Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business.
Erin Giglia:: We are Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia, the founders and owners of Montage Legal Group, LLC. We formed Montage Legal Group in 2009 after Laurie and I both voluntarily left practicing law at a large law firm. Laurie had been practicing for 5 years and had a one year old baby, and I had been practicing for 8 years and had a 3 year old and a one year old. We both felt that the traditional law firm business model did not fit well into our ideal roles as mothers, so we decided to create a new model with more flexibility. In the process we, somewhat inadvertently, formed a company focused on supporting other attorneys in similar situations to ours. Our company, Montage Legal Group, allows attorneys to remain in legal practice by doing freelance legal projects from home for other law firms, while they tend to family needs, each on their own schedules. Montage Legal Group also assists attorneys who are re-entering the legal practice after a long absence due to caring for young children. Successful female attorneys do have many resources available to them, especially when in large law firm practice. But, this often changes when we alter our priorities after having children. Montage Legal Group tries to support these educated, high-achieving women as they transition to a very different and unfamiliar situation.
Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?
Erin Giglia:: Not long at all! All it took was having attorneys contact us wanting to join, as well as overwhelmingly positive feedback from our clients.
Market Mommy:: How do you define success?
Erin Giglia:: Success for us is providing our law firm and attorney clients with exceptional attorneys while giving Montage Legal Group attorneys the ability to practice law and tend to family (and without the crazy 2000 hour required billing at a traditional law firm). Our clients typically need and want excellent attorneys, but often cannot afford to hire someone full time. Montage Legal Group attorneys are available for the exact amount of legal work the client needs, and at a great price.
Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?
Erin Giglia:: We rely on each other quite a bit, and since the work we do is done from home and/or while our children are at school, we can fit it in well with our schedules. We also learned how to be incredibly efficient in law school and in legal practice, especially for me after practicing at a large law firm with two babies under 3-years-old.
Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?
Erin Giglia:: We hit the six-figure threshold several months after we started adding attorneys to our network in terms of gross revenue. But at this point, we measure our success by the fact that we’ve grown the business by over 15 attorneys in less than one year, and that our attorneys and clients are thrilled with our service and business model.
Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?
Erin Giglia:: We’re extremely organized (thanks to Laurie!). Of course, our attorneys are all so incredibly talented that it would be hard for us to go wrong. Our goal is to create a situation that benefits as many people as possible. If the ultimate goal is to help law firms and their clients to get the talent they need while saving money, and to help attorneys stay in the market while tending to family. It really is a win-win situation for everyone.
Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?
Erin Giglia:: Our blog has created a lot of interest in our concept. We also attend marketing events, and talk to a lot of people.
Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?
Erin Giglia:: Be passionate about what you’re doing. For us, we are passionate that because of our flexibility, we’re able to offer our clients a unique, highly desirable product. We’re also passionate about giving attorneys another option besides the demanding work schedule required of a law firm associate (all away from young children). Enlist a supportive spouse, friends, and family for ideas and support. Be firm, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Be proud of your product, and of yourself for what you will accomplish. Have fun!!!
This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for more Achieving $uccess stories in the future.