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Mom Owned Law Firm Interview with Chelsie M. Lamie

We’re thrilled to be running another round of Mom-Owned Law Firm Profiles where we celebrate mom lawyers who have chosen to own, not loan their talent. Today, welcome Chelsie Lamie, owner of Law Office of Chelsie M. Lamie, P. A., a small firm in Safety Harbor, Florida. After several years working in the insurance industry and then as an associate and partner in a personal injury firm, Chelsie made the leap and opened her firm in 2016. Just three years later, the firm has grown to a five-employee operation. Not only has Chelsie found success for herself, but she prides herself on helping her team members to advance. 

To view past Mom-Owned Law Firm Profiles, click here.

Money Quote:  [Starting a firm] is the best thing I’ve ever done for my own career and it’s positively affecting the careers of my team members.  I only wish I had done it sooner.

What is your name?

Chelsie M. Lamie

Law School attended and year of graduation.

 Stetson University College of Law – 2007

Name, location(s) and URL of Law Firm.

Personal Injury Law Office of Chelsie M. Lamie, P. A.  – Safety Harbor, FL – www.chelsielamie.com

How long has your firm been in operation?

 3 years

Summarize your work experience, if any, prior to opening your firm. Both as a lawyer or prior to becoming a lawyer.

 Insurance adjuster for an international insurance company.

Insurance defense lawyer immediately after law school graduation.

Personal Injury Trial Attorney (exclusively Plaintiffs PI) since 2008. 

    Associate 2008-2010

    Partner 2010-2016

Opened my own law firm in 2016.

Why did you decide to start your own law firm?

 I had a 2 year old and a 6 month old and I was ready to completely take charge of my own destiny.  I needed more flexibility and wanted full decision making of the mission and direction of my firm.  

What practice areas does your firm concentrate on?

 Personal Injury

How large is your firm?

 5 employees & me

Do you practice full time or part time?

 Full time

How many children do you have and what ages are they? Two boys ‚ages 3 and 5

Has becoming a mom influenced your decision to start or continue to operate your own law firm? If so, how?

 100%!  Being a mom has changed me as a person and as an attorney.  It’s definitely changed me as a boss as well.  When I opened my own law firm, I immediately created a baby friendly office policy.  Moms (and dads) have 6 weeks paid maternity leave and can baby wear when they return to the office after leave until 1 year.  I opened a nursery in the office as well.  We have a nanny three days a week and on those days my team can bring in their children ages 1-4.  The other two days moms/dads are allowed to work remote if they don’t have childcare. 

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?

 My husband is disabled so he doesn’t participate in the firm other than as a cheerleader.  I’ve had to outsource many things in order to focus on my practice (like grocery delivery, housekeeping, pest control, lawn care, pool maintenance, etc.). 

What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership as a mom with respect to attaining work-life balance?

 Pro: Ability to create the law firm culture that supports your desires and empowers other moms (from the secretary to an associate) to build their careers without sacrificing time with their children. 

Cons: Creating this culture is time consuming and expensive.  It’s not the cheapest way to run a law firm but I have no doubt it is the best way and it has resulted in our meeting (and exceeding) our goals every year since we opened.  Our team member are leading happy, well-balanced lives and their happiness increases productivity which yields better results for our clients!

What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership from a professional standpoint?

Ownership has caused (what I expect to be a temporary) dip in income as the firm was just opened two years ago.  We are growing and making more money every year.  The flexibility and control are of course unmatched (and awesome). 

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?

 See above – our clients and colleagues all know about our baby friendly workplace.  They love it thankfully!  Yes, sometimes my children due cause me to have to cancel or reschedule something and I’m always honest about the reason. 

What was your worst or funniest child-related scheduling mishap?

 No scheduling mishaps yet, thank goodness!  Just messes.  I’ve gone to court without realizing there was dried baby spit up all over the shoulder and down the back of my suit jacket. 

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?

 I fortunately have not. 

Would you recommend to other women lawyers who have children to consider starting a law firm – and what advice would you give them?

 Yes – absolutely.  It’s the best bing I’ve ever done for my own career and it’s positively affecting the careers of my team members.  I only wish I had done it sooner. 

If you can, share the name of (or if possible recipe for) one of your family’s most reliable, easy go-to recipes:

 It’s called “Ordering out” 

Chelsie M. Lamie is the owner of Personal Injury Law Office of Chelsie M. Lamie, P. A.. You can also find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

You can find more Mom Owned Law Firm Interviews by clicking here.