Dan Baldwin 2013-10-25 12:19:09
“I don’t really like to parse out my experiences based on gender. It may be true that I have had to work harder to gain the respect of my colleagues as a woman, but it may also be that I have had to work hard to gain respect because I was younger and less experienced. Either way, I’ve worked hard to earn that respect, and happy to have it,” says Andrea C. Lawrence, partner at Hallier & Lawrence PLC. Her practice areas include all pre-decree and post-decree family court issues. She has extensive litigation and appellate experience in custody and financial-related matters. Lawrence is one of the few attorneys in Maricopa County who prepares Qualified Domestic Relations Orders to divide community retirement accounts. She is also a speaker for Divorce SOS (Strategies, Options and Solutions), a bimonthly seminar open to the public that provides education on divorce-related matters. She also provides services to the court by serving as a judge protem. Lawrence has practiced family law exclusively, first in Illinois and now Arizona. She believes that the best approach, with both genders, is to be knowledgeable, straight-forward and honest. “I am a woman and face challenges that anyone could predict – juggling motherhood and demands of my young children, child care, and so on. However, in this world, the competition between parenting and a profession is a problem we face as both women and men. I strive to build a positive reputation with both my male and female counterparts and use the same approach with each.” The seed of becoming an attorney was planted early in her life. She says, “I really don’t recall when I decided. I think it was always a given. My dad likes to tell stories that he would hold me when I was a baby and whisper in my ear that I should be a lawyer. When I was a teenager, my parents would point out, good-naturedly, that I should put all my arguing to good use and become a lawyer.” Lawrence earned her Bachelor of Arts from Northern Illinois in 1994 and her Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago with the honor of the order of the coif in 1997. She was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1997 and in Arizona in 2005 and was licensed to appear before the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois in 1997. She is a member of the American Bar Association, family law committee; Maricopa County Bar Association; and Arizona Women Lawyers Association. Hallier & Lawrence firm has been in existence for more than 20 years. Lawrence joined in 2006 as an associate and has been a partner since 2008. Currently, the firm employs six attorneys and 12 other employees, all women. Lawrence says the all-female staff is not a matter of design, but a matter of fate. “We are a well-oiled machine in working with our clients and a large happy family in working with each other.” She says the firm is full of smart, strong, knowledgeable and experienced attorneys, who happen to be women with a collective goal of representing clients in the most cost-effective manner considering both financial and emotional costs. They first work to settle cases out of court so those clients have as much control over the outcome as possible. When that can’t be accomplished, they will litigate fiercely, but fairly. Lawrence says, “I love facing the challenges of finding a solution when there is no right or wrong answer. Creativity in meeting client’s goals is something I try to employ. Unfortunately, in family law there is no ‘winner.’ The emotional cost to the challenges a family faces leaves both sides feeling wounded. My job is to minimize that cost.”
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