Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.
For June 2019, we are pleased to share insights from Dana Justus, Counsel, Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox (Washington, DC)
Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your career? How has the firm supported this?
Dana Justus: A healthy combination of luck and maintaining strong relationships! I worked before and during law school as a paralegal and then student associate/law clerk at an Intellectual Property (IP) firm in DC. While there, I developed a great relationship with a partner, Monica Talley, who’s since became a Director at Sterne Kessler. After graduation, I worked in the trademark group for another general practice firm for five years. Although I loved the people I worked with, the workload was very demanding and my husband did not have much flexibility at his own job. I knew that our future family life would be dependent on one of us (likely me) finding what I considered to be a potentially non-existent, “dream” reduced-hours trademark attorney job.
During my last year at my prior firm, I billed 2600 hours while pregnant, and I knew that schedule wouldn’t be sustainable for our long-term lives – particularly as my husband had just made partner at his firm. In what turned out to be a massive stroke of luck, Monica Talley reached out to me about moving to Sterne Kessler as a “reduced hours” associate in the trademark practice group. I really liked the fact that Monica and the firm had brought in another reduced hours associate the prior year, so the groundwork had been laid to add a similar position to the group. Also, the workload sounded like my ideal balance – not too much litigation or “all hands on deck” situations. It was the type of work I wanted, with the flexibility I needed, at a firm I liked, with a partner I already knew and respected immensely – my “dream” job come true!