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Loser or Superstar? All Depends Upon How You Look at It.

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Roughly two decades ago, a month after my 36th birthday,  I sat hunched in a bean bag chair in the corner of my childhood bedroom, unshowered and clad in sweatpants that I’d been wearing since the previous day since I’d driven through the night from my college reunion to my parents’ house.

In one hand, I held a cell phone with now-Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his young associate on the line, ready to discuss an upcoming oral argument in a Second Circuit case that found us both on the same side.

 In the other hand, I held my 10-month old daughter, Mira, who was greedily sucking down lunch while I silently prayed that she wouldn’t burst into one of her trademark screams. 

Was I the world’s biggest loser because I wasn’t clad in a designer suit working at biglaw which would have afforded me a fancy office for the call and the salary to pay a nanny to watch my daughter?

Or was I a superstar for simultaneously juggling a federal appeal where I was lead counsel with my name on the brief, a conference call with a prominent attorney and an infant all at the same time and on four hours of sleep?

It all depends upon how you look at it. 

In law school, we’re taught to take a one-dimensional approach to the world.  In class, we’re taught to issue spot and articulate the merits of both sides of an argument.  But we never learn to consider other factors such as whether one side even has the financial resources to press an issue, the consequences of a loss or what they’ll accomplish even if they prevail. 

When it comes to careers, law schools are similarly one-dimensional.  Clerkships and biglaw are still regarded as the brass ring.  Success is defined as a a biglaw partnership and a seat on a bar association board.  Women lawyers who own their own law firms are excluded from the definition of success.  All are lumped into the category of “loser” or at least, none achiever, or someone who settled for less.

Fast forward twenty years, and my baby Mira stands on the cusp of turning 21 next week.  My Second Circuit case was just the beginning of what would be a career spent arguing and briefing dozens of federal appeals, including making important precedent. I’ve also launched and ran a successful trade association along the way, not to mention the MyShingle blog, and put two daughters through private college on my own.  

Loser or superstar?  It no longer matters to me because I define my own success.  
If you are interested in learning from women law firm owners who are indeed superstars, please register TODAY for Parenthood, Practice & Profit in the Pandemic,  September 30-October 1.  JUST $39!!!  Contact or for more info.

NOTE: we’ll be recording the conference, but in order to reserve a copy of the recording for $39, you need to sign up since the cost of the recording will increase after the event. 

Interested in how other industries view lawyer-mom ownership? Take a look at these articles:

 How Law Schools Contribute to the Gender Gap - My Facebook Live

The Rise of  Female Focused Accelerators - TechCrunch

Investing in the Second Half of Your Career - Harvard Business Journal 

Pandemic Pay Gap - KSDK 

Feeling a financial squeeze or general malaise six months into the pandemic?  Up at, learn more about Quick Cash Infusions and Small Wins.

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Copyright © 2020 Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, All rights reserved.

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