What inspired you to join/start your business?
I come from a broad background of practice (criminal, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, employment law, bankruptcy, etc.) and wanted to narrow my focus to just one area of the law, so as to better serve my clients and to facilitate a more holistic approach to my career. I am passionate about helping people. A DUI charge is a serious offense, and usually - though not always - those facing a DUI may be suffering from addiction or may be experiencing a turbulent time in their life. I strive to offer a judgment-free, confidential, and safe space for my clients to candidly discuss their particular situation.
I only take on 3 DUI clients a month. I believe in transparency, so my fees are posted on my website. I want my clients to fully understand the legal process, so all of my client communication is written in plain English (as opposed to "legalese.")
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
Sexism in the law is real and pervasive. I've been subjected to sexism in my profession on a near-constant basis since becoming licensed in 2015. My male colleagues will ignore me, ask me if I'm an assistant, ask me to make them coffee, talk over me, comment on my appearance, etc.
I try to overcome these challenges by continually proving myself to be a competent attorney and successful business owner. I believe that the best way to combat sexism is to face it head on and to call it out when you see it. This is a plea to all the good men out there - please be an ally and CALL OUT OTHER MEN when they are being sexist. Only through cooperative and conscious effort can real societal change begin.
What was your most satisfying moment in your career?
Launching my own firm has absolutely been the most satisfying moment of my career. I hope to reach another satisfying benchmark within the next 5 years by growing my firm to the point of being able to bring on another attorney.
How do you define success?
I define success as something bigger than just your job or career. While I am passionate about my profession, I am a whole human being with interests and desires unrelated to my job. I define success as finding a perfect balance between all of the moving parts that make you who you are. I am an attorney, but I am also a spouse, aunt, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, and global citizen. Being able to balance all of these parts of myself - without going insane in the process - is how I define success.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
My late father, Dr. John Shanken-Kaye, PhD, used to say "the only person you can change is yourself."
What women inspire you and why?
While I am inspired by women everywhere, I am currently drawing inspiration from my sisters, Molly and Ava.
Molly is a Sergeant with the Air National Guard and has just left for Officer Training School in Alabama. Upon graduating in April 2021, she will be promoted to Lieutenant. Prior to leaving for OTS, Molly was working active duty on the Covid-19 mission in upstate NY and will be receiving the Air Force commendation medal for her service, which has helped saved countless lives.
My other sister Ava is only 20 years old and the pandemic had put a serious snag in her college plans. Despite the interruption in her studies, Ava has recently traveled to Germany, where she is working and studying for her Bachelor's degree. It takes a special kind of strength, especially during a global pandemic, to continue to reach for new heights and new experiences. I am so proud of both of them.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Be strong in your convictions and do not be afraid of failure. Failure is experience gained.
Describe yourself in three words.
Confident, compassionate, and curious.
Fill in the Blank:
- When I face a challenge, I... do not panic! Instead, I try to look at it as if the challenge is happening to someone else. What advice would I give them?
- If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… invest in GameStop stock.
- The one thing I couldn’t live without is… the internet. I love having so much information at my fingertips.
- By this time next year, I will be… either thriving or combating zombies.
- The best thing that happened to me last week was… I mastered the Hiragana and Katakana Japanese syllabary. I am enamored with Japanese culture and hope to travel to Tokyo one day.
- To get my creative juices flowing, I… doodle with pen and paper.