Season 1, Episode 016

In this episode of Legally Blissed Conversations, we are joined by Jeralyn Lawrence, the Managing Member and Founder of Lawrence Law, who devotes her litigation practice to matrimonial, divorce, and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator, and arbitrator. With an astounding list of awards and recognition behind her, Jeralyn continues to lead the way in her field. Today, serving as the President of the New Jersey State Bar Association, she strives to proactively support and create change for lawyers as they navigate this ever-changing, typically stressful career path.

Shownotes

Website: https://lawlawfirm.com/attorney/jeralyn-lawrence/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeralynLaw

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeralynlawrence/

Instagram:@lawlawfirm

Transcript

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 blessed podcast and I would love to welcome Miss Geralyn Lawrence Jerilyn represents clients with matrimonial and family law needs, including divorce litigation, mediation and arbitration, custody and parenting time issues. alimony and child support separation and property settlement agreements, adoption and guardianship advice. Domestic Partnership matters under the Domestic Partnership Act, domestic violence and sexual abuse in alimony. She handles matters ranging from the simple and straightforward the complex and complicated having involves significant income and assets, including representations of celebrities, professional athletes, and high profile individuals. She takes great pride and care and helping her clients through difficult personal matters. Welcome again. Geralyn. Thank you so much for being here with me. Your bio is unbelievable. You’re also the founder of your own law practice, Lawrence law, divorce and family lawyers. It’s clear to me that you really have a passion for what you do. And I would love to know what has inspired you or who has inspired you to keep pushing through all of these years.

Jeralyn: Well, thank you, Susie, thank you for having me. I think it’s important for anybody in any job, whatever it is that they’re doing, to make sure that they’re passionate about, because you spend so much time at work. And if you’re not passionate about it, it shows you really cannot fake passion. So I am passionate about what I do. And I think where that really came from is my father is a retired juvenile detective. So I grew up with the police officer as a father, always talking the law with him. As a child, I thought for sure I would be a prosecutor. That was what my goals were. So I interned at the prosecutor at a county prosecutor’s office, I interned at the United States Attorney’s Office. So I thought that’s what I would do. And then I ended up in the family law world. I also had watched a bed, a movie the burning bed with Farrah Fawcett. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that movie, but Farrah Fawcett was in a movie. And she was a victim of domestic violence and routinely, regularly beaten and tortured by her husband, and she ended up killing him, burning him as he slept. And when I saw that movie, I had no idea that domestic violence was such an issue in our country. And so I thought that that’s really what I was going to do. I was going to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence. And then in law school, I ended up in the Family Law Clinic. And now I’m a family lawyer. So I still am dealing with domestic violence issues, but also as they relate to divorces and family law related issues.

Suzi: How old were you when you first saw that movie?

Jeralyn: I want to say it was probably college years. But I knew I had wanted to be a lawyer. Since at least sixth grade. I remember standing outside. I remember being outside my middle school library and had just completed like a career questionnaire as to what I want it to be. And I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. And I have three kids. I tell them that they’re already signed up for law school. I said, I’ve signed you up for basketball, football in law school. It’s just a great degree to have. So I hope that they all follow me and in my footsteps. They don’t have to do necessarily what I do if they want to. That’s great, but I think it’s a great degree. So I’ve known for a long time and again, I think it’s because of always talking to my dad about His day and what his life looked like and analyzing, you know, everyday situations that he had to face and I just I loved the application of the lock to it.

Suzi: Wow, you’re there’s a lot of successes that you have in your bio. Your named a finalist as lawyer of the year in 2015 2019, New Jersey, legal Trailblazer 220 mentor of the year, you’ve been one of the New Jersey Super Lawyers, I can go on and on. What are you most proud of, in all of these accomplishments that you’ve had over your career and why?

Jeralyn: I’m think on those a couple, I think what really makes me proud is how my kids view me. And when I opened up my own law firm, I had been in a larger firm for about over 20 years. And when we decided to open up Lawrence law, you know, that they’re very proud. So that’s very rewarding. I think the relationships that I’ve built with other lawyers, that is, my colleagues, some of them have turned into my best friends. So that’s been wonderful. From a case standpoint, there’s nothing more fulfilling than having a client and on an initial consultation, and they can barely get through it. They’re weeping, just tears running down their face, tissues everywhere, and they’re broken. And then by the end of the case, you know, they’ve, they’re excited about their new journey, they’re excited about that next path that they’re going to take. And so that is really rewarding, you know, to take this broken person, and let them understand their power, and the blessings that that marriage had, and to embrace those so that you don’t become angry and bitter. But know that this person or this relationship happened for a reason, whatever that is, let’s find that silver lining. And oftentimes, it’s the kids. Now, for this relationship, you wouldn’t have, you know, these precious to kids that you have. So focus on that don’t focus on, oh, I wish I never met that person, because then you wouldn’t have those great gifts. And I can see people that come out of the divorce process when they’re angry and bitter. It just closes them off, to being happy. But if I can help them, shepherd them through to a different stage in their life. And that’s what I asked them right, in our initial consultation, where do you want to be in a year? That’s the most important thing, where do you want to be, and let’s strategize and try to help you get there. And if they can stay focused on that, and not focused on the past. So that’s, that always gives me a great sense of pride each and every time, you know, and I still get holiday cards from clients. 10 years later, 15 years later, hey, you know, this is what my life looks like. I mean, that brings me a lot of joy. I also love I’m going to be president of the New Jersey State Bar Association in a couple of weeks. I’m currently the president of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of matrimonial lawyers. And the greatest gift that those organizations that those organizations allow me to do is identify problematic areas in the practice of law and have the power to try to advocate for change. I don’t like I don’t like when people just complain about things. Let’s complain about things. But let’s offer a solution. And in those leadership roles, you can try to effectuate change. And that’s pretty exciting. So I know I’ve said a couple of things. But that’s really I think, what would make me the most proud.

Suzi: Okay, that that’s amazing. And I’m super proud of you. And I just want to say congratulations on on your upcoming physician. That’s amazing. One of the questions I have here that I did want to ask you is what is the problem you want to solve? Like you are now in that position, right? Or you are going to be moving into it and you’ve already had leadership roles, but what is the problem that you want to solve?

Jeralyn: My, my main goal, my main theme for my presidency is going to be putting lawyers first. That’s our goal. And I struggled with even that title because oftentimes you say putting lawyers first and people have a visceral reaction to that, you know, they think negatively of lawyers or like you’re always first but the truth is we’re not. We put our clients first we put the courts first we Put our families first we put our colleagues first, we put everybody but lawyers first. And my opening line or close to my opening line in my installation speech is going to quote Desmond Tutu. And what he said was, we need to stop going into the river to pull people out, we need to look upstream and find out why they’re falling in. And I’d like to look upstream and find out why lawyers are falling in. We have now, so many wellness initiatives, we have a lawyer assistance program for lawyers who are struggling with addiction issues and mental illness. And all of those are wonderful programs, and we need them and we need more of them. But those treat the symptom of why people are falling in, I want to know why they’re falling in, I have some thoughts as to why they’re falling in, I think, you know, lawyers are governed by an ethics committee. And the Ethics Committee was designed to protect the public, I think there’s been a shift in the approach of our ethics committees to not just only protecting the public, but also to punish the lawyer, which I think is far afield. There are cases that now say lawyers have to stay into a case and handle cases for free, even if they’re being abused by a client or not, the client is not taking their advice. So that’s pretty stressful. From an attorney’s point of view, one of our largest sources of referrals is online. And so you will have clients will leave a negative review about some of my colleagues, and you can’t do anything about it, you’re pretty much handcuffed as to what you can respond. I don’t think that’s fair. And I think, you know, that adds to the stress. So I really want to look at what is harming lawyers, what is causing them so much stress? And how can we fix it?

Suzi: I love that, that this is just right up my out my alley, because this is something that is really, really near and dear to my heart, is the really just the mental health issues of lawyers in general, but especially women, I think that we do take on a lot. We’re the ones that have the children clean, and you know, they’ve had their dinner, and we sacrifice ballet recitals, you know, for our career, and I don’t see men doing that as much now. I mean, with that said, you know, it’s it, men definitely struggle with mental health issues, as well. So I don’t want to, you know, detract from that at all. But I think you make a really great point at, like, how can we identify the source of this problem or the sources of this problem? As a young lawyer, I was constantly afraid of malpractice, you know, screwing something up like that, you know, it was grounded into me, like, the repercussions of making a mistake. Right. So unfortunately, I had I had, I had, you know, a few great mentors, I had a couple of attorneys that I worked for that weren’t so great, and I wouldn’t necessarily consider them mentors. So I think a lot of this too, is what are we and how are we grooming is that the mentoring, you know, the young lawyers that are coming up in their own practices?

Jeralyn: Well, I mean, that’s true. And what what we say in my office is, you’re gonna make a mistake, a we are making so if there’s oftentimes I say, we should change how we bill, we should not build by the hour, we should build by decision. We are making so many important decisions, and sometimes with not as much information as we would want, but we’re relying on what our client is telling us. I feel like I make a mistake a day. I’m sure that I do. And I’m learning and growing every day. And what I try to say to everybody on my team is let’s talk about it. If you feel like you made a mistake, we can fix it. It’s when you feel like you made a mistake, and you can’t talk about it or own up to it. That’s where it just kind of takes on a life of its own and that’s where you can find a problem. But I don’t think anyone’s intentionally make them making a mistake, you’re doing the best that you can with the information that you have. And if it ends up that it didn’t go the way that you planned well, let’s, let’s tackle it. And let’s, let’s address it, let’s fix where it went south. So I think always trying to stress open lines of communication is is key. And I think you do need that mentorship, you do need somebody that you can be your authentic self and say, Look, I have I was just asked this question, I have no idea. I don’t know where to start. What would you do without being judged without being feel like you’re going to be labeled something? And I think women do that. I think women are such really good collaborators. I think we’re so much more mindful of reaching back and pulling up. And I mean, I hope so I hope that we’re doing a better job. But that I think we talk a lot about doing that. So I think it’s on top of mind for for women to do that. I also think this younger generation, I’m gonna sound old, is different. I don’t think they tolerate what we have to tolerate. I really don’t I mean, I hear that I didn’t have to live this. But I hear stories of people before me. Women were not allowed to wear pants to court. While I wear pants. You know what I mean? I so I don’t you know, they weren’t to me, it’s a silly example. But I don’t miss anything for my kids. And I’ve been told stories of women had to miss things for their kids, I don’t think your generation is going to miss anything. I think they’re just to be like, I’m going, I’m going to see my kids or whatever, you know, whatever it is that and unapologetically. And I think that that’s a wonderful shift. I think the pandemic has the silver lining, also in this pandemic. And remote work has been such a blessing just to be able to be the unzoom with you to do this. Amen. Right. 

Suzi: Yeah right. Sure. Yeah,

Jeralyn: I didn’t have to leave my office, you do not leave out, you know, you’re not leaving your space. And you can be home and do this, you can have your kids work in nearby if need be. It’s just changed the practice for the better. I know, it’s reduced my stress I was I’ve been home more now, in the past two years, than I’ve ever been. So it’s my work life balance has markedly improved with the advent of Microsoft Teams and zoom and that becoming commonplace. I don’t know if you’re seeing that in your life. But I’m absolutely seeing that.

Suzi: Do you feel like the pandemic gave you an opportunity to sort of reflect on your practice and where you wanted your team and your business to, to go going forward?

Jeralyn: It definitely did. I mean, particularly in those early days, those terrifying days, where you had no idea what was going to happen, and you’re worried about going out of business, you know, what’s going to happen with clients? You know, I think it made you, you know, refocus on what was important. It also taught us a different way of of how to practice, you know, one of my colleagues lives down in South Jersey, she’s been to the office, I can’t it’s not even three times since the pandemic, and she’s doing a great job working from home, she’s much more efficient, she’s less stressed, because she’s, she’s lost that entire commute. And she’s just as productive. So I think it did, I think it gave everybody that opportunity to take a look and, and do some soul searching as to what’s important. And opened up our eyes to a different way to practice.

Suzi: Yeah, yeah. So I guess every now and then, you know, we do have to look at the silver lining to things like this.

Jeralyn: Yeah, you know. And I think you have to ask yourself, what is worth going back to? What is worth it? What’s worth getting in the car and driving an hour and a half to sit in a meeting? That could have been an email to drive an hour and a half back? Right. And so I think people are going to continue to do that. You know, the the stressful thing, I think for lawyers, when they’re weighing getting back into court. I mean, I’m, you know, it’s going to be dreadful, because you sit for all day, your emails are just stacking up, stacking up, stacking up. So now you’re in court all day. You come home at five o’clock. You have a whole nother day ahead of you of managing emails, right, versus zoom, or telephone or whatever you’re doing through your office. As you know, when I’m done, having the pleasure of talking to you, I’m going to be able to go check a couple emails, you know, stay on top of my day. So by the time my day ends, my day ends. Now, I’m still going to pack work up from home, whether it’s writing a blog, or whatever I need to do and work from home, but I’m working from home. And my work day is essentially done. Very different when when we go back into the courtroom, and you’re sitting next to a client eight hours a day waiting for the judge to take your case. I don’t look forward to that. And so and I think our courts are receptive to saying as much on the virtual platforms as possible, I think trials will go back. But so i think i think i think this pandemic brought about real, significant, impactful change.

Suzi: Yeah, in some really good ways. Yeah. I mean, when you become president of the Bar Association, in New Jersey, will you be able to have a voice and how courts are managed there at all in terms of like being able to do more remote type work?

Jeralyn: I think so. And I think we’ve already had our voice. The court has been wonderful. They’ve been having multiple what they call listening sessions. And they will listen to many, many lawyers talk about the pluses and minuses of remote pluses and minuses of going back to court. When the pandemic first hit the State Bar started a pandemic Task Force, a practice of law Taskforce. And we met with multiple sections, put together reports to send to the court as to that very issue. And since we’ve issued that report, the court has had, like I said, those various listening sessions. So absolutely. It is most definitely a collaborative effort. And the court does listen to the Bar Association listens to individual attorneys and wants that feedback.

Suzi: Wow, that’s great. Yeah, that’s amazing.

Jeralyn: So it’s important to have a seat at the table. Yeah. And that’s what you hope for.

Suzi: Yeah, it’s important, have a seat at the table. And when you do, it’s important to express your concern and your you know, your voice your concern, or, you know, you have to speak up if you want any type of change.

Jeralyn: So I am from the client perspective, and this is what we’ve kind of hit home with with with the court as well. I’ve done so many consultations on somebody’s lunch hour. You know, where they didn’t have to lose a day of work and the old days pre pandemic, people taking off at least a half a day of work drive here, sit with me for an hour drive back. They don’t have to do that. They’re not hiring babysitters anymore to be able to meet with with lawyers. And I think the Court has said, you know, appearances in court are up because it’s so much easier for them to dial on up on Zoom. I’m telling you from the Bar Association perspective, participations in our sections and committees attendance at things is up, do I think people are still yearning for certain in person events they are. So I think we need to find that balance we do. There is nothing like an in person event to help you build relationships. That’s what this practice is about. You have to build relationships and you do need in person opportunities to do that. But I think we’re seeing that that needs to be more built around an event. You know, some kind of whether it’s the media a meeting where you’re going to a local location my we’re going to Key West in November for our mid year meeting. We’re going to Atlantic City next month for the installation. We’re going to the Borgata I think a lot of people are going to show up for those things. But do they need to drive to somewhere to have a meeting where you can just hop on Zoom? I don’t think so. So it’s finding that balance it’s finding that equilibrium?

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Suzi: Yeah, it’s definitely finding the balance, I definitely have noticed, I’m a pretty introverted person, but I have noticed that I am craving some, a little bit more like in person networking, right. Like, I think that being in the same room with people and having some type of like commonality for being in that room is is important. But when you’re talking about just like, there, there’s no reason that you and I should have to like travel, and be in the same room together to do something like this just had this conversation. So thank God for the beauty of technology, right? I mean, I guess it could kind of be a love hate relationship. But here we are.

Jeralyn: So it’s true. But with everything, it’s an it’s an opportunity to learn and grow, will find the balance. You know, me if meetings and things like that more routine, stay on Zoom, great. But networking, I mean, if you’re even at a meeting, it’s very limited opportunity to network, because you’re sitting in a meeting listening to people, right? But if you can go somewhere for two hours, grab a drink, and talk and meet people, I think people are absolutely craving to do that.

Suzi: Right. So I’m curious, I’m gonna I want to go back just a little bit, just a couple years. When you were a young lawyer fresh out of law school, did you work for a law firm? Did you? And did you have a mentor who that you attribute some of your success to?

Jeralyn: So I graduated law school, I did a clerkship, and then I went to a large firm in Somerset County, the largest firm in my home county. And I was there for 20 something years, and I went to work for one woman who’s wonderful. But as soon as I got the one that assumed I was there, handful of months, and she decided her boyfriend moved to Chicago. So she followed him to Chicago. So I was pretty much left on my own. I remember crying, I’m like, What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Yeah, so I did have her from afar, and certainly for a short period of time before she moved. So I can’t say that. So yeah, so I so I had her as a mentor. And then I met other colleagues along the way that were wonderful mentors. So I was more being mentored by my adversaries, or my colleagues opposite me in a case. So I was learning and growing, you know, making mistakes, and figuring things out. And but, you know, I, I read a lot, I read everything, I read everything, you know, every case that came down, I read, because I really thought, that’s how you become a great lawyer is, what niche Do you want to do, and then be the best at it. So I wanted to do that I wanted to teach about, I wanted to speak about it. And that’s what I say to you know, some of some of my team now, like, they have the beauty of, they can see how I practice. And they may like a couple of things that I do, they may say, oh, I want to do that. Or they may say I don’t like how she does that. And don’t do that. But then they have the opportunity. We have eight lawyers here now to look at someone else, how they do it, and take the good and bad and mold it into what makes you comfortable. So So I had a little bit of a different journey. I also had at my old firm, one of the named partners was a an extremely gifted and top matrimonial attorney, so I always had him also to bounce ideas off of I was always a little he was much older than me and I was always very intimidated by just how smart he was. So it wasn’t until I was more comfortable in my own skin, to have him mentor me just because I was always a little intimidated to ask him things.

Suzi: So that’s, I think that’s your like a really great example just of someone who can just admit that like I was a young lawyer, and I was intimidated by this partner, right like and but here you are, like you’re you’re you’ve really like grown into yourself. I you know, like as a as an individual. And as a professional. And you started your own practice and you’re you’re so successful. What was the impetus that for you to start your current law firm.

Jeralyn: So I was on the I was the head of my department and out of the family law department there. And I was on the Management Committee and on the compensation committee, and I was the top biller in the firm and brought in the most money, you saw that money going through your life. And, you know, I still, yeah, I still did not feel taken seriously. When I made suggestions, I still I still felt overlooked. And there wasn’t one particular management committee meeting that I really felt overlooked. And I just, I had it, I literally put my pen down. And I said, there’s just got to be a better way. And I had always thought of going on my own, it was always a dream of mine. And I actually looked probably 15 years earlier. And I got I was starting to do the to do sheet of the to do list of what you had to do. And I got to down to the postage machine that I needed to buy my own postage machine. And that totally overwhelmed me, I was like,

Suzi: I can’t, it’s gone too far.

Jeralyn: This guy’s was pulled it up the list. I said, You know what, I have a mailroom here. I don’t need to worry about, I just said I can’t I can’t deal with. But then it got to the point where I just needed to deal with that. And I talked to my team here. And I said, this is really what I want to do. And they said, we’re in. And every single member of my team came with me was and, you know, we’re just, it’s different. Now, you know, if I haven’t if I want to do a commercial on TV, I do a commercial,

Suzi: you don’t have to go through five layers of partners to get something done.

Jeralyn: I don’t feel like I can lay in bed at night and say, hey, you know, I, I want to I think I want a jingle. Okay, let’s, I don’t have to juggle. It can be the dumbest idea. And maybe it doesn’t work. But it doesn’t matter. Because it’s my idea. And if it works great. And if it doesn’t work. Okay, it’s okay. Yeah, it’s perfectly fine. You. Yeah. And you just have the flexibility, you know, nothing is done. There’s no decision by committee. And sometimes that’s a little daunting. Sometimes I prefer that, but I don’t have that. So that was really the impetus of it was feeling overlooked, wanting to make sure that me and the team’s financial security was protected and secure. And now we’re, you know, we’re a boutique, we’re a much smaller firm. But this is all that we do. This is all that we specialize in. And everybody’s rowing the boat the same way, which is good.

Suzi: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So okay, in addition, you I know that you have a lot on your plate already. And you know, you have this amazing position coming up. I’m curious to like, what is next for you in terms of like, the vision for your law firm.

Jeralyn: Vision for my law firm is really to just continue what we’re doing, just try to be the best at what we can, you know, make sure everybody is happy professionally. And personally, I don’t envision getting much bigger, we did just buy a building. So we are starting renovating a building, we’re gonna have our own building and watch on two doors down from work. So that’s exciting. You know, being a tenant is not very fun, you know, so that, that’ll be an exciting part of the journey. But I’m surrounded by really great people, I don’t envision us getting much bigger than we are. Just trying to make sure everybody’s happy and healthy and enjoying what they do. Once I’m done with my bar presidency, I’ll probably just take a break for a day or two a day. And then I’ve actually been toying with the idea of getting involved in politics.

Suzi: Okay. Okay. That’s awesome. I’m so excited to follow your journey.

Jeralyn: So thank you. So we’ll see, I don’t know, it’s either gonna be more, you know, focus on retire and get to the beach earlier. Sure. You know, try to effectuate change, you know, and I just think we need more women in leadership and, and in government, and particularly, I’m very moved by what’s going on in Ukraine. And I just, it’s just depressing every day. And I just feel like if there were more women, I mean, I think you’re praying is wonderful. I just, and I admire that leadership. And he’s been doing a great job. I just wonder if there are more women leaders in the world, country and state. What would it be like? Yeah, I saw a picture I guess it was yesterday of the honestly was the finish and and Swedish, maybe prime ministers, presidents were with him were with Zelensky.

Suzi: Yeah. Which I thought was really like, kind of interesting. But you know, I just, I feel like women in these leadership roles like, we have to, we have to get there like we have to get there women just, I feel like we take a very empathetic approach to, to how we deal with really complex situations like, you’re like when you were talking earlier our conversation about like sitting down with your client, and like asking them what they wanted a year from now, like I could tell at that time, like you are genuinely empathetic with your clients. Right? It’s not just about strategy and winning in court. And when not being opposing counsel and the gamesmanship, it’s really just digging into, you know, how, what can we do to make this person’s life better in a year? And I mean, I really felt that from you, I felt that energy from you.

Jeralyn: Well, thank you. I mean, that to me, what matters. And that’s why I say to my clients, there’s really no winners or losers in what I do. And I tell them that I say, in the initial console, I said, I’m not a criminal lawyer, where there’s a winner or loser, you’re they’re going to jail. You’re not. I’m not a civil lawyer, where you’re either winning money or you’re not. I’m a Family Lawyer, and we’re going to win issues. And we’re going to lose issues all at the same time. Because it’s a compromise. And you need to give up things to get things. And we can’t think about it as winning or losing because that’ll drive you crazy. Like I have people come in, you know, like I’m hiring you. Because I hear you when everything, you know, you’re a barracuda, you’re a shark. I said, Well, I could be, I could be on certain issues. That’s not ever where I want to start. You know, my goal is to try to help you find peace and a compromise that you can live with. And I think, you know, as long as you’re manage managing their expectations and letting them know that they appreciate that

Suzi: they have to feel a sense of comfort sitting down with you, though.

Jeralyn: You hope so, you know, I try I’ve been divorced. So I know what that terrors like, when my daughter was eight weeks old. So I remember sitting on my bed crying so much my nose would bleed and being totally terrified. Whether my daughter was eight weeks, as I said, what was gonna happen with her was, like, going to have to turn her over for parenting time. So I know, I know what that feels like. I know what heartbreak feels like, I know that that’s a real thing. That I was in pain, physical, physical pain. Yeah, like, and it took me a good year for my head to get out of the fog. But I also realized in hindsight, that as I was hurting, I was healing too. And one day, I would take two steps forward, the next day, I’d take three steps back, but then the next day, I would take 10 steps forward. And then the next day eight steps back. So I was starting to get ahead of the curve eventually, and let them know that the same is true for them.

Suzi: I’m curious if you could look back at you on like, right when you got out of law school? What piece of advice would you give? Like 25 year old? Geralyn? I’m throwing out I’m assuming you graduated 25? It could have been 30. I’m not sure. When you when you graduated from law school, what little piece of advice could would you love to give her enjoy the suits that you’re wearing now?

Jeralyn: Because they’re not going to fit? Got your fat then? So I would say my You looked really good back then. Yep. I think my my advice that that would that would be part of it. It would be just Just be yourself. You know, still everyday today. You know, it’s funny, you use the word it’s I’m still intimidated today by people, you know, I still have some sense of intimidation and insecurity. And every day going through, could I every motion I argue, can I said this better? Sure. I’ve done that better. And I’m going to do that to the day I die. And I’ve just accepted that. And I’ve and I think if I don’t get that nervous stomach before a motion, that I’m complacent, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. So I’ve learned to channel that as adrenaline as getting me prepared. And I think what I would tell myself way back then is just go for it. You know, don’t let anything hold you back, even those voices in your head that makes you feel insecure, doubt yourself or feel like you’re not the smartest person in the room. And I know, I’m not very many times, but I’m going to work hard, I’m going to do my best. And to just, you know, just go for it, whatever you feel like doing this, just do it without reservation. And guys do it. They don’t care. They don’t care. They just seize the day, whether they’re qualified or not, you know, when we sit here, and we second guess ourselves every way up and down.

Suzi: But we should have the table where the damn suit or the damn suit?

Jeralyn: And I think, you know, we can have it all. Like, I’m not one of those believers that think we can have it all. I disagree when I hear women say that. Can we have it all at the same time? Maybe not? Do we have to surround ourselves with a really great village to be able to have it all? Absolutely. You need to make sure there’s no weak links in your village. Absolutely. But you can have it all just what is it that you want and go for it?

Suzi: I love that. Thank you so much. A final question is do people call you J law?

Jeralyn: They do. They call me J law? Sometimes people call me Jennifer Lawrence. I said look if you’re gonna call me Jennifer Lawrence when I gotta look like her to I gotta make the money she makes but but no, they do call me J law. Actually the current president of the Bar Association now call me J law. It’s funny.

Suzi: This has been a lot of fun and best of luck on your upcoming appointment and potential political endeavors like thank you for hanging out with me J law. Thanks. Thanks. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today on legally bliss conversation. 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 blessed.com And be sure to follow me on Instagram at Suzan Hixon. See you next time.

Putting Lawyers First with Jeralyn Lawrence

jeralyn lawrence

Mindset, Podcast