New Lawyer
Volume 5, Number 1
April 2007

Table of Contents
Past Issues

The Balancing Act:
How I Almost Moved to Detroit

Back in September, I received an excited call from my husband, who reported to me that a large company wanted him to come and interview for a great job. “Great,” I said, “And where is the job?” thinking he’d say New York. “Detroit,” he said. “Detroit?” I replied. “Well, that is where their corporate headquarters are located.”

OK. Now, before everyone from Michigan starts sending me nasty emails, let me be clear—it was not Detroit per se that I was stunned by. It was the prospect of moving somewhere where I knew not a soul, of giving up my law practice, and moving somewhere entirely new. At least I could waive into the bar.

We discussed it and decided it was the job opportunity of a lifetime. He analogized it to me like this—imagine that you filed a brief in court and suddenly Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s secretary calls you up and says, “Ellen, we really liked that brief you filed in the Jones v. Smith case. Why don’t you come down and interview for a clerkship with the justice?” OK, hard to argue with that sort of invitation to interview.

But as time passed, and my business really started to take off, I questioned what we would do if he actually got the job. Could I really give up my law practice and move half way across the country? How would I shut down my present practice? Could I take any clients with me? Would I really just stay home (with this job, we could afford that luxury), or would I go crazy if I tried to do so? How could I deny him the career opportunity of a lifetime? Surely, I did not want to spend the rest of my life hearing “Well, if I’d only taken that job. . .” But, at the same time, what about my career? I’ve been in practice for myself just about five years, and it is finally starting to pay off. I am getting referrals and repeat business. How do I leave all that I have worked for?

So, what do you do when you have a two career family and both careers are important and going somewhere? Whose job should take precedence? Or do you do what our recently elected governor and his wife did—he traveled wherever the job required; she stayed in Massachusetts working as a lawyer at one of the biggest firms in town? And if you do that, what does it do to your marriage and how will it affect your kids?

I was getting a headache just thinking about it.

After months of waiting and a few anxiety-ridden days, we learned that he did not get the job, so we did not have to make the decision.

And fortunately, this story has a happy ending on both sides. My husband got a promotion at work, which puts him into the position he had been looking for. My business continues to proper and grow, so we’ve finally made a decision we both like—we’re not going anywhere.

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