A few weeks ago, we introduced you to What’s for Work?, a company that helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs. We are excited to report that What’s for Work? recently interviewed our new Washington DC lead attorney, Shannon Forchheimer, about her transition from law firm life to becoming a stay-at-home mom, and then from stay-at-home mom back to work. A sneak peek is below, but check out the full interview on What’s for Work’s blog, here.
Recently, we sat down with Shannon Forchheimer, the new Lead Attorney for Montage Legal Group in Washington DC, Maryland and Virgina. We discussed her experience in having stepped away from a career in law to raise a family, only to return later with a group that offers the work-life-balance she needed.
1. During your time at Skadden, and Dickstein Shapiro law firms, what was your most successful technique in networking and building trust within the organization?
Entering any new organization is difficult and overwhelming, but going into a large law firm is an experience of its own. Fresh out of law school, naïve and vulnerable, I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I was doing. Instead of feigning confidence, I found being honest was the best policy. If I didn’t understand something, I admitted it. If I was feeling overwhelmed, I sought advice. I found that the more honest I was, the more people were willing to mentor and guide me. As a result, I felt like I was playing on a team – that people were there to support me, to build me up, and in turn I would go the extra mile to get the job done. Even having now left both of my law firms, I am proud to say that I carry with me some lifelong friends and mentors.
2. As a professional career woman, was it difficult to leave your legal career? What feelings or challenges did you experience?
At the outset of my legal career, if someone would have told me that I would quit to stay at home with two kids, I would have said you were crazy. I was driven, career oriented, and ambitious. When I got pregnant with my first son, I figured I would have to scale back a bit, but nothing prepared me for the emotions I would feel upon becoming a mother. I tried to make it work, but after having my second son, I knew I had to walk away. The work demands were just too great for me to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. The aftermath was difficult – I felt like such a large part of my identity was taken away from me. I was always Shannon, the lawyer. Then Shannon, the lawyer and mom. When I became just Shannon, the mom, it was a big adjustment. But deep down, I knew it was the right decision.
To read more of Shannon’s interview, visit the What’s for Work? interview, here.