Profiles in Diversity
I did not start my working life as a lawyer, and though my parents had suggested that I consider law school, after graduating college, I opted for a master’s degree in Communications. Upon receiving my master’s degree, I accepted a job in the management training program of a prominent New Jersey insurance company. During my final rotation, as a technical claims examiner, which involved working with lawyers in the legal department, I realized I had an affinity for untangling issues, legal problem-solving, and writing. Also, I saw that the career of a lawyer held more promise to me than that of an insurance executive. Thus, newly married, with a new mortgage, and before being promoted, I quit my job and headed to law school.
In my senior year, I worked as the Teaching Assistant to Adjunct Professor Elaine Jacoby, who taught Research & Writing. After a judicial clerkship, I joined the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General (“AG”) as a Deputy Attorney General. During this time, I stayed in touch with Elaine, who became an early mentor and remains a dear friend.
In 1986, Elaine left her in-house legal position to help open Epstein Becker Green’s New Jersey office. Shortly thereafter, she called and invited me to lunch to discuss joining the office as an associate attorney. The position offered the chance to work with a woman whom I liked and admired, become part of a respected national firm, and be involved in cutting-edge employment and health law issues.
Although the timing was nearly perfect because my initial three-year commitment with the AG’s office was almost up, there was only one hitch—I was six-months pregnant. When Elaine, with the firm’s blessing, offered to hold the job open for nine months, my decision was made. That was more than 30 years ago.
I felt then, as I still do now, that I had landed in a great firm. Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with many fine lawyers in nearly all of our offices and practice groups. My colleagues at Epstein Becker Green—both lawyers and non-lawyers—have been accomplished, smart, and caring people.
My advice to lawyers entering the legal profession is to determine your professional goals and find a personal balance that works for you. For me, it was finding a place that was collegial, appreciated my work, recognized my contributions to the organization, gave me the opportunity to maximize my potential, and supported my decision to start and grow a family.
Take the effort to really learn and hone your craft. Accept every opportunity. Always look to add value to the organization and to your clients—and don’t be shy about your accomplishments. At the end of every day, feel that you have done something that has moved the ball forward. Finally, enjoy the work. Enjoying what you do is the foundation to creating a meaningful career and satisfying life. At Epstein Becker Green, I have had the good fortune of a rewarding and purposeful career—and, happily, one that my wonderful family is also proud of.