a practicing mom from the time her eldest child was born, six years after she began practicing law, to the time her youngest started to drive 19 years later. She has been fortunate to share office space with her husband, who works in a different industry. Today, her son works for her husband, while her daughter works as her docket clerk. Q. What has helped you achieve a work-life balance? A. Being a sole practitioner allowed me to set my own (insane) hours, so that my children could be my priority. I would get up at 5:00 a.m. and work before the needs of my children or demands of my practice took over my day. I worked part-time for nine years, when my children were in their pre-teens, so that I could be their part-time chauffeur. That often meant driving to their events with cases or briefs to read and mark up or phone calls to make. Being with them during their impressionable teen years brought us closer and made them want to stay as a part of my life once they started their own working lives. Q. What advice would you give to new moms practicing law? A. My experience may have been unique in that I was not with a firm when my children were born, so I made all of my own choices. I was not focused on developing my career as much as I was on balancing my career with raising my children. Developing my career resumed when my children were older. We were fortunate to have found a nanny who was with us for 12 years and literally became a part of our family. I don’t know if my choices would have been as simple, were it not for having a “third” parent I could trust so completely or if I had been part of a firm that had expectations of me. I had a supportive husband and was able to make choices that worked for our family. So the advice would be – make sure you have a good support system. Q. What efforts can firms make to foster their practicing moms’ work-life balance? A. This is a particularly hard question for me to answer since I have two young women working as my associates. As a small firm, I have absolutely no idea how I will deal with WINTER 2018