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How This Accidental Entrepreneur Built a Multi-Million Dollar Law Firm as a Single Mom

Miriam Airington grew up watching legal dramas with her grandma. 

She remembers thinking, “That’s going to be me.”

She went to law school and started her career as a legal aid attorney, then moved into private practice. 

For a decade, Miriam practiced law as a trial lawyer and absolutely loved it. She was in court seven days a week, all day, doing jail visits at night. On the weekends, she was meeting with coworkers to do trial prep. It was all-consuming and amazing. 

Then in 2016, her whole life changed in a matter of weeks. 

She had a baby girl, went through a divorce, and had to leave her firm because it was breaking apart. As a brand new single mom, she needed to keep working, but also wanted to keep doing what she loved as a lawyer. 

With no business plan or money set aside, she decided to open her own firm. She had never seen herself as a law firm owner, but she also hadn’t seen any moms working as trial lawyers who had flexibility. That wasn’t a thing. 

So she became an accidental entrepreneur. 

Miriam found an inexpensive office where she shared a space with two other lawyers. They pooled their money together to share a receptionist. She had a few clients, but her criminal defense cases were pretty short-lived. In many ways, she was starting from scratch. 

As a mom, she was much more limited than at the start of her career. There was no option to stay late because she had to be at daycare at 5:00. There was no option to work on weekends. She didn’t have family in town. She was forced to grow within those parameters. 

Today, Miriam owns and manages Airington Law, the woman-led multi-million dollar firm she founded eight years ago as a new mom. 

In order to scale their business and achieve better work-life balance for her employees, Miriam’s firm moved away from litigation-based work to immigration law. Miriam and her team have worked hard to create a workplace culture that’s family-focused but still hard charging. 

One of the issues that has fueled her work has been the lack of accessibility in the law for women, particularly moms.

Harvard economist, Claudia Goldin, has done extensive research on women in professional fields. She included the legal field on a short list of fields that are extremely inflexible, rigid and inaccessible for women. 

Another study, from the American Bar Association, showed that women are entering the law in equal numbers as men, but they’re not staying or excelling. 

There’s a culture in the law of needing to be 1000% invested in your work around the clock that’s creating a ceiling for women. 

Miriam has focused a lot of her time and energy on helping working moms, because those are the people who are pushing back and asking for change. 


Here are 3 practical ways Miriam’s firm has created a family-friendly culture: 

  1. Compensation - The firm’s operational budget is very salary-heavy. Employees also get a variety of benefits including health, vision, and dental. 
  2. Extensive PTO - Miriam’s firm offers six weeks of PTO. Employees have all the government holidays off as well as the week of winter holidays. On top of that, employees get an additional four weeks of discretionary pay. 
  3. Reasonable Hours - Miriam has a team working from another time zone so her firm can have extended business hours, while her local team gets to be home with their families. She also uses technology to implement a client portal and electronic payments so they can serve clients without having to work around the clock. 

For other firms who want to implement this kind of culture, Miriam recommends they look at two things. First, how the firm is run, and second, their mindset. 

Lawyers can be slow to adopt new technology. Many of the tools other fields are using to maximize efficiency and profitability also work in law firms. Implementing these tools would free up money for better compensation, multiple teams, and a client portal. 

As far as mindset, a lot of narratives get ingrained in people’s heads like, “My clients won’t talk to a paralegal. They have to talk to me.” But most of these types of narratives aren’t true. Firms need to make the mindset shift that a more balanced culture is not only possible, but critical for their employees’ wellbeing. 

I was so inspired by Miriam’s courage and her story of stepping out to pave a new path for herself as a working mom. Her firm is evidence that there’s a different and better way to practice law. We don’t have to keep buying into the toxic narrative that we can’t have a life outside of the office. We can be successful in our career and be present with our families as well. 


How to Connect with Miriam: 

Book: Mom's a Lawyer: How to Start a Firm and Take Control of Your Life


Instagram: @lawyerlikeamother 

Email: [email protected]

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