Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Connie Britton's Hair Secret


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Best Door Mat I've Ever Encountered

Perfect for those days when you're too lazy to get out of bed when the police come knocking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I support Planned Parenthood.

I am a successful woman.

At least I'm on my way there.

I'm a college and law school graduate.  I'm an attorney.  I've won awards, started my own law practice, moved on to work with an amazing law firm, and I work very, very hard. I'm a Christian, even though I don't attend Church as much as I should.  I save money and dream about the day when I will be done paying off student loans. I enjoy a little bit of trash TV, a lot of NPR, and believe you can never stop learning.

And I support Planned Parenthood.

I'll admit that I am disturbed over the recent videos regarding the sale of aborted babies' body parts.  At first, I really hoped I'd read a article about how the footage was made up by some right-wing crazy conservative anti-abortion group. But that article didn't come.  And I still stand by my decision to support Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to abortions, we need to do better for both the women undergoing abortions and the lives that won't come into being because of the procedure.  What we can't do is allow the misguided activities of one center to negate the immense amount of good Planned Parenthood does for society. Planned Parenthood isn't just a place women go for abortions; it's a place we go for medicine, gynecological exams, breast exams, and help when we're at the most terrifying point in our lives.  It's a place where women learn about and take care of their bodies, which-- in my opinion-- are pretty amazing.  And now, with the calls for #defundplannedparenthood, #StoPP, and especially #womenbetrayed I think it's time I shared the story of how they helped me.

After law school, at 26 years old, despite being a successful student and following all of the "rules" life put out for me, I didn't have the big lawyer job.  I was self employed, with very little money, and struggling to make ends meet.  I was balancing the needs of my law practice with my personal financial needs, and I was flailing.  Some months, I chose to pay my malpractice insurance; others I had to pay my health insurance (yup, I was on "Obamacare" and yup, it sucked and I hated it, so remember this when you accuse me of being a raging liberal).

I have been on hormonal birth control since I was 12 and a half years old.  I had to go on birth control pills (BCP) to regulate my whiplash-inducing mood swings, the cramps that were so bad I would vomit, and the resulting school I was missing.

At 26, I began getting debilitating migraines around "that time."  My new primary care physician in Richmond (whom, let me remind you, I could barely afford) looked over my chart, and-- due to several factors-- very seriously told me that birth control pills were not the best option for me. She pulled me off immediately, and recommended a hormonal IUD.

For those of you who don't know, an IUD can cost anywhere from $450--$1000 plus the cost of the appointment, follow up care, etc.  Facing this enormous expenditure as I was trying to figure out how to pay this month's malpractice insurance was terrifying. I remembered how without my BCP, I could barely make it to school, yet here I was with that option taken away from me.  I feared how ill I would become once I was off of my BCP, and remembered the long nights spent crying in pain.  I didn't have time for that at this point in my life-- people depended on me!

I tried to find providers in the area with availability to see me, but none of them had appointments for at least a month.  And that was just for the initial consult!  Time was ticking.

That's when I made my appointment with Planned Parenthood.

They saw me immediately-- as in within 4 days .  They were patient with me when I told them I was terrified.  They were firm in making sure I made my own decision.  There were no frills, and some poor male med student was watching (high five to Alex or whatever your name was, and thanks for making sure I didn't hyperventilate!).  But the doctor was understanding and the nurses were kind.

And I was covered.  And I walked out of there tremendously relieved.

I share this story because I support the work Planned Parenthood does for women in America.  I have never had to use their abortion services, and I honestly don't know what I would do if I were in that position.  However, I do know that many women would have illegal medical procedures resulting in infections, incomplete abortions, or death of both mother and fetus.  Women like me-- an upper middle class, white female-- wouldn't have access to medications and services that we couldn't afford as a broke 20-something.  We  are successful doctors, lawyers, and business women;women who can't imagine bringing another child into the world to be abused, neglected, or hungry every night; women who were raped; women who simply can't do it; women who are trying to make a place in this world.  Desperation makes us do things we never imagined.

I don't think anyone LIKES abortion.  Who gets joy out of having to terminate a pregnancy?  I don't think the doctors, nurses, and staff at Planned Parenthood walk into work every day hoping to do an abortion.  I don't think they get a kick out of the emotional warfare abortion services cause.  I think they realize the alternative, and the rights a woman should have to her body, and they keep fighting to protect women and provide them with the medical care they need.

Does Planned Parenthood need to do better?  Absolutely.  Should we completely cut off the only source of gynecological care used by millions of American women?  Absolutely not.  Nothing is worth that.

Please consider my story.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Courtroom Yoga

Those folks over at the Bitter Lawyer have created one of my favorite new infographics: COURTROOM YOGA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Recap: Presenting at Wedding Wire World

It's been a whirlwind week already, and it's only Wednesday!

Action shot courtesy of @WeddingWireEdu
I was blessed with the opportunity to present at Wedding Wire World 2015, Wedding Wire's annual national conference.  Held at the Gaylord National Harbor in DC, it was 2 days of networking, amazing presentations, and fantastic resources.  The Wedding Wire staff were FANTASTIC To work with, and the venue was simply gorgeous.  I was lucky enough to stay overnight at the Gaylord, and I can tell you that it's the closest thing to a cruise ship on dry land!  Between the glass-encased atrium, the top-of-the-line service, and fantastic food, I will definitely be back.

I was asked to present on "The Legalities of Small Business."  I shoved as much substantive content as I could into a 30-minute timeslot (while disclaiming that this was NOT LEGAL ADVICE, as any good attorney would....) and was delighted by the packed house!

Friday, March 13, 2015

What I've Learned from 7 Months in Solo Practice

Starting a solo practice, especially as a young attorney, is terrifying.  There is so much to do, every single decision is yours, and on top of practicing law, you're running a business.  It feels like malpractice suits are around every corner, and you've got the Bar Ethics Hotline on speed dial.  

I started my practice in August, and haven't looked back.  Some days are definitely harder than others, and some weeks are less-lucrative than others.  However, I am truly happy doing what I do.

I'm by no means an expert at running a solo practice. However, I've learned a lot and can say that I'm doing alright.  I've compiled a list of some helpful things I've learned in my first 7 months of practice.  I hope these little tidbits can help some other "SmallLaw" practitioners.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Who is Pumps & Gavels, and Where is Socially Caroline?

If you're one of the 45,000 people who has visited my blog over the past 5 years, you might be wondering "who or what is 'Pumps & Gavels?!'"

I'm here to tell you that it will all be ok.

I started Socially Caroline in 2010 as a way to record the "Sights, Sounds, and Sociability of a Law Student."  During that time, I recorded my thoughts and experiences in law school, during internships, and while studying for the Bar Exam.

I kept blogging while I conquered New York City as a young professional.  But something felt... off.  I wanted to run my blog differently, and in a more mature (read: less spastic) way.  I wanted it to reflect my professional life while adding a bit of flavor to my online work image.  But I wasn't sure how.  In the end, I walked away from blogging and from Socially Caroline because I couldn't figure out how to make those two worlds-- professional and social-- mix on the internet without tarnishing my reputation as a strong and trustworthy attorney.

But I missed it.

This was my first header. I still dig the "Read. Brief. Craft. Repeat." tagline!

After taking almost a year of a break and really figuring out my life, career, and the path I want to take, I've decided that I'm ready to get back into the blogging world. But I didn't want to start over-- I had such great followers and had already put such hard work into making Socially Caroline a great blog.

So I've decided that it's time for Socially Caroline to grow up with me.

I've renamed this blog "Pumps & Gavels" to showcase my life as a solo female attorney who embraces femininity.  I want to break that "mahogany-black-suit-old-white-guy" stigma that pervades lawyer imagery.  I want to run a practice that makes me HAPPY!

This blog will follow my journey as I work to build a practice, explore life as a Lady Boss, and balance work with life.  I want to entertain, share, and even make people laugh.

Yet another image from the past...
So for those of you who have been with Socially Caroline since the beginning-- I cannot thank you enough.  Your page visits are what has kept me posting!  Make sure you update your browser links to

And for those of you who are just joining this ride-- check out the archives (but don't hate for the formatting issues.... it's been a long road!).

THANK YOU to everyone who reads, replies, and subscribes-- you all mean more to me than you know!

Welcome to the rebrand.

xoxo CJF

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preach, Taylor

Taylor Swift recently dropped her newest single, "Shake it Off," and I must say that I'm a fan.  Anytime someone breaks it down in a tutu, I  am transported back to the days where I was "that girl" in dance class.  The song "Shake it Off" speaks to me as well, especially as a solo business owner.  People are always going to hate. Take it from Taylor and shake those people off.

Without further delay, my life as a solo practitioner as told by T-Swift:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Great Video: How does an NDA protect my ideas?

In the past, clients don't always agree with me when I tell them they need a non-disclosure agreement, or an NDA.  This video explains, in 2 short minutes, two big benefits of NDAs for any business.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Exciting announcement

After a month hiatus, I can finally announce the exciting updates in my life.

I've moved back from NYC after my wonderful experience at the music corporation.  I've had time to settle my brain, look into my heart, and decide what I really want in life.

I am thrilled to say that as of July 29, 2014, I have officially opened my own law practice.

I specialize in small businesses, media law, and all things digital. It's been a crazy ride so far, but I am ecstatic to be able to share this new journey with all of my readers.

The World's Newest #Girlboss