We are delighted to introduce #transitiontuesdays where we will feature a fearless leader and their transition story.
You’ll learn how they took action on their dreams. Some have transitioned to exciting new jobs, others to a completely new career, or to their own businesses.
We are hoping that these stories inspire you or someone you know.
We’d like to start our Spotlight Series #transitiontuesdays with my friend Lillian A. Ser, Esq.
At the age of 35 after a successful career, a marriage, and two small kids, Lillian decided to go back to school and follow her dreams of becoming an attorney.
In 2009, she founded Ser & Associates, a minority-owned, female-owned boutique law firm, certified at the federal, state, and local levels. Ser & Associates represents individuals, entrepreneurs, and small to medium-sized businesses in corporate, business, and real estate matters.
Learn what motivated this fearless leader to make her transition.
What was your first job and how did you get it?
First Job in life at 13 – Grocery Store cashier. Got it by walking in and asking if they needed part-time help. First job in Career #1 – Bursar for the University of Miami. I worked my way up from secretary to the boss. First job in Career #2 – Shutts & Bowen, a prestigious big law firm. I worked very hard in law school and graduated in the top 2% of my class. That, coupled with 10 years of experience, got me the job.
When and how did you decide to transition your career to what you do today?
I decided to go to law school when I was 35 yrs old. I had reached the upper echelons at UM and knew that it would be a very long time before I could ascent further. Then I thought, I can go somewhere else and do the same job (Billing/Collections/Management) or return to my first life plan of becoming a lawyer.
What steps did you take to make that transition and how long did it take?
First, I prepared for the LSAT by taking a prep course. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a good score. But, I did. Then, I applied to UM (the only choice I had since I was married with 2 young kids and couldn’t leave the area) thinking I wouldn’t get in. But, I did. Then I thought there was no way I could afford to go to school full-time. But, I was awarded a 50% scholarship for my first year. And, based on my ranking, I got a full ride for the 2nd and 3rd year. So all the student loan money went towards helping to support my family. In a nutshell, it was meant to be. 😊
What tools, training or coaching did you acquire/learn to help you make the transition?
I was fortunate in that I was an older student and had real life experience, plus time management skills. I did not have the money or time to have a career coach per se, but I did rely heavily on the UM Career Source Dept to find summer jobs and improve on my interviewing skills. In fact, I went to the career source my first week of law school and telling the counselor, I need to start working on my job prospects for when I graduate. The counselor laughed and said, come back at the end of year two. I said, no. I need a job for the next two summers and a job lined up immediately after I take the Bar. And, so it was…
What does life look like now that you have transitioned into doing what you are doing?
I’ve been an attorney now for over 20yrs. I have never once regretted my decision and the hard work/sacrifices I had to make and that my family had to make. I have built a good reputation and have helped many people on the way. I’m proud of my accomplishments and, most especially, grateful for making my uneducated/immigrant parents goal of a better life for their daughter a reality.
What advice would you have given your younger self?
Trust your gut. Every time you feel uneasy about something, someone or a decision, there usually is something wrong. And, if you don’t know what to do. Don’t do anything for a little bit. The right path will reveal itself.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Don’t think too long or hard about a decision because of fear of failure. Failure is the way we learn and improve. And, sometimes, if you wait too long, someone will get there first.
Describe your ideal vacation.
Hmmmmm… traveling to a new place – ANYWHERE!
Learn more about Lillian and her firm: