I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend, Kristen Prinz, owner of Prinz Law Firm, and ask her a few questions.
Erin: Please tell me what your law firm offers to clients?
Kristen: Our firm helps executives, professionals, and small businesses solve their employment problems. For example, we help resolve employment disputes, negotiate employment agreements, and negotiate severance packages. An increasing trend we are seeing that we help our clients with is with wage claims over bonuses, such as when an employee separates from their former employer and there are disputes over payment of bonuses. We also assist our clients in discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims brought by employees. Most importantly, we help small businesses avoid having problems with their employees, and help to shape company policies so that their employees are happy and excited to come to work.
Erin: What was your career before law school, and what made you want to attend law school and transition to a career in the law?
Kristen: Before I went to law school I was a marketing director for a law firm. I think that’s why I bring a business sense to my practice and try and focus on marketing. In terms of going to law school, I really just wanted to see if I could do it, and when I did, I really liked it. I fell into employment law by chance though; I thought I was going to be an immigration attorney. A friend of mine was an executive in insurance and she introduced me to my first boss, Laurel Bellows, and from there I got into employment law.
Erin: In addition to your growing law practice, where else are you currently working on?
Kristen: I am trying to find ways to give young professionals, early stage professionals and entrepreneurs, access to professional development tools, such as coaches and technology. It’s something I find to be very important in my practice, and so I am trying to help others use these tools as well.
Erin: How has your work life changed since having your daughter, Zoey, last May?
Kristen: I thought I had no time before, but actually now I really have no time during my day! I try to structure my day so I can maximize my time with Zoey - I guess like all working moms do. I’ve learned that boundaries are very important, because I don’t want to miss out on Zoey growing up. I try and leave my office at a decent hour, only schedule evening functions not more than two times in a week, and I try and schedule my morning meetings later so I am home with Zoey in the morning.
Erin: Give me your thoughts on the amazing panel we attended at Northern Illinois University, where we heard from three female Illinois Supreme Court justices as well as other justices and judges, and Attorney Jennifer Grant.
Kristen: They talked a lot about discrimination that they faced, but it was just kind of something that was there; they didn’t focus on it, they kept moving forward and focusing on their careers. I feel like change happens when you just push forward, irrespective of any discrimination there might be. These women focused on their career and it plowed the way for their career path. Now, I think we face different issues. We talk about work-life balance, but that is something that female attorneys before us did not even focus on, they focused on just getting their foot in the door and focused on their careers. What’s interesting now I think that is happening is that dads are becoming more involved, but I think there is always an expectation for the women, for the mothers, to be there for their children. When men are involved it’s a positive, there is no positive for women it’s just expected, and we have to learn to balance.
Erin: Is there anything that you would like to promote for the ISBA Standing Committee and Women in the Law?
Kristen: June 13th is Women Everywhere. I hope that our entire ISBA Committee comes out for this day of volunteering. This is about showing off the value of women and what we can provide at work and also our effect on the community. ■