Season 1, Episode 017

In this episode of Legally Blissed Conversations, we are joined by Sara Ovando, founding partner of Ovando Bowen LLP – a law firm focusing on estate planning, probate litigation, trust administration, business, and civil litigation.

Sara was born and raised in Orange County, but her family hails from Guatemala. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was an esthetician and a certified yoga instructor. Today, she’s the founder of a beauty business alongside her sister, the law firm alongside her husband, is obtaining her Certified Financial Planner certificate, and is learning new languages in addition to fluently speaking English and Spanish. Above all her endeavors, Sara’s primary focus is on being a mom to her daughter.






DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases, it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

Suzi: I would love to welcome everyone to the legally bliss conversations and I would especially love to welcome Sarah Ovando today, Sarah is a founding partner Ovando Bowen LLP. While an undergraduate school Sarah work for the Long Beach courthouse self help center. There she’s learned about family law and landlord tenant law. She thoroughly enjoyed helping clients with their cases. This led her to switch from applying to a P PhD Site D program to JD programs. After passing the California Bar. Sarah worked at a small firm in Orange County where she practiced personal injury, bankruptcy and employment law. In 2017. Sara and her husband, brave souls here, open their own firm Ovando Bowen, LLP. Their practice focuses on business litigation, probate and estate planning. Sara was born and raised in Orange County, her family hails from Guatemala. Sara is fluent in Spanish. Prior to becoming an attorney. Sara was an esthetician and a certified yoga instructor. Sara is a huge animal lover in plants opened her own farm sanctuary. She enjoys being part of the beauty industry traveling around the world learning new languages. She is a beginner in French and Chinese and of course, being a mom. So welcome. I’m so happy to speak with you today, Sarah and learn a little bit more about your journey. So yeah, so the last time we did have a very brief conversation probably about a month ago. And we talked a little bit about law. But we also talked about beauty And the beauty industry. So do you want to give me any updates on what’s going on in your world?

Sara: Well, so last time we spoke, so I have a side business with my sister called Indian Ari. It’s a cruelty free beauty boutique. And we started this back in 2016. After I was studying I after I took the bar, I started this business with my sister, because we’re both vegan and couldn’t find anything. Well, we could but it was a hassle, right? Having to read labels and all that stuff. We wanted it to be an easy one stop shop where everything was cruelty free and or vegan. So we created it ourselves.

Suzi: Let me ask you the name of the of the brand is nd

Sara: Yeah, so I n di and RA ar y it’s a play on our names.

Suzi: I love it and I’m gonna keep an eye on you. And it’s vegan business. I think that sounds amazing. So speaking of of like naming your law firm, Vonda Bowen. 

Sara: Okay, so that was actually funny. Because my husband’s actually an attorney much longer than I have been, he is much older. So he’s been an attorney for 10 years or so. And then I, I wasn’t and, you know, so when we got together, he’s like, hey, I want to open up a law firm with you. Because I think you’re smart and you’re capable, and you already have an entrepreneurial spirit, like, you know, so why not? But I wanted to get my feet wet first, you know, because I don’t feel comfortable just diving right out of getting, you know, passing the bar to opening up a firm personally, I mean, some people I know do it, but I just don’t. So in coming up with the name, right. Obviously, most attorneys put their last name as the firm name, and my husband’s last name is Bowen. But when I thought of the logo and the and how it’s gonna look, it’s be Oh, and I’m like it’ll

Suzi: Oh, and I’m like it’ll anyone that I just thought you’re like, I should go first.

Sara: You know, he’s the senior partner. So the senior partner right always goes first and then the junior partner except Except when you have someone like me Who looks at this FedEx look at the logo. And I was like, that’s not gonna work. We can’t have our logo having Bo and people, you know, saying bow and Ovando. And it just didn’t feel it didn’t look right to me smart.

Suzi: I think it’s smart. So

Sara: we switched it to Vonda Bowen, and he’s not. I love him for many reasons, but he’s not, you know, a ego type or man, you know, this toxic masculinity type. He’s like, sure, whatever, I don’t care.

Suzi: Okay, so let’s talk about practicing with husbands.

Sara: So, it’s actually not as bad as I thought I was always against working with a spouse, I’m like, why would I want to be all day with my spouse, and then come home and see them again, like, it’s too much, I’m gonna get bored, you know, all that stuff. But it’s actually works out really well, because we both get along really well. He’s very strict at work, but I’m very strict at home. So I think it balances out like, and he’s, we’re both able to keep work work, you know, we don’t bring it home. And it’s actually nice, because, you know, as an attorney, we have a lot of stress, and be able to speak to a partner who understands that stress, and especially one who’s your business partner, too, and making executive decisions together on hiring or firing and the expansion of the company and growing a company together, it’s actually been really fun and rewarding for both of us. And we actually really enjoy it. So it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, at least not with him, maybe because he’s such a great guy. And he’s really funny and always joking around, but takes, you know, the log very serious. And I think we balanced each other out.

Suzi: I like how you kind of preface that, like, it was like, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to. I mean, I think it’s better. It’s better that way than like kind of going into rose colored lenses. And see, it’s gonna just be daisies and rainbows entire time. Right? I mean, working with family is hard. I’ve my parents have had a business together for years, or they’re retired now, but did have a business together for years. And so I have been able to see couples working together like it, but I do love that you. You mentioned a turn it off like you, you turn that off? Have did you all come to an agreement, and that you all would turn it off at 445 every day? And then when you left the office, you would be like, you would leave it there or how to do it.

Sara: You know, it kind of just happened? Uh, you know what, to be honest, it’s you. I mean, I’m sure you know, it’s really hard to take off the lawyer hat. Because when you get home, you’re like, Oh, my God, especially with us with litigation. It’s I mean, we have motion deadlines, a hearings, trial, all that stuff. So when we get home, we’re always thinking about work, like, Oh, my God, that I emailed that person. The motion is due tomorrow. Did I do enough? You know, we need to get an extension, all that stuff. So we’re still thinking about it when we’re at home, but we’re not getting worked up about it. You know, when we’re with the baby, I call her the baby even though she’s two and a half already, but she’s our baby baby.

Suzi: My 15 year old niece is my baby. Okay.

Sara: Exactly. No, we have family time. You know, I don’t want that to get in the way of family. And then you know, when she goes down, or if we have some alone time, then you know, sometimes we’ll talk about work, but we don’t let it consume us completely. When we’re at home. I want it to be family time or our time. You know, as partners. I think that’s the most important if you’re working with your partner is understanding that and especially after you have kids too. Is that your partner’s right? That’s how you guys got together in the first place your partner’s first before anything else. So I think yeah, I think we’re just both mature enough to not bring it home and not get upset. Like, we yell at each other. It’s here, right at home about work stuff, right? We’ll at home, it’s about home stuff. You know, I we try not to yell at home though, because we don’t want to give up, you know, bad input.

Suzi: Every now and then you gotta yell, right? 

Sara: I mean, especially when you’re Latina. It’s really hard. I love it. But yeah, I don’t know. I just we just understood. That’s how it’s done.

Suzi: Yeah, yeah. So this is one. When I had reached out to several people about my podcast and you reached back out to me, I thought your story seems so interesting. Because you work with your husband, and you all are doing these a little differently. And also, like after talking to you one thing I loved about what kind of your story is that you’re not just the lawyer, right? Like you are also, well, your mom and your wife, and you’re also an entrepreneur. So I would love for I would love to learn a little bit more about like how your legal experience and expertise is, kind of bleeds into your entrepreneurial spirit.

Sara: Well, you know, I actually, I feel like I got the onto entrepreneurs for for my mom, because she owned her own business and a single mom and she got her business and everything. And so when I became an attorney, it def, I mean, I took a bunch of business classes, I actually wanted to get my JD MBA, I wanted to do a joint program. But the you know, as you know, law school is way harder than I anticipated.

Suzi: hard enough, right.

Sara: I was like, I’ll get my MBA later. But I took all the business courses and intellectual property courses during school. And so in the process, I was able to formalize more of my mom’s business, you know, I understood things a little bit better. And then when I created our business with my sister, same thing, and understanding contracts, and really reading them, not just glazing through really quick, you know, and, especially, you know, when you’re getting a lease, commercial leases, you know, I had learned about landlord tenant, and tenants have a lot of protection. But when you’re in a commercial lease, it’s considered an equal, you know, so I really look more into that. And like, what you can and can’t do in a lot, you know, depending on who your landlord is, if you have a giant landlord, it’s really hard to even try to negotiate anything, because they have people wanting their space all the time, versus maybe a smaller landlord, you can negotiate a little bit better. And that’s why I did with this place. So I think just having a legal background, just helps you understand some of those contract provisions much better understanding arbitration, and what that means and the differences between arbitration and mediation and trial. You know, a lot of people are like, Oh, isn’t it the same thing? And it’s obviously that.

Suzi: And then,

Sara: I think for understanding operating agreements, you know, those kinds of things, putting those things into place, and business succession, which I am really into now, because the estate planning, you know, a lot of business owners don’t think about the future, they just think about today

Suzi: we don’t want to think about those things, right? Oh, really.

Sara: So you know, it’s like, what’s going to happen? Who’s the business going to be left to if I become incapacitated, or I die? So you know, it’s very real. And I don’t think people understand how real being coming and incapacitated or disabled is, right. And I think it’s our job as attorneys to always look at risk. And I think that’s what makes me a better business person is because I’m constantly aware of the risk. Everyone’s like, Oh, you’re so negative. It’s like, No, I’m just being realistic. And I’m an attorney, and I see everything that could potentially go wrong. And I want to avert some of those risks, if I can. So I think that’s how it’s helped. 

Suzi: Now, I am very similar. And I’m curious, I’m wondering if it’s like, if being a lawyer has sort of trained us to kind of always be looking out for the next big obstacle, right? Because it’s like everything, or is it just kind of our nature to always be looking for risks, and that’s why we are awesome attorneys now, right? So with maybe a little bit of both, right?

Sara: Yeah, I definitely. Well, my mom’s definitely always like, oh, you know, more on the cautious side. So I think she instilled that in me, but she’s also like, just go for it. When I told her we wanted to start with my sister, and I wanted to start business. And then when my husband and I are like, Oh, go for it, you know, might as well while you’re young. I think anyone can start a business at any age.

Suzi: But I totally agree. And I think it’s amazing that you seems like you have a lot of your inspiration from your mother. Oh, yeah. Can you tell me a little bit about that? I’m curious, like, what does she like?

Sara: Well, she’s very, you know, like I said, I was raised by single moms. So you know, she raised my sister and I and she created her business. She had a house cleaning business. And you know, she’s always been and she’s always told us if whatever you do, you got to put 100% into it and put all your love and energy into it and it’ll just naturally grow from there. And she did. And she I saw her business grow as I grew up, and how much energy and love and everything that she poured into it, because it’s another, it’s like another child, right? And a grew and she was able to achieve the American dream, you know, on our own. So, you know, bought her house because her cars and all that stuff. And I’m very proud of her. And then I’ve always, because my mom was her own boss, I saw, as you know, having parents who have a business, you see the good and the bad, you see that they’re the ones who are calling the shots. They’re the ones who are deciding things. And but they’re also the ones working all the time, because even when we’re on vacation, she was constantly on the phone constantly, you know, telling her employees where to go dealing with clients, all that stuff. And I think I really gravitated towards that. Because when I started working at 17, or whatever it was, I didn’t like being told what to do. I was like, wait a minute, you can’t tell me what to do. I want to I think this is how we should do it. Or, you know, I had my own ideas of how, you know, the restaurant or the spa should be ran. So I think I just naturally realized, like, I don’t like being told what to do. And I’d much rather call the shots even if that means I’m working on vacation, because then it’s on me and I make the decisions. I like being the decision maker. So I think I got it from my mom just seeing how it works.

Suzi: So I’m curious, like when you think back on your careers, and I’m saying career because you’ve you’ve been an esthetician? Yeah, certified yoga instructor. I mean, how cool is that? I love it. What, like what has been your biggest obstacle?

Sara: Um, well, to be honest, it’s probably, um, it’s gonna sound weird, but it’s probably sticking to it, you know, sticking to being an attorney and sticking. Because my mom always told me, she’s like, you’re constantly changing your mind. You’re constantly changing. You know, you’re always going to school for something. And I was like, Well, I like to learn, but it also means I’m afraid of commitment. Really, the underlying issue is that I’m terrified of commitment. So, for me to get married was a big deal. To have a kid. That’s the biggest commitment in the world, because you’re never going to stop being a mom. But then to start a business with my husband, I’m like, well, the divorce rate in the US is 50%. So we’re gonna have to split this up and we get divorce. He’s like, why are you thinking of divorce already? But I think just saying, you know, what, what’s the worst that could happen? We end up getting a divorce, we end up sleeping the business, who cares? Like that’s not that big of a deal, really, in the long in the grand scheme of things. So I think just committing 100% And just keep going. And, and it’s been great so far.

Suzi: I think I think it’s good to ask yourself, and just kind of something that I’ve done with coaching is working, allowing yourself to think about worst case scenario, right? Like, what would it really feel like, what is the absolute worst thing that can happen? Right? Like, okay, my husband and I have to split up and we split our law practice. And I mean, at the end of the day like that would, that would be pretty horrendous. But the worst that’s going to really happen is that is that you’re going to experience an emotion related to that. Right. And it and it could be devastation. Which actually sounds pretty bad.

Sara: Well, you know what I think because I like I said, He’s we actually started off as friends before we got together. Yeah. I always had the feeling with him that if I act, I’m actually a second wife. And I saw him how he went through in the first divorce. They’re already separated all that I’m not a homewrecker. But he was so nice and so pleasant. And I was like, well, even if I get divorced, I don’t think it’s gonna He’s definitely nothing like my exes. So I think it’ll be a nice smooth transition. And I think we could stay friends. 

Suzi: See, there you are being a lawyer going ahead, and like getting this through your head, right? That y’all would still be friends, it would be fine. So this is really fascinating that you know, you were friends with him and then now not only are like you, you his wife, you’re his wife. You’re the mother of his child, and you’re his business partner. Right? Like that’s, I feel like, you know, those are three big hats for aware. Right. And that’s just in that’s just in your relationship with respect to him. Your your daughter, your sister. 

Sara: Start, I had a business partner with my sister,

Suzi: and your your sister’s business partner. So there’s a lot of interesting dynamics going on here. So that’s, that’s really cool. Um, so what if your daughter wants to be a lawyer?

Sara: Okay, I’m gonna tell you exactly what I tell everybody else when they tell me, oh, I want to be a lawyer, I’ll tell them Are you sure about that? You need an intern, you need to see what it’s really like or work 100%, I might have a different experience, because I am a business owner and an attorney. Right? I’m not just doing lawyer work. I’m also then having to do the accounting, and then doing HR with my employees, you know, all that stuff. So there’s a lot for me to do here. But in terms of the actual legal work, I do always tell people do internships and find out what practice area you really like are, because we all think, Oh, I love arguing, or I saw law and order, or suits, it’s now that I told me that it’s definitely nothing like that, you know, if you’re going to be up at that level, you have to go through a lot of mud to get there. And even then it’s very stressful. I mean, you see people working till midnight burning, the midnight oil and all that stuff. But I always recommend internships, and I would tell her the same thing. All right, you want to be an attorney, we have a firm, so come and work and see what it’s really like, I’m not going to be your mom here. And I’m going to be your boss. So you better be prepared for me to give you a lot of grief. Because if you don’t do things, right, we’ll end this what people don’t realize the law doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether it’s estate planning or business litigation, people’s lives are basically in your hand. No pressure, right? It’s only their their future. It’s only their business. It’s only their money. So they’re, it’s personal, right. And we do family law, too, which is even more personal. I would support my daughter 100% If she wanted to be an attorney, but I’m not, you know, my husband and I have had this conversation. And you know, what the way the economy and everything’s changing? Who knows what the education systems really going to be like, in the next 20 years? So, you know, before law school, right, people would apprentice that’s how you became an attorney, you could still do that. Right? Kim? Kardashian is the famous one who’s doing it, I would actually tell my daughter, I mean, there’s good things about going to law school, but I would tell her, Listen, if you want to be an attorney, let’s just do the apprentice route. Because you can just work underneath for five years and boom, you’re gonna pass the bar and you’re an attorney,

Suzi: rather than going into debt. Right. So I could not agree more. And it is going to be interesting to see how education changes. You know, you mentioned 20 years, but I mean, I have a feeling that we’re going to see significant changes in education in five years.

Sara: I would love for her to take over one of the businesses someday. But she’s you know, she doesn’t need to be an attorney. To take over any of them.

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Suzi: So who do you think has been the biggest influence in your life?

Sara: Well, that’s a question for me because I obviously my mom, you know, because she obviously I saw so many things growing up with her and she’s such a strong woman and she had to be right she was a single mom, she like you literally have no choice. But I would say also my sister and my husband, you know, I think all these are the three most of them and my daughter honestly my daughter has taught me so much patience. Oh my god. I was learning patience with my husband thanks to my sister telling me I need to be nicer and more patient. But my daughter when you have a kid right it forces you to be patient. shouldn’t because you have a crying baby, and this little human is completely dependent on you, and really thinking about how I want to parent what kind of person I want to be. And I don’t think enough people realize that your kids are modeling your behavior, you are a mirror, they are your mirror. So if you want a, you know, a nice or, you know, well mannered child, you, yourself also have to do that you can’t be this is why we don’t try not to get angry and shout all this time at home, like we do at work. Because it’s like, what you do, your children are going to do exactly what you’re doing. So, if you are a liar, if your kids see you lying, they’re gonna start lying and think it’s okay. And then like you, and then people wonder why their kids are lying to, you know, my daughter, she’s only two and a half, but oh my god, you know, she’s pleased, thank you. Can I have this? And even though she was sometimes you’d like, Mommy, I want dance. Okay, you know, I just stay calm. And so I think just, she has definitely changed me the most. I’m to grow because I want to be a good mom, I want to be a good example for her. Just like my mom was for me. But you know, that’s a different situation. I haven’t been an attorney, I have my own businesses, and I have a husband. So it’s a different environment than my daughter’s growing up and then But then I did. So I think my husband too, is constantly saying how having a kid, having a baby just completely changes you and how rewarding it really is, even though it’s challenging and stressful. But I think it forces you to become a better person, at least if you let it right. Because obviously, we all know, especially in family law, we know that there’s terrible parents. But if you rise up to the challenge, I think you can actually become a better person too.

Suzi: Oh 100%. So did was being a parent always part of the plan for you? Did you?

Sara: Oh, no. being married and having kid was the opposite,

Suzi: that was not in the plan. This kind of stuff happens. Right?

Sara: So I thought I was going to be the cool on, you know, the rich on weren’t good, and, you know, dating and all that stuff. But I ended up meeting my husband. And he was such an amazing guy that I always used to say no. And I see the sentiment now with people on Instagram. But I would always say, if the person doesn’t make me love my life, as much as I love it, when I’m single, then why am I with the person. So I love being single, I love having my freedom, right? I don’t like commitment. So I like being able to do and go wherever I please. And for me to commit to somebody, I better, I better enjoy them and love the life that third guy had an exome like I did without them. And my husband, he’s completely like I said different from all the other men I dated. And just let me be me. And that really made a difference. And, you know, we got together and then got married and had a baby and all that stuff, which I was never expecting. So daughter, if you see this since 20 years, I’m sorry, I was not expecting you. But I love you.

Suzi: We are so happy you’re here. And I think that you just said something really fat, like important for people to understand, especially our younger, female ladies out there single who are in the dating world, right? Like the importance of being with someone who lets you be who you are, right and someone that that you don’t feel like you have to change in any way around. I think that’s really important. This is not a dating show. This is not a dating advice show. But you know, I mean, we many of us start out as young female attorneys who are single, and dating is hard. Dating is really hard. When you’re a lawyer.

Sara: I think you’re right, especially when you’re a practicing attorney with clients, whether you’re in a law firm or your own practice. It’s definitely a lot of work to get out there and have to deal with someone who doesn’t understand your life and your job. I see that a lot actually. Yeah, a lot of people whose spouses or partners are not attorneys, and they don’t understand the lifestyle.

Suzi: Right. Right. So it’s, yeah, and it’s hard to kind of have those conversations with people who don’t understand it that like yeah, you are like even though you do try to leave it at home, leave it at the office. There are still client issues that are weighing on you, right? Like, you’re still like, you’re you might be marinating on it while you’re doing laundry, taking a shower or you know,

Sara: like, doing emails from clients at like 12. Midnight?

Suzi: Yes, yes. Well, you know, I am a big fan these days of setting boundaries. And I’ve gotten a lot better. I mean, it wasn’t, wasn’t top of mind when I wasn’t a big law firm wasn’t as important. Partly because I was younger, probably because I was single most of the time, but now it’s like, I really need to turn off the email at 5pm. Or, you know, yeah, 5pm. 

Sara: Yeah, me too. I know earlier. When we first started our firm, we were all you know, obviously, when you’re start your own firm, you are catering your to your clients. 100 per 100,000%. Right, all the time, any, anytime I get a text, a phone call, Hey, but especially with the kid, a daughter now at home, and, you know, our business growing, it’s not that I don’t care about my clients. But I realize you know, what I need some space, I need to just dedicate this is when you can find me, you know, nine to five, I’m dedicated to my clients 100%. But if you call me or email me, I’m not going to respond. Because that’s my time. I deserve some time with my family. I deserve to decompress from the stress and everything else. So I definitely agree with you. That was hard for us. And it, we didn’t really start implementing a communication policy until late last year. Good. This is yeah, this is when you call and this is. That’s it? This is the timeframe, right? I mean, I can’t just call my dentist at midnight. So like it, you can’t call me at midnight.

Suzi: So tell me a little bit about that. Tell me a little bit about your Um, can you communication policy, because this is really important. I think for our mental health, I

Sara: actually have it in our retainer agreement or client engagement agreement you want to call it and we did it before before I would kind of just like I said, I would answer and all that stuff. But it hit me when our daughter was getting older, and seeing us on the phone and be like mommy mommy or you know, papa, papa, and we’d be on the phone. And I taught clients Oh, sorry, like, I’m already at home. So my daughter is here, obviously. And I didn’t want her to feel like I was ignoring her, I felt really bad. So I said, you know, we need I told my husband, you can’t be coming home, on the phone with a client, you better get off the phone before you get into the house. Don’t answer the phone, when we’re when we’re all together. Unless it’s because you know, obviously we have trials. So unless it’s the day before trial, and the clients are having a nervous breakdown, I can understand that. But if it’s you know, normal week, let’s, let’s keep it separate. Because I, I want our daughter to know that we’re paying attention to her that she’s important. And not it’s not just work. So then I found a communication policy firm. I think that another attorney friend of mine, and I liked it. And I obviously made edits to it to fit our, you know, timeframe and all that stuff. And so it just says, you know, from nine from 8am to 12 and firmed from one to five, because I wanted to give that lunch break that our employees take and let them know, like, hey, no one’s gonna answer your emails during lunch break. Yeah, yeah. And I want to give my employees a more work life balance, too. Yeah. So that’s now and I put it at the top of the agreement. It’s like, the second paragraph should not miss and it’s a bold communication.

Suzi: You know, they don’t always like really look at all of that. 

Sara: So that you put on the first page? Yes. Originally, I was going to put it toward like, in the middle or wherever. But I realized, no one ever reads these things, really. So let me put at the top. So at least when they see the first part, it’s like, oh, there’s communications policy. Maybe they might read it.

Suzi: Okay, I think that’s, I love this so much. Like we’ve gotten into something really interesting, I think the importance of having a communication policy with your clients, right? Like, you know, we talked about setting boundaries and stuff, but what’s what is a big part of that communicating that to them, and whether it’s on the first phone call with them or in a retainer agreement, which is probably better to do it that way right in writing, so they always have in writing, right, we’re gonna look at that. Please don’t call me at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night. You know, I mean, I put my

Sara: I love with the iPhone, right? Like you can put a on Do Not Disturb all that stuff. It’s like listen, I’m with my baby. We just like how they value their family time I value my family time.

Suzi: Yeah. And I think that may be, we are often looked at as just kind of like automatons, right, like are people that aren’t human. But it’s like, at the end of the day, like we have the same needs emotionally, we, you know, we, we have the same ease as anybody else. Right. Um, I think that’s really fascinating that you that you did that. And I think that that’s something you know, I just kind of want people to think about that, that are listening today is where are you setting boundaries with your clients, in particular, of course, boundaries can apply to husband’s sister, like any relationship, right. But in this, in this particular context, I think with clients is really important. And if you can, how you can communicate that how you can properly set the tone, the beginning of of your relationship with a client, either verbal, verbally communicating it, or even better, which is what you’re doing, Sarah is actually having the communications policy written to your agreement.

Sara: Yeah. And, you know, I’m lucky because, you know, I have my own firm, so I can do that. Obviously, I know, a lot of people don’t own that. You know, they work at a firm, so I think, but I think our generation, and the younger generation that’s coming out of law school, really understands mental health and how important it is. So, you know, not saying that the older generation doesn’t, but they have different expectations. So I think once those people start to retire more in the law firms, then we’re going to see a shift. Once, you know, our class, and the younger classes become the partners, that, you know, mental health is important work life balance is important. Like, we were not born just to work. We’re you know, we should have, you know, the European mentality is, you know, you with us as you live to work, and then European mythology work to live right. Work is supposed to be just be a tool for us to create, get money and then go on vacation. Enjoy our life. That’s what we’re here for.

Suzi: Right? Yeah, I take mental health Fridays, I don’t work on Fridays anymore.

Sara: I’m hoping to be there one day, and yeah,

Suzi: you will be you will be, you know, for me, it was baby steps, it was an hour on Friday, right? Like, I would make sure that I was out of out of here by three o’clock or whatever. And it just, it takes time. But once you kind of implement those baby steps, you can’t go back like you can’t work on Fridays.

Sara: I feel I you know what we did do? So originally, I had my goal set for the year, you know, 2021 Because, as you know, as a business owner, you have to set your revenue goals and all that stuff. The business side of it, right? No one likes math. That’s why we became Attorney. But when you’re a business owner, you have no choice but to do math, to do math. Especially if you do any type of business litigation or valuations. Anyways. So we exceeded our goal for 2021. And I say, thank you. Awesome. I said, I know, I know, people who are taking other attorneys who are estate planning attorneys who take the Christmas, the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. And I said, Well, you know, we all we make goal. So I’m gonna give the office a break and worry, I’ll have the occasion. I mean, for you know, Chuan and I were still in office. But I was only here a part time. But, you know, I wanted to reward our team. And then I also want to start putting it into the clients mind like, this is a holiday season. We deserve a break too. So I even put an automation on my email. Good. And next year, same thing, we’re going to just take that week off, you know, off.

Suzi: No, you know, it’s funny. The first time I decided to think about like, or when I first started implementing mental health Fridays, I felt kind of guilty about it. I was like, I don’t know if I should do like, this is just, you know, I don’t know if I should do this. Can I afford to do it like this? What does this make me look like? And then I had to go to another lawyer’s office in town here, a couple of women. And it was on some estate planning work that I needed to have done. And they had a sign up that said, your lawyers take care of their mental health and we’re out of the office on Fridays. And it made me feel so good. It was just that they had to sign up right there basically, like, we’re not talking to you on Friday, right? But I was like, this is okay, right. Like it’s okay to respect your own mental health and to prioritize Is it?

Sara: Right? I mean, the four, four day work week, I think I know some of the Congress members are trying to push it to and it’s catching fire, you know, everywhere I think because it just makes sense, right? We’re not robots. We can’t just keep going 24/7 We need breaks. And yeah. And if you can be just as productive Monday through Thursday, then why not? Yeah.

Suzi: And I think that really comes down to being super mindful and how you plan your day or your week, right? Because you can really get a lot done if you’re just super like, mindful of how, like what you’re doing every few hours, right? At the end of the day, I asked you, we really, like, can we really be on eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week, six days a week. So people work and actually really being like, really produced like, maybe when I was 25, or 30. It’s just doesn’t happen anymore.

Sara: There’s such a rise, there’s so much alcoholism, I don’t know if you watch Mad Men, but you know, the guys were drinking, starting at 10am. And people were drinking. And people still do, right, the older generation of attorneys, they, there’s a lot of addiction in this country. And I think it really has to do with the fact that we didn’t take mental health serious, and we’re worth being worked to death. And it’s like, that’s not the lifestyle that I want. And that’s no longer the lifestyle that you need, especially with, you know, so many different asset classes that you can invest in real estate, all this stuff, you can make your own life, you know, and you can retire early. Yeah, right. A lot of people do. And they, you know, go live down in Mexico or something where it’s cheap, but I think that’s where we’re at now in this country. And I think a lot of us, like I said, the younger generation, or you know, us a younger generation, or recognize, we’re still young, recognize that you don’t need to be grinding 80 hours a week, in order to enjoy your life, I mean,

Suzi: or to be a contributing member of society, like a producing member, right. Like I kind of always, I felt like I was trained, you know, like, you work at least 40 to 60 hours a week, and this is how you contribute to society, right? Like, and as I get older, I’m like, That That shit is for the birds, right? Like you know, everyone kind of goes through seasons of life to write when you’re younger, when you’re in your 20s. You know, and even 30s. To some extent, it’s just, yeah, maybe that’s like what you want to do right now grind, and you want to learn and that’s the lifestyle you want, that’s great, but like, you don’t have to be stuck in that there are a lot of options. And I think it’s really interesting that you mentioned just other opportunities. Right. And I would love to know a little bit about what’s next for you, Sarah, and what, where people can can learn more about you and find you.

Sara: Oh, yeah. So you know, obviously my website Ovando And Instagram, Alana Bowen, LLP, I believe, and then, if anyone’s interested in the beauty business, right, it’s Indian, ra, Instagram and an Indian

Suzi: I love speaking with people just like you, Sarah, who have like, like, her love of your hat, right? That’s like kind of there. But you there’s so much more to you. There’s so many facets to you, why mom, entrepreneur, daughter of a single mother, right, who was an entrepreneur, and who had two lovely daughters who are like successful, right? It’s like the American dream. It’s It’s amazing. So I just want to thank you for hanging out with me.

Sara: I have really enjoyed it. Thank you, Susan.

Suzi: Thank you so much for hanging out with us today on legally blessed conversations. If you love this episode, and you want to hang out with other inspiring and light gold female attorneys, be sure to join the legally bliss community at legally And be sure to follow me on Instagram at Suzan Hixon. See you next time.

Building and Securing a Legacy with Sara Ovando

sara ovando

Mindset, Podcast

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