The Inspiration to Create Transitions Legal 10 Years Ago

my legal career has grown over the years

Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, at the beginning of Transitions Legal

When I embarked on entrepreneurship a decade ago, it seemed the next logical step in my legal career. I created Transitions Legal because I wanted to practice family law in my own way, according to my own perspective.

But I had no idea at the time that I’d build a growing, thriving firm with a talented team that continues to evolve as we receive more interest from potential clients!

It’s been a great and steady ten years. Sure, I’ve had some difficult moments and there were more instances than I’d like where I felt like I was faking it until I made it. But make it I did!

Looking back, I realize that I was inspired to hang my shingle and create my own company because I saw so many original, inspiring attorneys do the same when I was coming up. Talented lawyers who wanted to escape the protocols and bureaucracy of big firms could create a law firm that represented their approach to legal practice and map out my unique legal career.

While the law is pretty straightforward, how we interpret it varies from person to person and situation to situation. And in family law, no two divorces look exactly alike.

In the same way, no two law firms are identical. They differ according to the approaches, perspectives and experiences of the lawyers.

Transitions Legal grew out of one woman’s desire to practice on my own terms, in my own way, with a set of beliefs and values, and a perspective that I bring to family law that may not be like anyone else.

my legal career has grown as my firm has grown

A more recent picture of Alisa Peskin-Shepherd

In fact, when I branded the firm as Transitions Legal, I went my own way, with an original firm name because I wanted to communicate my values in the name of the firm. Simply put, I see divorce as a transition between one stage of life and another – not good, not bad, no judgment. So, we help clients legally transition from married to divorced.

At the time, I described my approach as “mediative” – a word I created to convey the idea of bringing my Mediation expertise and training to every family law case. Now, In Mediation, and in every one of my cases, using what I’ve learned through my study of the Insight Approach to dispute resolution, I listen carefully to the people or person in front of me, and we determine a course of action and the details of a separation or divorce that reflects their values.

When I look back at my legal journey, it makes me smile. I am inspired by the freedom I’ve had to put my mark on the practice of family law and offer clients in Michigan an unprecedented approach to divorce!

Process: Waiting in Court

Process: Waiting in Court

Process: Waiting in Court

So many times, I’ve gone to court on a motion, and I spend a lot of time sitting and waiting.

We all do.

Clients sit and wait for lawyers to negotiate. Lawyers sit and wait for referee or family counselors to make decisions.

Judges wait for referees to make recommendations that judges can rule on.

travel work

This whole process of family court is a big sit-and-wait proposition. So much waiting time, awkward, wordless, uncomfortable.

Whenever possible, I try not to go to court.

travel work

Photo by Bill Jones, Jr. on Unsplash

I mean, if we can work out a settlement in a comfortable office with hot coffee and low lighting, why not?

Doing so certainly follows the mediative approach I strive for with my practice.

When I do go to court, I find it frustrating to wait in narrow hallways, tapping fingers, leafing through papers we’ve already reviewed many times.

Is there a way to change the system?

Hopefully, we can find ways to improve the way family law happens. We’re all in this together. My goal is to be helpful to families, and I believe that’s a goal shared by referees, Friend of the Court, judges, clerks, anyone who is involved in family law.

Read more Legal Process posts

(Mediative) – What Does That Mean?

(Mediative) – What Does That Mean?

(Mediative) – What Does That Mean?

I practice mediative divorce law. What exactly does it mean to be mediative? Glad you asked. Mediative is an approach and a mindset to know that our first goal is to collaborate and work with the other side, cooperatively. You can’t always do it, but you should start out with that intention. That’s important because for the family, for your family, being mediative allows you to maintain a sense of respect for the other person. This is important especially if you have children. Think about how your children feel about your divorce; think about how your children can feel if they are aware that you’re going through this process still respecting their other parent. Listen, when a couple goes through a divorce to dissolve their marriage, it’s unrealistic to expect them to get along all of the time or even in some cases much of the time. And really, they don’t need to get along in every area. But when there are children involved, those two people are going to be connected and making joint decisions affecting their children for many years. Especially then, you want to be able to make decisions in as much harmony as possible. It makes the road less bumpy and the outcomes easier to achieve and live. Plus, all throughout their lives, no matter their age even as adults, those children are going to feel the effects of your relationship, just like they did when you were married. It helps to reduce the stress and tension during a challenging period of time. Taking a mediative approach can reduce stress tremendously. You can breathe through your process easier. You may be mad. You may be hurt. There may be unforgivable things that occurred between you which led to this break-down in the relationship. None of that matters. Once you decide to divorce, I say do it with as much dignity and respect for the other person as possible – and if not for them because that respect is not always reciprocated, then for yourself. You don’t need to look back on this period of time and wish you’d handled it with more grace.

Read more Collaborative Divorce posts