Fireside Chat with Sarah Eisen
April 8, 2022
I met Sarah at a seminar back in 2017. At the time, my daughter was 5-months old and I was craving for meaningful conversations with adults. Sarah was so friendly and approachable that I felt comfortable reaching out to her for a coffee chat afterwards. I was so glad that I did. Sarah not only provided me with a glimpse of legal opportunities outside of the traditional law firms, she also introduced me to her connections thoughtfully considering my background in IP and healthcare.
Fast forward to now, I am honored to have the opportunity to have Sarah here as our Fireside Chat guest and share with you her wisdom. I especially enjoyed how Sarah stayed true to herself and carved a path that allowed her to focus on family and career at different phases of life.
Without further ado, let's get started...
Part 1 - Introduction
Hi my name is... Sarah Eisen.
Year of call to the Bar: 1990.
Type of practice, your role, and where:
Following a career in both private practice and working in-house, I now work for LexisNexis Canada, a legal publishing and technology company. I manage a team of professionals who source, create and maintain materials for our Practical Guidance product.
How many children do you have?
Two, ages 22 and 24.
What is one thing that you do for self-care or stress relief?
I like to walk and read. I have also recently started to use a mindfulness app.
Part 2 - The first “Dual 10” Challenge: within the first 10 years post-call
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?
Sarah: I did not have a master plan. I started my career at a large Bay Street firm because that was where my friends were heading. I realized very soon after I started practicing that I really knew very little about being a lawyer, and did not fully appreciate the number of pathways open to me.
Over time, my career decisions were influenced by my desire to work with people I like and doing work I enjoy, all while maintaining work/life balance. I worked in-house for a number of years before coming to LexisNexis about 5 years ago.
Equilawbrium: Please list one soft skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Sarah: Relationship Building. I genuinely enjoy networking, and this skill has helped me in every aspect of my career. I love hearing about how other people got to where they are. I have discovered that people rarely take a single, focused path, and that there are often surprises along the way.
Equilawbrium: Please list one hard skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Sarah: Drafting skills. I have had to do a lot of drafting over the years. I suggest having others review your work with a critical eye.
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 it all?
Sarah: Everyone is different, and for me it was possible to have it all, but not at the same time. After practicing for 7 years, I took 8 years off work to stay at home with my kids. When I returned to work, I went in-house part time for several years, which allowed me to pick up my kids from school and spend a lot of time with them.
When I was looking to return to work after my 8-year hiatus, I heard a lot of negativity, with people telling me that I had been out too long and no one would hire me. This turned out to be completely untrue, and I have had great opportunities.
Equilawbrium: Having walked the walk, what is the one parenting tip or trick that you wish you’d known?
Sarah: I never realized how sleep deprived I would be in the early days, and how important it would be to seek and accept help from others.
Equilawbrium: What did you miss most about your kids at that young age?
Sarah: I miss the days when my kids thought I was perfect and knew everything. Those days are long gone!
Part 4 - Achieving Equilawbrium: how to survive & rise from the “Dual 10” Challenges
"Make your own choices and ignore the negativity around you. Also, look for mentors who can support you." – Sarah Eisen
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?
Sarah: My biggest challenge was trying to figure out where I belonged. I was a lawyer for 7 years before I became a mother. Many women I knew who stayed home for a long time never returned to practice. It took me a long time to realize that I really did want to go back to work and use my legal skills, and that there were career opportunities for me.
It was also financially challenging being away from work for so long. Staying home was personally rewarding, but we had to make significant short term and long term sacrifices to make it work.
Equilawbrium: What is your take-home message for our readers who are trying to find their “equilawbrium”?
Sarah: Make your own choices and ignore the negativity around you. Also, look for mentors who can support you.
Equilawbrium: What is the one-word encouragement/support that you would want us to remember?
<<End of Fireside Chat with Sarah Eisen>>
**A MILLION THANKS TO SARAH!!**
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.