Submitted by Tanya Falleiro ...
We chatted with Ms. Susan von Herrmann, who is a partner at Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLP, a mother of four children, and an inspiration overall. Ms. von Herrmann proves that just because a woman takes time off and does not follow a traditional path, it does not mean that she cannot achieve great things and make a name for herself in the legal profession.
Ms. von Herrmann is a partner and a member of Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLP’s Estates & Trusts Practice Group. She focuses her practice on estate planning and estate and trust administration. She assists clients with the formation of entities including family limited liability companies and limited partnerships and advises family owned businesses on succession planning. In addition to advising traditional families, Ms. von Herrmann is experienced in assisting non-traditional families in estate planning matters. Ms. von Herrmann speaks regularly on these topics. She received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall and her B.A. from Stanford University.
What are your hobbies/activities that you enjoy doing out of the office? I am a tri-athlete, so I love to run, swim, and bike. Everybody in my family loves to ski and sail. I could pretend I'm a big reader or cook--but actually, my favorite way to spend my time outside of the office is doing anything outdoors with my family.
What do you consider is the key to creating a balance between one’s life in and out of the office? The key is being very clear about your priorities. It is really important to think about what you want and need to accomplish, make a plan, and not let anyone else’s ideas about how you should be spending your time get in your way. This is obviously easier said than done. And of course, it's important not to be rigid. Being flexible and allowing for inevitable changes to the schedule is critical. Because, like it or not, it's impossible to control everything!
Have you ever had to turn down any special projects or additional work in order to maintain a solid work/life balance without hindering your career? At this point in my career, I do not have to turn down work to maintain balance. I'm fortunate to work in a firm where I can delegate work to great people if I can't do it myself. However, I do need to be careful about saying yes to too many outside commitments, such as seminars and other speaking engagements.