I met Kelly Toledano, this week’s guest blogger, at a rooftop bar in Manhattan during an American Bar Association conference. In typical Smalltimore fashion, it turned out we both lived in Charm City. Soon after our introduction, I urged Kelly to attend more local bar association events. These days, I look up to Kelly as a fellow female solo practitioner who not only has a thriving practice in Maryland, but has expanded to a second office in Florida.
QDRO Solutions LLC was founded in 2016. After working in the field of qualified domestic relations orders for more than three years, I decided to take the niche business into my own hands and start a solo career. Being a solo practitioner, in any field of law, can be a struggle, especially for a young attorney. The benefits, however, outweigh the hardships.
Starting my own firm was not in the cards for me when I started my legal career. I was fortunate enough to work for a small firm in Florida that taught me everything I know about QDROs, which are necessary for splitting retirement accounts after divorce. I thought my career was set; I enjoyed my practice area, was good at my job and knew I would continue to climb the ladder during my time at the firm.
Unfortunately, young and ambitious lawyers in private firms are not always rewarded the way they should be. I found myself in a situation where my once-promised future was changed, and I had to make a decision. I had gave myself a month to decide whether to apply to a different firm or go off on my own. The thought of being financially responsible for a new business,in such a niche market was terrifying. But I knew joining another firm would potentially lead me to the same place I was in. Also, starting off at a new firm was not guaranteeing me a successful future in the field of law and QDROs. The downfall of being knowledgeable in such a specific field of law is that outside of being on your own, there is not much room for your expertise at a larger firm.
That’s when QDRO Solutions was born. I then asked myself three questions: Where would be a good location for your business? Where would your expertise in your field be most utilized? And can you financially sustain yourself during the developing stages of the business?
All of which led me to look at the DMV, which where I decided to open my first office. A year-and-a-half later, with two offices, one in south Florida and one in Maryland, I could not have imagined not having taken the leap and starting such a rewarding journey. A firm that prides itself on putting its clients and collaborating attorneys first. A firm that dedicates its time and effort, in making sure all steps of the QDRO process are completed correctly, where clients are made to feel included in the process and are encouraged to be involved. Starting your own firm is so much more than just finding your own path — you also get to control your involvement with your clients and the service you give, which is not always in the case working for a larger firm.
If anyone has any questions about QDROs, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who also needs help or advice, about going off on his or her own, I am happy to assist. In our community, we must support each other and help each other grow!