Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I decided to go to law school.

My name is Taylor.  I went to law school because I was not sure what else to do after college.  I had two great law teachers in college and both talked to me about going to law school.  They told me that with a law degree, I could either become a lawyer, or if I decided it was a bad idea, I could always work in a non-profit. I decided to go to law school. 

Law school was fun for me.  I loved the difficulty of the subject and the hours.  I thrived in the competitive environment and also tried my best to get involved.  I made Law Review after my first year and eventually became the Chief Managing Editor.  I also started a student organization called the Public Interest Law Foundation, which raises money to grant to students who work in non-profit jobs over the summers.  Surrounded by excellent professors and opportunities, I realized that law was the perfect field for me.

I have always been a highly organized, driven, and assertive person.  I am also a person who easily sympathizes or empathizes with others.  I make friends easily and can talk to almost anyone.  I find purpose when I am able to help someone with a difficult issue or through a difficult time.

Being a lawyer is a convergence of all of these characteristics.  To be a successful lawyer, I believe you need to be an organized to a fault and have the ability to go head to head with other lawyers or parties involved, but always with civility.  Further, I believe you need to be willing to take on a client’s issue as if it were your own, maybe not emotionally, but with enough zeal and passion to represent the client competently.  Also, I believe you have to relate to clients on a personal level and seek their best interest in finding a solution.

My beliefs about being a lawyer encouraged me to start my own firm.  I did not want to work for a firm or an attorney unless I truly saw my values or beliefs in that firm or attorney.  So, instead of waiting around for the perfect boss, I just decided to become my own. 

Also, I eventually want a family.  I am getting married in July and want to have children.  Being a lawyer and having children will definitely take some juggling, but as your own boss, schedules can be more flexible.  Finally, I want to live my life… I don’t want to work 80 hours a week and never go on vacation and know the four walls of my office better than my family. 

I have always loved traveling and have been to over 15 countries; a few of those countries, I have traveled to multiple times.  I took my first trip at age 14 and since then have always wanted to spend my extra time and money on an adventure, rather than on material things. I try to go on a new trip at least once a year… even if that is exploring the United States.   

Thankfully, I found a partner who shares my vision and supports my dreams.  This is the story of building our law firm…

Can being a Lady and a Lawyer go hand in hand?

Hi, my name is Crista Haynes and I’m a lady and a lawyer.  I try to represent both as best as possible.  I decided to go to law school after graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Criminal Justice.  I chose Criminal Justice as my major because I liked the underlying education about the law.  However, I knew I did not want to be a police officer or a probation officer, both of which are options for Criminal Justice majors.  So, the only reasonable thing to do was to sign up for the LSAT and see what happened.     

I studied for the LSAT while working full time and enjoying life full time, for goodness sake I was 21 years old and living life to its fullest in Long Beach.  I took the test and received a respectable score so I decided to go to law school.  I uprooted my life again and moved to the Inland Empire to be closer to school.  Moving closer to school allowed me to get involved in activities which helped me appreciate the journey that law school is; it also kept me sane.  I got involved with the Society of Legal Studies in Business and the Journal of Law, Business & Ethics.  I also befriended several of my law professors, whom I now consider family.    

After finishing law school and attacking the bar exam, as if I could never endure that kind of stress again, I began thinking about what kind of life I wanted for myself that would allow me to continue living and enjoying life.  I didn’t want to end up at some big law firm slaving away for hours on end never seeing the inside of a courtroom, always passing up my vacation because I wanted to become partner in five years; but I did want the opportunity to make big law firm money.  I didn’t want to go to work for the government; I already decided against that option when I went to law school in the first place.  So I thought to myself what route would enable me to live the life I’ve always envisioned for myself?  Opening my own firm and being my own boss.

So that’s what I did.  After swearing into the California Bar on December 1, 2011, I talked to Taylor, my current partner, and we decided to take the journey together.  We both had the same ideas for what we wanted out of life and out of work.  We want to work extremely hard when we are at work so that when we take time out to do the things we love.  We can really experience those things without the stress of an overbearing partner.  I can work 20 solid days a month; however, I want to spread the workdays around my crazy schedule and take time to go snowboarding, to go to the river or on a hike, or to be spend time with those that I love.  I couldn’t have imagined a better life plan, and this is the story of how it all plays out as we build our law firm.

Just a little humor…  Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?  Professional courtesy.