My legal career is a bit unconventional. After graduating from St. Thomas University School of Law, I began my practice with Keller Landsberg PA in Fort Lauderdale, working in the areas of professional liability defense, insurance coverage and defense and commercial litigation. I learned invaluable lessons under the tutelage of David Keller and Alan Landsberg – two incredible lawyers who instilled in me a deep respect for the profession. When my first son was born, I made the difficult decision to leave full-time practice. I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to join the firm of Vera + Skiscim PL, representing homeowners in first party property insurance disputes against their insurance carriers. I love my work, and I am so passionate about representing plaintiffs in these cases. I am also incredibly thankful that my work with Vera + Skiscim allows me the flexibility to be home with my sons during the day (they are two-years-old, and six-months-old), complete legal work during off-hours (usually once the kids go to sleep, and before they wake up in the morning), and participate in my true passion – indoor cycling. I am a full-time cycling instructor at Cycleward Studio in Fort Lauderdale. The fulfilment I get from instructing and inspiring my riders to better their bodies and minds is unparalleled. I encourage everyone – especially those of us in the legal profession – to embrace the benefits of exercise and prioritize health and wellness.
When I’m feeling stressed I… call my parents! I’m so lucky to have the most supportive, caring and understanding family. At the end of that phone call, I’m guaranteed to feel better.
I feel most alive when I…am on stage instructing a cycling class. There’s nothing like the feeling of leading a packed room full of energetic, enthusiastic riders who are all committed to doing something great for their bodies and minds. Looking out and seeing fifty riders who are counting on me to help them achieve their fitness goals is the most exciting and humbling feeling ever!
A period in my life when I really struggled was… shortly after my first son was born. Adjusting to new motherhood while re-defining my career (I left the firm I had been with from day one!) was a balancing act. But, in time, everything came into focus.
My preferred method of exercise is… indoor cycling! There is nothing like it!
The most important thing in my life is… my husband and two amazing kids.
The first thing I do when I wake up is… make coffee, of course! (A habit that I picked up after having kids).
I am most productive during the day when I… wake up early! My best work is completed before 6 am!
Every day I make sure to…tell my family that I love them.
On a typical Saturday night you will find me… asleep by 9 pm (and that’s my “late night”). I guess that’s par for the course when you have a six-month-old and a two-year-old.
During the week I wake up at… usually around 4 am. I bang out some legal work until about 6:30 when the kids wake up, and then we head out to Cycleward! I spend the day with my kids, and legal work recommences at 7pm when they go to sleep.
My guilty pleasure is… reality tv! I can’t get enough.
The best way to deal with a difficult colleague or opposing counsel is… to remember that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Unfortunately, you’re going to come across some difficult people in your practice. But, I’d rather lead by example and always maintain the utmost professionalism. In my experience, civility goes a long way and the difficult person ends up coming around – it’s hard to be rude to someone who won’t stoop to that level!
The quickest way to ruin your career is… giving others reason to call your integrity into question
I wish more lawyers… were nice to each other! Zealously representing your client doesn’t mean zealously hating the opposing counsel. We’re both just doing our jobs!
The best way to promote health & wellness among lawyers is… to organize group outings focusing on health and wellness and encourage lawyers to participate in healthy activities as a group. While I served on the Board of the Young Lawyers Section of the Broward County Bar Association, I was greatly involved in planning “Sweatworking Events” – group fitness outings that focused on networking while participating in healthy activities. Establishing a fitness community can be the difference between dreading and loving your workout. There is tons of evidence showing that working out with a group motivates you to work out longer and with greater intensity than going at it solo. These physical benefits are coupled with undeniable mental and social perks: finding your fitness community will make you happy and lead to quality friendships. Working out becomes more than just a way to improve your body – it improves your life.
I am currently reading… An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
If I weren’t a lawyer I would be…a full-time cycling instructor.
Law schools should teach… practical applications of law! I graduated with no idea what a discovery response looked like! But, as an associate, I was expected to be able to answer discovery right off the bat. Thankfully, I began my practice with a firm that took the time to help hone my skills, but others are thrust into practice without any idea what they are doing. I would have LOVED a law school course that focused on the everyday tasks associated with litigation.
Emily is a spin instructor, mother, lawyer, and all around awesome person.