What if we shifted the way we thought of work-life balance to work-life integration or enrichment? We welcomed Lori Mihalich-Levin, an author, mother, podcast host, and founding principal, to the podcast to discuss the role of motherhood and its integration into the practice of law. She really can do it all! The power of setting boundaries for yourself is a vital component of your success and personal growth. Lori walks us through the power of advocating yourself, with a focus on parental leave. She also explains her program, Mindful Return, and the resources and help it provides to employers around the globe to retain working parent top talent. Lori hates the term work/life balance but you’ll have to listen to find out exactly why!

About the Guest

Lori Mihalich-Levin

Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD, believes in empowering working parents. She is the founder and CEO of Mindful Return, author of Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave, and co-host of the Parents at Work Podcast. She is mama to two wonderful red-headed boys (ages 9 and 11) and is a health care lawyer in private practice. Her thought leadership has been featured in publications including Forbes, The Washington Post, New York Times Parenting, and Thrive Global.

Episode Resources

This week’s guest on the Mostly Legal Podcast is proof that you really can have it all! Suzy Klepac (Office Administrator, Kirk & Chaney PLLC) has served in multiple administrative roles at various law firms for the last six years, but she recently embarked on her greatest challenge – working remotely full time with a newborn. Working parents everywhere will be inspired to hear Suzy’s story of work-life balance in the fast-paced legal industry, which, according to her, is a little like living life like someone left the gate open. Don’t let the goats out!

Suzy is a self-proclaimed “founding mother” of the First Five, a group of individuals within the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) who at the time, were all in their first five years of working in legal management. They found the organization did not have much programming that catered to professionals who were newbies to the legal industry and set out to change that via an online community. Today, it’s a safe place on the Internet where legal administrators early in their careers can ask questions judgment-free to peers likely going through the same experiences.

About the Guest

Suzy Klepac

Suzy Klepac has been a legal administrator for 8 years. Currently, she is the Office Administrator at Kirk & Chaney PLLC, located in Oklahoma City, where she has served since May 2017. Prior to legal management, Suzy worked as a paralegal and has served in multiple roles within various law firms for 6 years.

Suzy resides in Oklahoma City with her husband, three children, one dog, one cat, two goats, attempted chickens, and lots of raccoons and deer. She enjoys playing piano and guitar, bird watching, quilting, and fishing – as long as the weather is not too cold.

Suzy Klepac has been a member of the ALA since December 2014 and is a member of the Oklahoma City Chapter. Beginning in April of 2015, Suzy has been in an ALA leadership role either in her chapter or in the Association. For the Oklahoma City chapter, she has served as Social Media and Communications Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, President-Elect, and Chapter President. Suzy has also been involved in orchestrating chapter membership drives, chapter visibility campaigns, and community outreach programs. In 2017, she was one of the first members to join the Association’s Product and Service Review Committee, chairing the Committee from May 2020 to May 2021. In 2018, Suzy and two other legal administrators started the ALA FirstFive Online Community, which is geared towards legal managers in the first five-ish years of their career, offering education and a safe space to ask questions. Suzy is currently serving as a Chapter Resource Team member and continues to co-moderate the FirstFive Online Community.

Episode Resources

What’s the difference between passion and perseverance? Passion only takes you so far and perseverance takes you the rest of the way. Take Jenna Carter (Director of Administration for K&L Gates, LLP, Washington, D.C.) and Chassidy Deckard (Director of Administration for the Texas region of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP) for example. Their perseverance has gotten them to where they are today and through the adversity of a high-pressure job, to overcoming the obstacles and blazing their own trail, these two powerhouse women show us what it looks like when the rubber truly meets the road.

About the Guests

Jenna Carter

Director of Administration for K&L Gates, LLP, Washington, D.C.

Jenna Carter currently serves on the Association of Legal Administrator’s Board of Directors, where she has also assumed the role of Association Treasurer. She is also a Past President of the Association of Legal Administrator’s Capital Chapter. She works as the Director of Administration for K&L Gates' Washington, D.C., office. Carter earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her master's degree in accounting from Strayer University in Washington, D.C.

Chassidy Deckard

Director of Administration, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Chassidy Deckard is the Director of Administration for the Texas region of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. She has built her career focusing on law firm management by being a trusted advisor and providing innovative strategies for the ongoing administration of law offices. She is passionate about creating talent pipelines for diverse individuals interested in the legal field.

Chassidy received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies from Texas State University. She also received her SHRM-CP certification in 2018.

She currently serves as the 2021 President of the Houston Association of Legal Recruiting Administrator. She also is an active member and volunteer of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). In ALA she currently is a member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee and serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Houston chapter.

Chassidy enjoys traveling and being introduced to different food and cultures across the world.

Episode Resources

General Resources:

Jenna’s Resources:

Pitch Your Passion:

Chassidy’s Resources: