Fireside Chat with Faren Bogach
December 16, 2022
“I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the LOVE that I've FOUND, ever since YOU’ve been around
YOUR LOVE’s put me at the TOP of the WORLD”
The melody and the lyrics of the song, Top of the World, by Carpenters are stuck in my head lately (in a good way). Not only because it’s the song that my daughter and her class is going to perform on their holiday concert and she has been singing it every day with these adorable moves that even her little bro picked up on it, but also the lyrics summed up everything nicely that really mattered to me (in hindsight) as we approach the end of 2022.
As we look back, ponder, and reflect all that had happened or is happening this year, I hope first and foremost, you would give yourself a big hug and a generous pat on the shoulder because YOU DID IT. Extra brownie points for you if you happen to be a working parent (no bias - wink)! All the blood, toil, tears and sweat are history and have shaped you into what you are today. No matter what big or small life events have happened, you are here reading this and this alone deserves a celebration!
To me, “YOU” in the lyrics above could be your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your friends, your soulmates, and even yourself! It is becoming clear to me that having my family around, especially my husband and my kids, is beautiful and something that you can’t take for granted, and their love do put me at the top of the world (or at times sideways in the case of my kids with their magic power to create chaos – all good, I will take it any day as I can’t imagine my life without it)!
This is a long and winding introduction to our next fantastic guest, Faren Bogach, hosting our last authentic Fireside Chat in 2022. Faren’s heartfelt sharing is so honest and transparent, and her wise words resonate and remind us that we, as working parents and legal professionals, are only human and have our limits too, but we acknowledge them and will turn them into strength and embrace the challenges as they come. Persistence is key. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
P.S. I’d highly recommend you to check out Faren’s inspiring posts on LinkedIn (about her professional journey and more) and also her speaking engagement at the Authentic Lawyer Summit on the topic of parenting.
Part 1 - Introduction
Hi, my name is... Faren Bogach.
Year of call to the Bar: 2008.
Type of practice, your role, and where: Private practice – own my own law firm, Construct Legal.
How many children do you have? 7 (boy), 6 (boy), 2 (girl).
What do you do for self-care or stress relief? I try to get a manicure every three weeks. It is an hour that I am not on my phone
What would you do for work if you weren’t in the legal profession? I would be an elementary school teacher.
Part 2 - The first “Dual 10” Challenge: within the first 10 years post-license
Equilawbrium: Did you have a master plan for your career path? What was the driving force behind your career decisions? What are the important things to consider as you are figuring out your career path?
Faren: I had a master plan – I wanted to become a partner at a large law firm. But after I got there, I realized that I wanted something different. I am very happy that I followed my master plan because it led to me having my own firm. It is important to focus on the path you choose to take – whether it is expected or not. The things to consider as you are figuring your career path are the ones that are important to you.
Equilawbrium: Please list one soft skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Faren: Team building skills. It led to me being able to build a team that I am incredibly proud of at my firm. I developed these skills by mentoring junior lawyers, joining committees and boards of directors. I lead by example, take responsibility for my mistakes and celebrate the achievements of my team.
Equilawbrium: Please list one hard skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Faren: Deep technical knowledge in construction. I started as a commercial litigator and now my firm focuses on construction and infrastructure matters. I honed my skills by working on mandates of different types and sizes. I join associations, speak at conferences and attend CPD programs. I also co-developed software about the prompt payment section of the Construction Act. It was incredibly time consuming but has been invaluable learning and growth opportunity for me.
Part 3 - The second “Dual 10” Challenge: have kids in their first 10 formative years
Equilawbrium: How did you juggle work/life responsibilities? Is it possible to have a family life and a work life simultaneously and harmoniously?
Faren: I’ve started to walk my older kids to school. It gives us some quality time with them (and no cell phone!). It also forces me to get some fresh air and exercise every day. It is possible to have a family and work life but I can’t say that it is always balanced. A silver lining of the pandemic is that I work from home which saves commuting time and allows me to put my kids to bed most nights. I often feel stretched in too many directions (I used to joke that I had my work kids and my real kids).
Equilawbrium: Having walked the walk, what is the one parenting tip or trick that you wish you’d known?
Faren: That it is great to learn and listen to others, but it is most important to be confident and comfortable with your decisions. (The same applies to the practice of law).
Equilawbrium: What is your fondest memory of your kid(s) at that age?
Faren: All of my kids are under 10 right now. My 7-year-old loves learning. It is amazing to watch him absorb new concepts and ideas. We also love reading together (we are starting the Lord of the Ring series). My 6-year-old is confident and fun. He gets along with everyone. We love playing board games together – he is a real risk taker. My 2-year-old is a talkative opinionated girl. As hard as it is to parent at times, I am so proud to have a strong girl – and can’t wait to see what she does in the world.
Part 4 - Achieving Equilawbrium: how to survive & rise from the “Dual 10” Challenges
"I am learning to be more open and honest about my challenges and struggles. I was really hesitant to be my authentic self in a professional setting, but it is creating deeper relationships which provide support in the tough times (and the good times)." – Faren Bogach
Equilawbrium: What was your biggest challenge going through the Dual 10 phase? Any advice for our readers who are living and breathing this phase and trying to survive and excel?
Faren: The guilt. I feel guilty for not working. I feel guilty for not spending enough time with my kids. I used to feel guilty about feeling guilty. I have accepted that there will be guilt, but I try to focus on whatever needs my full attention, whether it is court or a school concert instead of what I am missing out on.
Equilawbrium: What is your take-home message for our readers who are trying to find their “equilawbrium”?
Faren: I am learning to be more open and honest about my challenges and struggles. I was really hesitant to be my authentic self in a professional setting, but it is creating deeper relationships which provide support in the tough times (and the good times).
Equilawbrium: What is the one-word encouragement/support that you would want us to remember?
<<End of Fireside Chat with Faren Bogach>>
**A MILLION THANKS TO FAREN!!**
Faren Bogach is a lawyer and the founder of Construct Legal, a law firm focused on construction and infrastructure law (www.constructlegal.ca). Faren drafts contracts, navigates claims, fights dispute, and more. Prior to founding Construct Legal, Faren was a partner at a large law firm in downtown Toronto. Faren founded Pay Prompt Inc., a software company that helps user navigate prompt payment without needing to call a lawyer. Faren is currently the vice-chair of two non-for-profit organizations that provide and are developing affordable housing in Toronto. She is also a mentor for the Toronto Metropolitan University, LLP program. On the weekend, Faren tries to keep up with her three young kids and through this has been exposed to early morning hockey, Lord of the Rings and Pokémon.
Disclaimer: Any views, information, and personal opinions expressed by the authors or guests are entirely their own and do not reflect or represent those of their employers or clients.