As I sit at my office desk during business hours, the self-identifiers that come to mind most quickly are “business owner” and “lawyer.” I’m an attorney in private practice in Bethesda going on 13 years in family law and a little more than three years of owning my own firm. But I’m sure if I gave it some thought at home after 5:30 p.m., as I make dinner, clean up dinner and bathe the kids, I would call myself first and foremost a “mother of two.” However, I can further label myself as a cisgender, heterosexual, married woman. I’m also a first-generation- American-born-Persian-Bolivian and Maryland native. (Go Terps!) Whew! Those are a lot of labels.
Beyond those things, however, I would say that as a lawyer and business owner, what gets me up in the morning is the opportunity to do good work with people I enjoy. My firm consists of three other attorneys and three support staff. I love what I do and the people I work with I try to keep every day fun and exciting. I like going to court (there, I said it) and I try to keep learning every day. I’m currently addicted to listening to business podcasts and reading books geared toward small-business owners, since, like many of you, I didn’t learn much about business before going into law school.
So, what am I going to write about for Generation J.D.? I haven’t nailed that down just yet but I expect to share my experiences in this crazy law practice as they arise. I’m going to strive to be as non-boring as I can, honest and not too duplicative of the 800-plus other articles you read every month. This year, I’m doing a build-out of my office and hiring new staff. (I’m finding that hiring is its own adventure that law school also hasn’t prepared me for!) I’ve recently sent my daughter off to kindergarten. I’m (hopefully) weaning my son. I’m continuing to take some pro bono cases from the Whitman Walker Legal Clinic, which serves members of the LGBTQ community. I’m continuing to serve on a nonprofit board. I’m writing a book which is about as slow and painful as growing a child in my uterus. I’m attending my 20-year high school reunion, which makes me feel kind of old, but at the same time, OK.
I look forward to sharing these experiences and more with you. Please email me if you have any topic ideas!
Jessica Markham is the owner of Markham Law Firm, a family law firm in Bethesda.