I sat in quiet celebration in my office looking out over my desk at the picture of my Sonoma County hometown. I had just been made partner, a huge milestone in any attorney’s career. I should be celebrating and singing this from the rooftops, especially when you consider the fact that just 24% of law firm partners are women.
But I sat there, not knowing how to respond. I was beyond grateful for the recognition of my years of hard work, and I truly enjoyed working with my colleagues, but a little voice kept telling me this couldn’t be the everything that I wanted. If this was the culmination of my legal career, and everything that I had worked so hard for for the last decade, why didn’t I feel content?
Fast forward to a year later. Here I am, owner of my own law firm, clocking the longest hours I’ve ever put in, taking on new and challenging projects (this website being one of them!), and I couldn’t be happier.
What I had been missing while working for someone else was a sense of direction and purpose in my career. I longed for the independence, ownership and ability to create the type of law firm that I wanted to work in for the next 30 years. Joining the ranks of an even more elite group – the roughly 300 women-owned U.S. law firms – I have been amazed by the outpouring of support from friends, family and fellow attorneys. While I always thought that one day I would own my own business (attorneys are serial entrepreneurs), I realized that someday was now.
I’ve been in business for almost a year and have enjoyed every step (and learning moment!) involved in starting a new enterprise. I’ve created a law firm dedicated to my wonderful clients; a firm dedicated to using technology to build and operate a more sustainable practice; and a business intent on giving back to community. I won’t pretend that my work-life balance is better – if anything, I work more – but it’s a fulfilling work done with a purpose.
I am forever thankful for the many teachers that I’ve had in my career, most importantly my colleagues and bosses, who I have learned so much from and who have made starting my own practice possible. I am especially appreciative of all the women attorneys – colleagues, partners and friends – who served as examples for me along the way. Seeing them succeed at the highest levels, laughing together when another attorney mistook us for the receptionist (again) and celebrating their professional achievements, have slowly ingrained in me the belief that I, too, could do this. Clients asked me for years when I would open my own practice. They saw it before I did – I was a boss.
My name is Jennifer Millier, founder of Millier Law, and I am here to protect your business.