Recently, I was reviewing some of the values and principles I shared when I sat down with Lynne Golodner of Your People LLC in 2013 to brand my new law firm. I said things like…
I have a very personal approach in law.
I do a lot of listening to get a feeling for the person and their issues.
The word compassion keeps coming to mind.
Mediation and collaboration have always been my thing.
It’s more than just a way to practice. It’s a way to work things out, outside of court, not be acrimonious.
a referral partner dinner in 2014
I did a happy dance when I read over these notes because it shows how consistent I’ve been in my legal career from the very beginning until today and beyond!!
For 10 years, these are the values which have driven the growth and expansion of Transitions Legal. The values on which the firm was built and continues to thrive and grow.
When I named my law firm, I knew I was choosing a non-traditional moniker, but I was fine with it because it expresses exactly what we do. We help clients through the legal aspects of important life transitions.
That word transitions has been important to me because it espouses my view on divorce: neither good nor bad, just a transition from one phase of life to the next. I don’t judge my clients. I help them emerge strong and with a clear focus on what can lie ahead.
I am thrilled to be celebrating ten years in business. We have grown again and again in the past decade, moved offices to fill more space, welcomed new team members, expanded our affiliations and certifications, and I am excited about what comes next.
Thank you to all of our clients for taking a risk on a non-traditional firm. They knew from the start that we heard them, we saw them, we understood what they needed, and we were dedicated to supporting their transitions fully and completely.
Today, Transitions Legal includes a core team of three (soon to grow bigger!) – and all of us are women. In honor of Women’s History Month and the recently celebrated International Women’s Day, I’ll introduce the team below, but first, let me share a bit about our culture.
When I founded Transitions Legal in 2013, it was just me and an office manager. I was new to leading a law firm, and at the beginning of defining my corporate values.
Over the years, I’ve hired associate attorneys and legal assistants, and they’ve always been women. I didn’t set out to only hire women. I just happened to get a majority of female applicants, who were talented, experienced, and eager to work for a law firm led by a strong woman lawyer.
We are definitely different from a traditional law firm.
First is our branding – we see divorce and family law as a step on a person’s life journey, not an ending nor a beginning. This perspective is compassionate and understanding as well as nuanced. We bring that complex perspective to our cases, and to caring for our clients.
But it’s more than that. My colleague, Sara Gorman Rajan, worked at an all-male-led law firm before she joined the Transitions Legal team. She’s mentioned how working for a firm founded by and operated by a woman promotes a markedly different work culture and environment.
Looking back at her previous experience, now Sara is noticing the benefit of being able to have an open dialogue with the leadership of the firm and of being included in and a part of firm development. Additionally, in the past, her case load, schedule and availability were shaped by client and partner requests; whereas now Sara appreciates the encouragement and understanding that being an attorney is not a 24 hour a day job.
My daughter Leah and me
Me with my daughter Hope and son-in-law Andrew
I made sure to create a more understanding and balanced tone for Transitions Legal. After all, I am a mother who juggled family life with my legal practice while I was raising my daughters.
We can’t always be serving clients. We must have downtime, family time, quiet time. I understand this personally, and so I make sure my team has ample balance between the demands of our work and the fresh air of their personal lives.
While money is important – we bring valuable talents and expertise to our clients for which we should be properly paid – it’s not everything. We have a process and procedures, so we can serve our clients and act from our values – which guide us to stick to knowing and understanding the law, advising in accordance with the law, having empathy and the compassion to understand a particular situation.
We believe every person deserves legal representation no matter how big or small their case. We let people be human while also being professionals. We have understanding and compassion and respect – for each other, and for our clients.
Hi! I’m Alisa, founder of Transitions Legal. I’ve been practicing family law for more than three decades. I am a strong and compassionate leader with an open mind, and I teach others to cultivate strength to endure difficult times.
I like to make change and to see change – and one of the ways I am hoping to accomplish both in my area of practice is to mentor newer attorneys and to bring insight to attorneys and clients alike about the benefits of alternative processes to dissolve a marriage and to resolve conflict.
I live with my cat, Sunny, (and my Peloton bike), and am the mother to two strong, independent and beautiful daughters and a wonderful son-in-law.
Photo by Lynne Golodner
Sara Gorman Rajan
Sara joined Transitions Legal in 2021 as an associate attorney, bringing 17 years of experience in family law. A resident of Shelby Township, Mich., Sara has worked at law firms throughout metro Detroit, served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Hon. Helene J. White at the Michigan Court of Appeals, and, in law school, interned with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office under the tutelage of Nancy J. Diehl.
Sara is passionately committed to ensuring that people experiencing family law issues have proper access to the legal system. She understands that this area of practice is all too often where people need attorneys the most and can afford them the least. As such, Sara makes sure that all of her clients are aware of alternatives to transitional divorce proceedings and helps them make the best choice for their particular situation.
The mother of three boys, and with a grandchild on the way, Sara spends her free time reading and with family and friends.
Photo by Lynne Golodner
As Legal Assistant and Office Manager, Zoe brings five years of experience in family law and a lifelong fascination with the legal system. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University in 2016 and will finish law school in 2023.
Zoe considers herself a “legal geek;” she loves watching the Michigan Supreme Court oral arguments on YouTube and claims she hasn’t missed one since Justice Richard Bernstein assumed his position on the bench. Zoe is passionate about serving less privileged individuals and hopes to pursue a career focusing on appellate work defending wrongfully accused indigent clients.
Zoe lives with her boyfriend, two cats, and a rabbit, and spends her free time cross-stitching, reading post-modern American fiction and legal opinions, doing puzzles, and, of course, watching Supreme Court oral arguments on YouTube.
Photo by Melanie Reyes
Although Lynne doesn’t work in my office, she is definitely part of my team!
Understanding that engaging a publicist for marketing was a monumental leap for me to take professionally, when we began our work together, Lynne told me to think of her as one of my “employees,” she was there to do the work for me that needed to be done to grow my solo practice into a thriving, boutique family law firm.
Lynne continues to be my right-hand at maintaining the public image of Transitions Legal! After creating our branding and helping to establish the story for my law firm, Lynne has managed all marketing for Transitions Legal since 2013. She’s also become one of my best friends.
Lynne is founder of Your People LLC, a marketing company that grew out of her experience as a nationally-known journalist. She is the author of eight books, a revered writing coach, and the mother of four.
As in any business branding exercise, I worked with mypublic relations/marketing consultantto look for the right words to reflect the values and services my business has to offer. The name of a business should tell you more than just what it does or who it is – it should be iconic, something that builds brand awareness and leaves a lasting impression that stands out from the crowd of competitors.
Although not necessarily the “norm” for law firms, this concept struck a chord with me, and I hope that’s what happens with my brand.
As a divorce attorney and mediator with more than two decades of legal experience, I want my clients to know that I am here for them through the major, and sometimes tumultuous, transition of life we call “divorce.” And, I can and will help them emerge on the other side intact, confident and eyes-forward.
I didn’t go to law school thinking divorce would be my specialty. But because of some formative experiences with divorce, a neighbor whose compassionate approach to family law inspired me, and a natural proclivity to wanting to help others, I ended up gravitating toward this niche.
I’m glad I did. It is incredibly satisfying for me to work with someone during their hour of need and see them emerge strong from a challenging time. My main work is not just to make a divorce happen; it’s to empower my clients to move forward in their lives.
The renowned Austrian composer Gustav Mahler once said, “The real art of conducting consists in transitions.”
It’s easy to play the notes in front of you and to continue with a movement that has a familiar flow.
It’s another thing altogether to seamlessly shift from loud to soft, big music to subtle music. What happens in between misery and joy can make all the difference.
And that’s what I do every day.
In my practice, I always felt like I was helping families in transition move from one phase of life to another but I never put this message out there. It’s important for people to know that going through a divorce is a transition – for them and for their family – not an end but the beginning of a new movement that they alone can compose, as beautifully and inspiring as they see fit.