This week, the MyShingle profile series continues with two more Mom-Owned Law Firms, as we celebrate mom lawyers who have chosen to own, not loan their talent. Today, we’ll hear from Rennee Dehesa, a partner in a small trusts and estates practice.
The Money Quote: DO IT (start a firm) and don’t look back!
What is your name? Rennee Dehesa
Law School attended and year of graduation. California Western School of Law
Name, location(s) and URL of Law Firm. Rennee Dehesa, Ventura County, California www.venturaestatelegal.com
How long has your firm been in operation? 30
Summarize your work experience, if any, prior to opening your firm. .Both as a lawyer or prior to becoming a lawyer. Associate attorney at various small to medium firms
Why did you decide to start your own law firm? When my son was 4 months old and my good friend asked me to join her as partner.
What practice areas does your firm concentrate on? Trusts and Estates
How large is your firm? 3 partners 3 staff
Do you practice full time or part time? Full time
How many children do you have and what ages are they? One aged 3
Has becoming a mom influenced your decision to start or continue to operate your own law firm? If so, how? Absolutely, I knew that being an employee would be short-lived and I wanted to have the freedom to take time off and have a flexible schedule without having to see the boss’ grumpy face when I returned.
What is your marital status? Married
If you are married, what role has your spouse played with respect to your practice and mutual family obligations and conversely, what impact has owning your firm had on your marriage and role as a mom? I do about 75% but he is in education so he helps out when he needs to and he is home for the summers so he takes care of our son during that time.
What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership as a mom with respect to attaining work-life balance? Pros are the flexibility and ability to make my own schedule the Cons are having to generate my own business which is really stressful because I never know if the phone will ring or the door will open with a new client.
What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership from a professional standpoint? I have greater control over the people I work with in terms of client selection and I have a certain degree over the amount of money I want to make. The con is that the hustle is real, and it is HARD.
How open are you with colleagues and clients about your family? Do you tell them about your kids? Do you ever use child-related activities as an excuse for changing your schedule, and if so, are you open in sharing those reasons? Very open. We are a small legal community and many of us female lawyers have families.
What was your worst or funniest child-related scheduling mishap? Having my kid screaming bloody murder in the office next to me while I had clients signing an estate plan.
As a mother who owns a law firm, have you ever encountered discrimination from colleagues or judges or been taken less seriously or treated with less respect? How did you respond? Not directly but I know I have. I know there may be colleagues who have not referred a case to me or a client thinking I couldn’t handle it time wise.
Would you recommend to other women lawyers who have children to consider starting a law firm – and what advice would you give them? DO IT and don’t look back.
If you can, share the name of (or if possible recipe for) one of your family’s most reliable, easy go-to recipes: Ground beef and frozen mixed veggies with brown rice. Done in 20 minutes with an Instapot. BUY AN INSTAPOT.
See more Mom Owned Law Firm Profiles.