An American administration overflowing with women

An American administration overflowing with women

An American administration overflowing with women

President Joe Biden has appointed more women to his Administration than any that came before him. And, with a female Vice President, he seems to be sending an important message to the American populace.

That message is that women matter, and women can and should lead. I wholeheartedly agree!!

As history has kept women in neat little boxes and domestic roles, what were we really afraid of? The time has come to reckon with this notion of gender divide and do away with it once and for all.


Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

The right person for the job is the right person for the job, regardless of superficial details like gender, race, sexual orientation, politics or economic origin.

President Biden has nominated 12 women for Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions, including eight women of color. He also published The Biden Agenda for Women, which states as a priority, among other, full inclusion of and equality for women.

“Women — particularly women of color — have never had a fair shot to get ahead in this country,” says the President’s agenda. “Today, too many women are struggling to make ends meet and support their families, and are worried about the economic future for their children. This was true before the COVID-19 crisis, but the current global health crisis has exacerbated these realities for women.”


Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

It goes on to explain:

“For Biden, it’s a simple proposition: his daughter is entitled to the same rights and opportunities as his sons. He believes every issue is a women’s issue — health care, the economy, education, national security — but women are also uniquely and disproportionately impacted by many policies. As President, Biden will pursue an aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.”

We must ask ourselves as Americans why we would oppose such basic ideas as equal access and full opportunity.

What, exactly, makes a woman incapable of something when compared with a man? What has been so threatening about women in leadership positions?

To answer these questions fully, we must finally do away with the notion that if one person ascends the ladder of success, that does not mean that another person is pushed further down the rungs. There can be success for all people, equally and simultaneously. Until men embrace that truth, we won’t emerge onto a new landscape that is fully equitable and inclusive. The time is now to change this once and for all!!


Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

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Transitions Legal is a Female-Led Family Law Firm

Transitions Legal is a Female-Led Family Law Firm

Transitions Legal is a Female-Led Family Law Firm

When I created my own law firm, I did not do so to be a female-owned business. I simply wanted to practice in the unique way that I viewed family law, as a transition rather than an ending or a beginning, without judgment and with support for those going through this life transition.

Now that I’ve been in business for eight years, I realize that being woman-owned IS significant. As we step into Women’s History Month and approach International Women’s Day on March 8, I want to share my perspective on the significance of being woman-owned and female-led.


Alisa Peskin-Shepherd in the conference room of her Bloomfield Hills, Michigan office

While the march toward equal rights began in the 1970s, we are still working hard to make the workplace equitable and accessible for women, who constitute half the world’s population.

We are still facing stereotypes and being sidelined because of our gender. Thus, the more businesses that are owned by women, the more we will see equitable perspective and opportunity in America’s workplaces.

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), more than 11.6 million businesses are female-owned in the United States, employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales.

Women-owned firms constitute nearly 40% of all businesses. One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is owned by a woman.

Women become business owners for a variety of reasons – among them, being ready to be your own boss, a desire to pursue a passion, or a dissatisfaction with corporate America and the lack of equitable opportunity.

Interestingly, women are more likely to start a business than men. Studies show that 62 percent of women depend on income from a small business as a primary source of household income.

And yet, women still earn less than men. One reason so many women go into business for themselves is to right this long-held wrong.

I started Transitions Legal because I believed I could do more in my legal practice if I created my own firm. I know I’m not alone in this belief, as I’ve aligned with other women entrepreneurs to talk about the very real challenges we face as well as the pride and passion we pour into our work.

These are not gender-specific goals; rather, it’s representative of a very human desire to be more, do more, and have more control over our lives.

At the end of the day, I don’t run my law firm as a woman, even though I am one. I run it as a person with passion for the law and compassion for my clients.

I bring a singular perspective and decades of experience to my work, and trust that my clients hire me not because of my gender, but because they believe I will represent them better than anyone else.

In order to be blind to gender, we must first create an equal playing field so that details like gender truly don’t matter in the practice of law or the transactions of business. Until that day, I’ll proudly tout the woman-owned nature of my law firm.


Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

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This Is What It’s Like to Work with a Divorce Lawyer

This Is What It’s Like to Work with a Divorce Lawyer

This Is What It’s Like to Work with a Divorce Lawyer

Some clients might wonder what to expect when working with a divorce lawyer. While your case is on your mind 24/7, your divorce lawyer has other cases simultaneously, so it’s helpful to know how the interactions will flow once you choose the lawyer you want to work with.

Step 1: Introductory Meeting

Here, you will get to know one another and learn about the lawyer’s approach to divorce. A good lawyer should offer a picture of how often and by what methods you’ll be in touch.

What if you feel an urgency arise, or have questions?

Is email the best method of communication?

How quickly will the lawyer respond?

What if it’s over a weekend or holiday?

It’s good to establish parameters up front, so you know what to expect when you work with a divorce lawyer.

Step 2: Gathering Information

It takes time to build a legal case. There will be a lengthy period during which your lawyer will ask for information, paperwork, evidence, and other resources to help build your case.

The more quickly you can gather materials, the more quickly your case will be built. That said, remember that your attorney has many clients and cases, and yours is in the queue!

A Michigan divorce can take anywhere from six months to years. Nothing happens overnight, especially when the courts are involved, but your lawyer should give you an estimate of the time frame for building your case and how quickly he or she can process the information you provide.

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Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

If your lawyer has to request documents from the other side, then the flow will depend on how quickly they respond and provide the requested information.

Delays can arise – and they are not always within your control or your attorney’s. Try to be patient, even though the case is always on your mind, with questions about how it will unfold.

Step 3: Negotiation

You may have a series of meetings with your lawyer, your soon-to-be ex and their lawyer. These require scheduling four people’s calendars, which can be cumbersome. Again, be patient as it unfolds.

In the negotiation phase, there may be issues to discuss or debate, and there may be need for further information-gathering or fact-finding. Ask your lawyer for estimates of how much time each phase will take, so you have realistic expectations every step of the way!

Time estimates often change once we dive into the details, as we know more about the type of case it is becoming.

Step 4: Finalizing

Once everything has been laid out and agreed to, finalizing your divorce still takes time. Factors can include preparing a Settlement Agreement and Judgment of Divorce with language agreeable to both sides as well as the judge’s availability to approve the Judgment and make the divorce final.

Every step of the way during your divorce, you may be eager to hear back from your attorney on progress and next steps. Divorce lawyers are as eager as their clients to complete the case to everyone’s satisfaction!

If you’re waiting to hear from your lawyer and there is no email or return call, try to be patient. It’s hard, but sometimes they are waiting for response from the other side, or confirmation from the court, and they don’t want to waste your time with empty information.

The hallmark of a good lawyer is open and flowing communication with clients. Trust that your attorney will get back to you as soon as new information becomes available!

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm 

Every divorce client feels a sense of urgency to get their case done and decided. It will happen; waiting is the hardest part.

Michigan divorces take a minimum of 6 months to complete. Knowing that is crucial to taking a deep breath and letting the process happen as it should.

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What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It’s not often you get sucked into a TV show set in the 1950s where the main character leaves her husband and children to focus on her own career. But that’s one of the main story lines in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Prime Video’s wildly popular show that premiered March 17, 2017 and recently released its third season.

I like so many things about this show.

First, the quirky main character, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is funny and original. In the way that she’s not so into parenting, I kind of want to dislike her, but I can’t. And then I play tug-of-war with my own emotions about whether I think she should stay with her husband Joel, with whom she continues to have great chemistry and friendship, or leave him and make room for her great new self.

As a family law attorney, I applaud the brazenness of the story, which does not apologize for a 1950s divorce. But as a woman in the middle of my life, I know that was probably unrealistic for the times.

In season two, Midge does experience some backlash at the Catskills resort they always spent summers, when she can no longer lead the swimsuit competition because she’s no longer married. It’s a humiliating, but realistic, situation.


Rachel Brosnahan | Greg2600 [CC BY-SA]

Still, viewers can’t help but admire her, like her, want to be her. And by the end of season three (SPOILER!), she remains very much alone – reconciling the idea that she might have to be alone in order to fulfill her career dreams.
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Cast of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Peabody Awards [CC BY-SA]

I have a hard time accepting that talented women can’t have both successful relationships and successful careers. But is there a truth lurking beneath this assertion?

What I love most about this show and its commentary on the complicated nature of all marriages, is the fluidity it accepts and demands from a relationship. In season three, we see Midge and Joel in court to finalize their divorce – and they get along so surprisingly well, that the judge does not want to grant it. It’s as if the judge expects a divorce to come from utter hatred and an inability to be civil to one another.

Because I am such a champion of Collaborative Divorce, I know this is not the only way. It’s reassuring to see such a popular show depict divorce in an amicable and, dare I say it, human way.

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Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

The value of networking cannot be underestimated.

Whether you’re working for someone else, trying to grow in an area of your career or industry, or contemplating going out on your own, networking is very valuable. First, because networking leads to building new relationships. And relationships are everything.

There is always something that somebody else can help provide to you and you can provide to somebody else. 

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3D Social Networking” by Chris Potter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s important to know what you bring to the table – and to realize that you can’t possibly know everything. Listening to others, learning from them, is how we expand our intellectual capabilities and move forward.
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Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Of course, I’m the first to admit that I get nervous walking into a networking event. All those people circulating, shoving their business cards in my face. Not my favorite setting.

But, once there, it can be very confidence-building.

And, it’s not an immediate gratification, so it builds patience, and the long view. You might meet somebody in May and wait two years before that person pops into your mind because their service or offer or talent is valuable to you in a new way. Or vice versa.

I firmly believe that no meeting is ever in vain. There is always a next step, even if you don’t see it immediately. You just never know where one interaction will lead, or the long chain of connections that weaves through our lives.

For me, it’s important to network within my legal community, but opportunities outside of my industry are also important.

One of my favorite legal community networking opportunities brings professionals involved in family law together monthly for lunch and a speaker through the Michigan Interprofessional Association – attorneys, judges, Friend of the Court referees, mental health professionals, financial people, and more. It’s low-key and you can talk one-on-one with people at your table, at a leisurely pace.

Sometimes I go to events because I know it’s good to be seen. I tell my Collaborative friends, you have to show up at meetings if you want to get more cases, to show that you’re interested in working on relationships. Simply put, you have to put in the effort to reap the reward. Always. In every situation, be it personal or professional.

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I also network through the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. I participate in the Chamber’s Business Pioneers Action Group, where I am the only family law attorney. Sometimes I feel like I can’t take that hour out of my day but I do it anyway because I’m building long-term powerful relationships.

Finally, networking has to happen in areas where you are passionate. I get involved in political campaigns, and I am dedicated to my spiritual community.

I am involved with Hazon and AIPAC, growing my reach in areas of great interest to me. Maybe it will help my career, and maybe it won’t. But it helps me as a person, which always boosts every realm of your life.

To be successful in your work, you basically have to know who you are and what matters to you – and share that with others. Where are you going to start?

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