Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Goldstein.
Lori, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have several passions – helping others, equality and civil rights, and writing. Planning to pursue a journalism career (like my dad), I wrote for my high school and college newspapers and graduated from University of Illinois with a journalism degree. But during college, I took several pre-law classes and fell in love with the law. I stayed at U of I for law school, met my future husband there, and graduated in 1984. (We got engaged at an Illini football game, with an airplane banner proposal.)
I began my legal career and I knew I made the right choice. It has provided opportunities to pursue all of my passions. I worked for 2 midsize downtown Chicago law firms (one for 16 years, the next for 11) as an employer/ management side commercial litigator and employment lawyer, and I was fortunate to learn from many experienced mentors. I handled interesting civil rights matters, including providing accommodations for patrons with disabilities as part of the Chicago Theater renovation and a federal age discrimination appeal involving a large Japanese company. I’ve always enjoyed working with employers/HR, consulting on reductions in force, employment and severance agreements, compliance and day-to-day workplace situations. But I often wondered what it would be like to represent employees and “help the little guy.”
In 2011, I took that chance. I decided to hang my shingle as a solo employment lawyer. While I continued representing my clients and took on other employers, I also began representing employees (not those of my employer clients of course!) It’s been a wonderful path, helping individuals and companies understand their rights and obligations and resolve workplace issues amicably, efficiently and economically. Networking with gracious and connected professionals, business owners and leaders, HR representatives, and individuals in all industries, and developing and honing relationships, has led to a wonderful client, resource, and presentation opportunities and to new friendships. I am always impressed with stories of how other women have founded and led successful businesses. I especially like to meet people starting careers or businesses and share my experience and tips.
Giving back to the community through volunteer involvement is a life passion. Since 2012, I have served as a member of the Board of Career Resource Center, a nonprofit in Lake Forest that empowers individuals to successfully pursue career transition and job search; I love to be a career “matchmaker.” I volunteer with Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and I have been serving in board member and officer roles for the New Trier High School Board of Education and the North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) Leadership Council since 2011.
Has it been a smooth road?
Fortunately, my career path has been smooth, with only a couple of bumps. One thing that made it smooth was my employers’ generous maternity leave policy (6 months off) and the ability to work on a part-time basis while raising our daughters. By the same token, by focusing my part-time hours on client work, I didn’t appreciate the importance or learn the art, of networking and business development until I had my own firm.
The law firm where I began my career grew from 35 attorneys when I started to 125+. Growing pains resulted in the dissolution of the firm, so after 16 years I had to leave my professional “family.” Several of my colleagues and I moved together to another firm, expanding our network of clients and colleagues. 11 years later, that firm was acquired and I took a chance on flying solo. I’m so glad that I did – I love the flexibility, the chance to work with both employers and employees, and the pride in running my own business.
I was a bit hesitant to no longer work in a big law firm with other subject matter experts, as I had been accustomed to walking down the hall, for example, to ask my tax partner or real estate partner a question. But I soon joined a local women lawyers’ networking group – North Shore LAW – which has served as a resource for my clients and me in most areas of law, as well as a professional and personal group for mentoring, learning and growing as lawyers and business owners.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I represent employers (with 3 to 500 employees) and employees on a wide range of workplace issues, ranging from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, to disability/medical leave questions, wage-hour issues, worker classification, reductions-in-force, hiring and firing, severance and employment agreements, and non-competes. With the MeToo movement, sexual harassment and discrimination training has increased, as well as investigations, pursuit, and defense of claims at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and other administrative agencies. My work involves extensive writing – position letters, settlement proposals, contracts and employee handbooks, and I regularly write and present on employment law topics, including social media at work and employment law tips for small employers.
It is my personal philosophy to provide personal service to clients efficiently and economically, working to resolve legal workplace issues so that clients can move forward and focus on their work. I believe that several things make me unique:
– Clients receive a significant value because they get a former downtown firm attorney with almost 35 years of experience, for reasonable (non-downtown) fees;
– Representing both sides gives me an important perspective in every matter I handle, as well as credibility and respect (and sometimes referrals) from opposing parties/counsel;
– I am practical, cost-sensitive, efficient and economical;
– I believe in giving clients an opportunity to tell their story and seek advice from an empathetic but knowledgeable and realistic advisor, and in honestly letting clients know when an employment situation may be unfair but not illegal, or when issues should or should not be pursued;
– I love what I do and it positively impacts my clients and my work.
I am proud that in just weeks, I set up a solo law practice and quickly established my firm as a go-to employment law firm for businesses and individuals. I truly love helping employers to do the right thing and working with individuals to resolve issues and move to positive situations. I am also proud of the networks I have established through formal networking groups, individual meetings, presentations, articles, and always seeking creative ways to meet, connect and help others.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I definitely feel that Chicago and the surrounding suburbs provide excellent opportunities to entrepreneurs and small businesses who have a niche service, gel with their clients, and who are practical and reasonable and provide value efficiently and economically. I’ve met many colleagues who help businesses, from start-up through growth to succession planning. From the perspective of my practice, employers with even just 1 employee are governed by many laws and regulations and should be aware of compliance requirements and reduce risk. Many local mentors, coaches, and networking groups are available to give expert advice to our local businesses.
- Address: 1787 Orchard Lane #8355
Northfield, IL 60093
- Website: www.lorigoldsteinlaw.com
- Phone: 847-624-6640
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriGoldsteinEmploymentLawyer/