I grew up in New City, NY, the oldest of three sisters. I graduated from Clarkstown North HS in 1984 and went to Colgate University. I didn’t know what to do after college, so I started my own computer graphics company out of my apartment, while also working part-time for my father’s Hardwood Flooring company.
After a year and half, I had a few clients, but wanted some regular work. I landed a job on Wall Street with J.P. Morgan in their Mergers and Acquisitions Department doing graphics and presentation support. While there, in the fall of 1990, I started law school at night at New York Law School.
After a year on Wall Street, I decided that Wall Street, NYC and Corporate America were not for me. I wanted to be in a place that was not as cut-throat competitive, that was slower, friendlier and warmer. I also wanted to focus on a more personal type of law than corporate. My parents were divorced when I was 14, and even though it was an amicable divorce it had a strong impact on me. I decided that I was much more suited to family law and that became my focus in school.
I stayed three more years in NY, before choosing my new home in Austin, Texas, in the summer of 1993. I did my last semester of law school at the University of Texas in Austin.
One of my courses at UT Law School was a clinic where I acted as student attorney in Child Protective Services cases. During one of those cases, I met an attorney, KC Anderson, who later became one of my closest friends. At that time, I also started looking for a job. In December 1993, I was hired by a prominent family law attorney as his first associate, who told me to study hard for the bar (that I was registered to take in February 1994) and to start work on March 1. Sadly, while I was studying for the bar in January, that attorney passed away and I never got the opportunity to work with him.
I took the bar in both NY and Texas in February 1994. While I was waiting on my results, I began looking for work again. I sought advice from a local judge who I had appeared in front of as a student attorney. She surprised me and told me that I should open my own practice. I couldn’t imagine going out on my own straight out of law school, but she encouraged me and told me that she had confidence in me.
I passed the bar in May 1994 and decided that I had nothing to lose by trying it on my own, so I did. KC and her husband (who was a prominent criminal attorney) and their friends helped me tremendously. They sent me small cases and they mentored me and advised me every step of the way. I know that I could not have done it without them.
In April 2004, my stepdaughter, came to live with us full-time, making me a full-time mother / step-mother of three children.
In 2011, I went through the unfortunate experience of divorce myself. It gave me new perspective in my practice. Although I thought I understood the emotions involved, I learned that I couldn’t truly appreciate the roller coaster of emotions that are involved, nor the long-term healing process until I had to experience it for myself. It was much more difficult than I had ever imagined.
I have found that each experience in my life has given me new perspective. Although I deal in all aspects of family law, the primary focus of my practice is on divorce and/or custody cases. When I first began as a family law attorney, I had the perspective of the child of divorced parents. Then when I married, I was able to add in the perspective of what married life is like — how it takes work and can be difficult at times. At the same time, I became a part-time stepmother — these experiences helped me come come up with creative solutions for my clients. After having lived through the emotional roller coaster of divorce myself, I have one more common experience. With all that I have experienced, I can offer realistic advice on what my clients can expect during and after divorce. I can now also present my cases in court from a very personal perspective