By Amy Guldner
While attending the very inspirational “Main Event” of the annual Governor and First Lady’s Women’s Conference this week, I couldn’t help but reflect on how well the conference’s theme describes Montage Legal Group. “It’s Time To Be An Architect of Change” was the mantra heard by 14,000 attendees, and all of the speeches and break-out sessions were focused on ways that we can be architects of change in our own lives.
According to Maria Shriver, “An architect of change is someone who sees a problem and seeks a solution.” Since its inception, Montage Legal Group has been that architect. Law firms today are being faced with challenges that will end their existence if not properly addressed, and they aren’t the only ones crying out for change. Overworked, incredibly stressed out attorneys trying to bill 2000 hours per year, develop business, be involved in their community and simultaneously have a life outside work(whether it be with their spouses/partners, children, aging parents, hobbies, interests, etc.) are shedding their share of tears as well. MLG offers a solution for both.
For law firms and solo practitioners, MLG provides experienced attorneys who can jump in on a moment’s notice to assist with an overflow of work when it’s not in the firm’s best interest to bring on more employees. For attorneys, MLG provides the opportunity to scale back and better control their workload while hopefully freeing up more time to spend with families and outside interests.
MLG attorneys are showing by example an alternative to traditional law firm life. Granted, it is not easy to walk away from a steady law firm paycheck, but as one of the conference panelists noted, we sometimes make a choice between happiness and security/success, only to find out how wrong we were about what it means to be successful.
Maria Shriver talked about some of the difficulties she faced when she gave up her “working mother” identity to be First Lady, noting that, when there is no definition for a role, we are challenged to define it for ourselves and figure out what’s truly important. Each MLG attorney truly defines for herself what her role is, and in so doing, each of us are learning what’s most important to us. We are gradually learning, as Maria Shriver encouraged the attendees to do, to realize that it’s enough to fill our own shoes and be comfortable in our own skin and with our own contradictions.
Maria Shriver ended her speech with a heartfelt and candid discussion of what she will do when her role as First Lady ends. Like Maria, MLG attorneys have been letting go of our plans and our need for certainty, opening our hearts and minds to the unknown, and starting on a journey that forges stronger, wiser and more confident selves with the courage to live our own lives.
The conference was packed with a very impressive list of speakers and panelists representing more than 150 of the world’s greatest voices, hearts and minds, but as a woman attorney myself, I was particularly delighted to see and hear Diane Sawyer talk with Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Both gave the audience a taste of their wit and sense of humor they’ve held on to despite the recent battles and losses in their own personal lives. I realize just how far women lawyers have come when Sandra Day O’Connor shares that, despite graduating in the top 3 of her class from Stanford Law School, she was unable to find a paying job because law firms did not hire women lawyers. And I love this quote Ruth Bader Ginsberg provided: “Leave tracks. Just as others have been way-pavers for your good fortune, so you should aid those who will follow in your way.”
I am so proud to be affiliated with Montage Legal Group – an empowering architect of change paving the way for the future.
Click here to watch 2010 Videos from the Women’s Conference.
Amy Leinen Guldner joined Montage Legal Group in January, 2010 after practicing for over thirteen years at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Snell & Wilmer LLP. In addition to her legal work and caring for her two young children, Amy is a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate with CASA of Orange County, mentoring and advocating in court on behalf of abused and neglected children. She also volunteers with the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s High School Mock Trial tournaments.