Episode 142 – Happiness = Laughter, coffee, gardening and a hello with lawyer Sarah Cleeland
In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing family lawyer & mediator Sarah Cleeland. Sarah is a Brisbane local and is someone I have known pretty much since my first day in law land. When I began practice in the little town of Sandgate north of Brisbane, Sarah was a few years ahead of me and around the corner at the vibrant local practice Gill and Lane Solicitors. Fast forward almost 20 years and I have moved ‘cityside’ while Sarah has stayed bayside now owning her own vibrant boutique family law and mediation practice in Sandgate, just a street from where she first began.
Sarah is someone we can all learn a lot from when it comes to happiness. Life has certainly thrown her a fair share of curveballs but it is the way she sees the world that had me both smiling and crying during this conversation. A mum to two now big boys she has done the ‘juggle’ we all speak of and I loved learning about how she has structured her practice around her family to try and get the best of all parts of her world within a 1km radius!
Sarah is a family lawyer but notes it is not always an easy job but her tips on managing those challenging moments will be useful for all lawyers- family or not! But my favourite stories from this interview involved Sarah’s university side hustle running a landscaping business and now being a mother to 100’s of pet frogs!!!! (I had no idea!)
- If Sarah was not a lawyer she would have been a teacher.
- Sarah grew up in Brisbane and the lifelong connections she has had with some of her colleagues.
- Sarah completed her law degree at Griffith University and was part of the first group to complete law through Griffith with only 85 in her class. My favourite part of this story was her ‘side hustle’ running a landscaping company with her then boyfriend and neighbour!
- Graduating in 1996, Sarah began her career in a boutique firm completing Articles of Clerkship.
- A weekend trip to Sandgate had Sarah falling in love with the area and it wasn’t long before she and her husband moved their lives to the beautiful bayside suburb.
- Sarah lost her husband, Greg in a car accident, 6 weeks before her first child was born in 2002- this event clearly changed her life in so many ways.
- The way in which Sarah’s colleagues stepped up to help her while she grieved.
- Handing hardship as a now single mother, and woman in the legal industry.
- Sarah started her own business Sarah Cleeland Family Lawyers in 2010 and the ups and downs of running a law firm.
- Some of Sarah’s favourite parts of living in a close knit community.
- The trust and value Sarah holds in all her colleagues.
- The benefits of attending conferences and other professional events and making connections with others in law land.
- Sarah’s tips on managing the emotional toll of working with clients on difficult legal cases.
- The daily joys of running her own business and how Sarah keeps herself motivated.
- Sarah takes 4 mini breaks during the year helping her to disconnect from running her practice.
- Being a mother of two boys, Sarah spends much of her weekend at sports and in the garden.
- Age has brought lots of perspective to Sarah along with sharing her home with 3 boys/men and 100’s of frogs!
- Sarah’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Sarah Cleeland!