In this episode of the You Are A Lawyer podcast, host Kyla interviews Anne Hamer, a family lawyer from Nashville, Tennessee. Anne shares her journey from Memphis to New York City for law school and discusses how she ended up in Nashville. She also talks about the challenges of having a southern accent in a northern law school and how it didn't deter her from pursuing her education. Listen to Anne's story and insights on building a successful law career. "You can make a life change in the middle of it and come up with something new," shares Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
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Anne Hamer, a family lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee explains why she moved from Memphis to New York City and how she started practicing family law. Anne and host, Kyla Denanyoh, also discuss menopause, changing your career in your 40s, and how Anne followed her passion AND created a legal career that she enjoys.
NOTE: When I think about following my passion, I envision the tortured artist, but Anne Hamer's life is the opposite! Anne's schedule is flexible because she is her boss. She decides to spend money investing in her law firm or buying shoes (just because she can!), and she is happy after a painful divorce. Listen or watch Episode 104 to learn more about family law attorney Anne Hamer.
"Just do what you love, and you can be really good at it," explains Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
Completing law school is a significant goal. Completing law school with a thriving network and mentor is easier said than done. Anne Hamer emphasizes the friendships she cultivated at the New York University School of Law and how she stays in contact with friends even though she has relocated to Nashville, Tennessee.
“When I came out of NYU, I had $120,000 worth of student loans, and I was going to a job in Nashville that paid 60,000 a year," explains Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
Anne doesn’t regret attending law school, but she could’ve lived without the student loans. Working alongside colleagues is an invaluable opportunity to learn from those who have already succeeded. In fact, Anne explains how mentorship becomes more valuable AFTER law school because being surrounded by colleagues who are further along inspires what you can do in your career. Networking with other lawyers and connecting with individuals who share the same professional path will allow young lawyers to gain insights from their experiences and learn how to attract clients and build a prosperous practice.
There are a lot of expectations for lawyers to work in big law firms, but this isn’t typically where a new lawyer's passion would lie. Anne shared her personal experience of feeling pressured to follow a traditional path of working in a big law firm and climbing the corporate ladder. However, Anne realized that this lifestyle did not align with her values and instead focused on family law and helping parents through the challenges of divorce and child custody.
“The man I married was not going to put up with me traveling 15 days out of 30 and having babies at home that couldn't work," shared Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
Anne explains how lawyers can do anything with their law degrees, including looking at new practice areas or ways of practicing. At one time, Anne’s severe dislike of being an employee almost caused her to leave the profession. But now as a law firm owner and founder, Anne is excited to wake up every day and work with her colleagues. The freedom and control created by law firm ownership are unparalleled. Anne celebrates her age (early 50s) and menopause for providing her with all the energy needed to run her thriving family law practice.
As men age, their testosterone decreases, and they have less energy to do everything they were doing in their 30s. I will say that after menopause and with grown children, I now have the energy to work 80-hour weeks if I wanted to,” explains Anne Hamer in Episode 104 of You Are A Lawyer.
Anne Hamer had some tough conversations before her divorce. When one of Anne's daughters wanted to be a stay-at-home mom like Anne, she knew it was time to go back to work and show her daughters that they could do anything!
Anne also had conversations with other lawyers and friends with strong opinions about how and when Anne would allow her spouse to see their children. Traditionally, the advice given to divorcing parents is to aim for a 50-50 parenting plan, as studies suggest that equal parenting time benefits children. However, Anne challenges this notion, highlighting that every family is unique and what works for one may not work for another.
"But it wasn't until I got divorced that I realized this was a calling for me. I love this. I want to do it. I want to help people," shared Anne Hamer in Episode 104 of You Are A Lawyer.
Anne reveals that she did not initially set out to become a divorce lawyer. Anne's personal experience allowed her to understand the complexities and emotional toll of divorce, which deepened her empathy and desire to help others in similar situations.
Anne also emphasizes the need for ongoing adaptation in post-divorce parenting. As children grow older, their preferences and requirements may change. For example, adolescents often desire more time with their same-sex parents. Anne prepares her clients for these changes, helping them anticipate and navigate potential challenges. She also acknowledges that judges may have different perspectives on post-divorce parenting, with some prioritizing the child's voice and others imposing their judgments. Anne's role is to provide her clients with all the necessary information and empower them to make decisions that are in the best interest of their families.
"I can have some of my less affluent clients be way more difficult than my affluent ones," shares Anne Hamer in Episode 104 of You Are A Lawyer.
Anne’s divorce allowed her to see the need for mentorship and guidance with divorced parents. There is so much advice out there, but every family is different and must find out what will work for their family. After her divorce, Anne saw how her children changed, and she dedicated herself to being the best advocate for other families, including millionaire families.
“You got to pay attention to that because kids need both parents," shared Anne Hamer on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
In Episode 104, Ann explains how important it is to equip clients with as much information as possible to advocate for their own families. The better informed a client is about the legal process, their rights, and the potential outcomes of their case, the better the decisions for the family.
Host Kyla Denanyoh and Anne Hamer discuss how judges determine when and why to include the children’s testimony when determining how much time a child has with a parent and where the child will reside permanently. Custody issues are often acrimonious, so Anne works hard to ensure that the children are cared for even though their families will look different after the divorce.
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Anne Hamer is licensed to practice law in Tennessee. Learn more about Anne Hamer:
Kyla Denanyoh hosts the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
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