Featured Biz Mama: Jennifer Guimond-Quigley
Jennifer Guimond-Quigley is a family law and estate planning/probate attorney
located in Chicago’s West Loop. Her law practice is about helping families. Whether she is helping her clients navigate challenging and life-changing situations such as divorce, custody, adoption, or the death of a loved one, or whether she is drafting estate plans for clients so that they can protect their loved ones in the event of their death or disability, she never loses sight of the reason she started her own practice. Superb client service through constant communication and knowing the importance of listening to and empathizing with her clients is the cornerstone of her business.
Jennifer and I met through a mutual friend (thanks, Lulu
!) and found that we both had West Loop offices—and toddlers of the same age.
Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.
As the owner and sole attorney of a busy law practice, I am responsible for everything from day-to-day case management to administrative functions (ie business development, accounting, clerical tasks, etc…). I do have some great individuals on my team who assist with some of the administrative tasks; otherwise I don’t think I could do it all.
What are the ages/genders of your children?
I have a 2 ½ year old daughter.
Did you start your business before or after having children? (explain why, if applicable)
I started my business in 2009, two years before my daughter came along. My husband and I waited a couple years after I started my business to have her so that I could focus on building my practice to a sustainable level before her arrival. The timing worked well for us, although I was still answering emails and phone calls during my maternity leave, so I would have liked to have more “uninterrupted” time with her those first couple of months. I ended up going back to work part-time (four days per week) when she was nine weeks old and slowly moved back to full-time by the time she turned one.
How did your business life change after having children?
I definitely got much choosier about any business development events or meetings that took me outside of regular work hours. I also became more of a night owl, finding that sometimes the only uninterrupted block of time to focus was after my little one was in bed.
Describe a typical workday.
I get to the office by 9am unless I have one or more court appearances, in which case I will usually get to the office around 11:00am. I catch up on my emails and phone calls and then I will typically have a client meeting or lunch with a colleague or other professional contact. Afternoons are usually spent doing drafting work, meeting with clients, or attending court hearings. I try to return any emails and phone calls the same day I receive them, so before leaving the office I will catch up on those. After work, I may go to a business networking event or to a Flying Solo meeting (a solo attorney resource group that I started in 2010). Most nights of the week, however, I am home by 6pm to spend time with my husband and daughter and recharge before it all starts again the next day.
What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?
Keep a work-life balance. This formula is different for everyone, so it’s about finding out what works best for you. I find that the more stressed and busy I get, the more important it is to force myself to turn off the computer for those few hours after work and on the weekends and be totally present with my husband and daughter. If I don’t get that time, I am miserable and then I’m no good to anyone!
Law Office of Jennifer Guimond-Quigley