THE WOMEN WHO HELPED ME PAVE MY WAY My Mentors
Watching my mom start her law career when I was a kid was a significant source of inspiration for me. I was about 2 when my mom graduated from law school. Instead of going the corporate route, she chose to open her own firm to spend more time with me. She may have had her own law firm, but she was still my Brownie leader in third grade and managed to make it to my tennis matches. Even before law school, my mom was putting her family before her career as an AT&T exec. She declined promotion after promotion that would have meant more money and a lot more travel so that she could stay close to her family. But at my young age, I didn’t understand everything she was juggling: raising me, running a law firm, and managing life as a single mother. My dad was still in the picture after their divorce, but my mom handled most of the daily responsibilities for our family. I didn’t gain perspective into my mom’s sacrifices until much later. Isn’t that always the case? It wasn’t until I was an attorney myself that I saw how every choice she made put her family first. Life teaches you, and experience shows you, how much you have to be grateful for.
My mom practiced bankruptcy and divorce law, and seeing how she helped people inspired me to follow a similar path. People came into her office distraught, upset, going through some of the worst moments of their lives, and they left with a new life image. I watched my mom make that process look seamless. She saw the entire picture and proposed different options for resolving the situation. Seeing the transformations she was part of on so many levels inspired me to go down a similar path. After law school, as I started on my own journey as an attorney, another strong, courageous woman guided me through my first few years of practicing law in a big firm. Through long days and tough cases, my colleague Ilyse gave me guidance and support, helping me be confident enough to make the best decisions. She was a sounding board for me at a time when I truly needed it. These days, I do what my mom and Ilyse did for me: I listen and offer thoughtful guidance. Allowing another person to feel heard and helping them shine a light on the path ahead is what the best mentors and representatives do. I often feel myself calling on the same kindness and compassion that these incredible women and mentors showed me. In a way, what Ilyse, my mother, and the countless other people who’ve helped me down my path did for me is what I help clients do now. My mentors taught me how to be a mentor for clients. I’ve learned how to guide people through whatever they’re facing. Navigating divorce and child custody can be very difficult. Not only is someone losing their partner, but they may also have restrictions put on time with their kids. There’s a lot at stake for people who walk through our doors. My job is to be a lawyer and a counselor for my clients. I guide them through tough decisions, advise them according to the law, and help them make the best choices they can under the circumstances. We go to bat when they need a voice in the courtroom to speak up for them and ensure their interests are not brushed aside.
We give strength and hope to people, which are the same things my mentors gave to me.
Chris and Ashley mentoring the kids at Disney
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