Spotlight interview with Deane Brown of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick Dym, Ltd.
- What are of law do you practice? Employment law. Specifically, I represent executives making six figures or more in severance negotiations, discrimination claims, non-compete matters, and employment agreements, including executive compensation issues.
- What do you enjoy about it? I went to law school to help people, and I do that every day. When you lose a job, it can be very difficult, as you have lost your ability to support yourself and your family. Often times, my clients have worked for many years for a company and it is a very emotional situation. I do a lot of handholding as well as effective advocacy. I also really like working with executives, as they are generally quite intelligent and accomplished. Many of my clients become my friends.
- Have you managed to “balance” your work and family life? I have managed a work-family life balance by having a hands-on husband, excellent nannies and au pairs, and working in a mid-size law firm with a reasonable billable hours requirement. When my daughter, who is now 22 years old, was younger, I used to get to work early so that I could be home with her in the evenings as much as possible. I am also very organized. We used to have a big dry erase calendar on the wall in our kitchen with everyone’s schedules on it, to avoid missing important dates or double booking.
- What advice do you have for other working moms? Remember that working moms are great role models for their children. If you can afford it, hire great childcare so that you will have peace of mind when you are work, and invite your child’s friends over for playdates. Also, when your kids are really young, try to go parent and tot classes on the weekends to meet other working parents and their kids. Also, hire cleaning and landscaping help if you have the ability so that you can spend quality time with your family when you are home.
- What is the best advice you ever got? The best advice I received is for business generation. It was to join bar associations and cross-industry networking groups, and become leaders in those organizations.
- What got you interested in joining Women and the Law? As a past president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and a lawyer dealing with gender discrimination issues, I felt that I could make a meaningful contribution to Women and the Law and learn a lot too.
- Tell me about your other involvements in the ISBA. I am a member of the Labor & Employment Law Section Council and serve as ex officio of the Bench & Bar Section Council. Previously, I served as chair of the Assembly Rules and Bylaws Committee and as chair of the Committee on Professional Conduct. I was also appointed to both the Special Task Force on the Future of the Courts and the Assembly Governance Committee.
- Do you have any new goals for this year? As a new shareholder in my firm, my goal is to learn about law firm management issues.
- What are your top three book recommendations? They are all by Ron Balson, a lawyer in Chicago who became an author: Once We Were Brothers, Karolina’s Twins, and The Girl from Berlin.
- What do you do with your free time? Do you have any hobbies? In the summer I play a lot of golf. I also work out, read, and go to movies, plays, and restaurants.
- What women’s issues are most important to you? Fighting against gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, in the workplace and women’s rights to reproductive freedom.
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