Mom Owned Law Firm Interview with Danielle Obiorah

As owner of Obiorah Fields, LLC, Obiorah has found that money flow can be inconsistent and hard to plan for. Yet, she’s also able to enjoy control over her time by choosing the areas of law she wants to focus on, and scheduling her availability around major events with her children, instead of having to use her children as an excuse to take time off.

Quote: “…it is always a balancing act to not be a workaholic and spend enough time with my children.”

What is your name?

Danielle Obiorah

Law School attended and year of graduation.

 Northeastern University 1993

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

How long has your firm been in operation?

 Since 2014

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

 Worked as counsel for the United States Postal Service in Sandy, Utah handling federal EEO and Merit System  Protection Claims 2006-2010.  Prior to that I owned a law firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Why did you decide to start your own law firm?

 Enjoy control over my time, case selection and areas of law.

What practice areas does your firm concentrate on?

 Federal Employees discrimination, wage theft & veterans disability

How large is your firm?

 2 attorney’s, 2-3 employees

Do you practice full time or part time?

 Full time

How many children do you have and what ages are they? 3 children, 21, 18 and 12

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

 Yes.  Owning my own firm gives me flexibility with my schedule.  I do not have to ask anyone for time off due to my child being sick or to attend a school activity.

What is your marital status?

 Recently divorced

If you are not married, what challenges have you faced in balancing parenthood with law practice and how do you manage?

 My former spouse helps significantly with my youngest child, however, it is always a balancing act to not be a workaholic and spend enough time with my children.

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

 Pros:  More control of time, better manage types of cases I want to handle Cons: Pay can be inconsistent

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

Definitely been able to focus on areas of law that I prefer.

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?

 Yes, I mention my kids often as appropriate.  I don’t use child-related activities as an excuse, but I do plan my schedule to accommodate my child related activities. 

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 that I am aware of

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

 Plan careful.  Money flow can be inconsistent initially, have sufficient reserves for the initial year. 

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

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