She Strives to Provide Her Clients Peace of Mind with Legal Strategies Tailored to Their Needs An Experienced & Understanding Attorney Makes All the Difference, Meet Silicon Valley Attorney Kimberly A. Madigan
Q: What was your first job? How did it shape or impact you?
KM: At a very young age, I started working in a Sicilian restaurant. I had no prior restaurant experience. The owners were very strict and had high expectations of me. I learned a lot. The most valuable skills I picked up in the restaurant industry over the years were salesmanship and the ability to work under pressure and multi-task, which is also a great skill to have as a working Mom!
Q: When did you know you would pursue a career as an Attorney?
KM: I originally intended to become a Clinical Psychologist and graduated with a B.A. Major in Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Rather than continue with my studies, I elected to apply to law school. My work as a lawyer calls on many of the skills, I studied.
Q: What expectations did you have after graduating and receiving your law degree?
KH: Given my interest in the human condition, I was not interested in a career as a transactional attorney. I knew I wanted to litigate and was drawn to the courtroom. After graduating from law school, I accepted an articling position with Alexander Holburn, a Vancouver-based Canadian law firm providing a wide range of litigation and business services to clients throughout Canada. (In British Columbia, law students are required to obtain an articling position, which is akin to an internship, before seeking admission to the Law Society Admission Program.) Following the completion of my articling year, Alexander Holburn offered me an associate attorney position. I worked for Alexander Holburn for several years and received invaluable mentorship and courtroom experience at both the trial and appellate level.
Q: Your legal career started out in Vancouver Canada … what led to your journey to the Bay Area?
KM: My husband, who is a Bay Area native. He was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley. I moved to California to be with him and start our family together.
Q: Why did you choose to practice Family Law?
KM: Given my longstanding interest in human psychology, I gravitated to the area of family law and chose to work with a law partner in a smaller firm. I enjoy working closely with people, advising and helping to guide them as they transition through difficult circumstances. Family law is a fascinating area of the law as it is constantly evolving and overlaps with many other areas of the law, including taxation, criminal law, and estate planning. And, the nature of families and marriage has evolved in our society and in the law. I enjoy the complex legal and psychological issues that are presented to me on a daily basis in my practice. Being the owner and founder of my law firm has also been very rewarding. I enjoy being my own boss and running my own business. I am so fortunate to work with like-minded, strong women at my law firm.
Q: Can you share with our audience the type of cases you generally handle?
KM: My practice consists primarily of marital dissolution litigation cases. However, my firm also handles collaborative divorce and mediation cases. Our attorneys also prepare premarital and marital agreements. As needed, we bring in the expertise of other professionals, such as therapists, forensic accountants and attorneys in other disciplines to help our clients.
Q: What is your approach or philosophy to winning or representing a case?
KM: In family law cases, we don’t typically have clearly defined winners and losers. Although some would say that everyone loses, including the children, in a highly contested, litigated divorce case. It’s critical for clients to educate themselves and pick their process option carefully in consultation with an experienced attorney. My firm works closely with each client to help them develop a case strategy that is right for them, taking into consideration their objectives, the needs of their children, if applicable, the dynamics with their spouse, the judicial officer assigned to the case, the relevant legal issues, and the size of their marital estate. My primary objective is to bring each case to a final resolution in a way that preserves family relationships and financial assets. I do not engage in scorched earth litigation tactics or inflict unnecessary suffering.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career as an Attorney?
KM: I am very concerned about the debt loads some young attorneys have to take on these days. What is especially difficult are the stories I hear about young attorneys who graduated from law school with $150,000 or more in student loans but were unable to pass the California State Bar Exam. I’m hopeful that there will be some relief for law students in the future but that all depends on what happens in the next election. I would counsel a young woman to get financial counseling before she makes the decision to attend law school and burden herself with substantial student loans.
Q: How you manage your work-life balance?
KM: I’m very good with boundaries. When I can avoid it, I do not check email after-hours or on weekends. I also try to eat well, meditate and exercise regularly. My husband and I also made the conscious decision to have one child. While I’ve watched other women successfully manage work-life balance with multiple children, I knew it would be difficult for me.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
KM: I’m reminded and often tell others that the simple passage of time solves many problems. What may seem like a crisis at first often becomes manageable or even fixes itself if you allow yourself time and space to sit with the problem as opposed to reacting out of fear or anxiety. The same thing goes with communications. Instead of responding to a difficult written communication from a client or opposing counsel in the heat of the moment, I’m a big believer in letting it marinate before responding. Or, just pick up the phone and call the person.
Five Things About Kimberly A. Madigan
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
I would want to talk to the framers of the Constitution and find out whether they intended for the Second Amendment to be interpreted as broadly as it is today.
2. Favorite city?
Vancouver, British Columbia.
3. How do you release stress?
Orange Theory workouts and Bikram yoga.
4. What app can’t you live without?
5. What’s the best advice anyone’s given you?
If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing