Changing climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow
While gender equality in the workplace may be making ground generally across the board, there are some fields of work that have historically been more resistant to this shift.
Legal practice has traditionally been male-dominated and an occupation so much more difficult to progress in for women who dare attempt to juggle a family at the same time.
Melanie Crowe, principal of the law firm Crowe Legal, is one such woman who has been keeping all of those balls in the air for nearly 25 years.
“Managing the pressure and responsibility is difficult. But law is all I ever wanted to do, nothing else was an option, so I just keep pushing on,” she said.
Crowe Legal was founded by Melanie two years ago, just before COVID-19 hit our shores.
“Of course the timing worried me at first, however I have been kept very busy with work and consider myself lucky in that regard,” Melanie said.
“It also meant I could work from home and be there for my children when they were remote learning through lockdowns.
“It ended up being a blessing and time I would not have shared with them otherwise.”
Melanie practices in the area ofwWills and estates, drafting wills and enduring powers of attorney, and administering deceased estates.
“Providing legal services in these areas requires a practical yet empathetic approach. Many people are anxious about seeking the assistance of a lawyer and can find the process very formal and confronting, especially given the very personal and sometimes emotional nature of the areas I work in,” she said.
“I think what I bring to the services I provide is very personal and compassionate. I take away the mystery; my explanations are thorough and in plain language so my clients are equipped with a practical understanding of what they need, why they need it and the process to achieve it.”
A point of difference that Melanie provides is attending client meetings in their own home to make sure clients are comfortable and less intimidated by the process.
Melanie notes that many people will procrastinate about putting into place such important measures as wills and enduring powers of attorney.
“It’s satisfying assisting my clients get their ‘legal housekeeping’ in order,” she said.
“It’s usually something that has been playing on their mind for some time and they are always so very relieved when it’s been addressed.
“I especially enjoy helping clients in the administration of deceased estates (grants of probate and such).
“When a family member or loved one dies, it can be difficult to know where to start. In times of grief, it can all be overwhelming.
“I like to think I make the process as easy as it can be.”
And what led Melanie to the decision to go out on her own?
“I wanted to deliver my services my way,” she said.
“It’s a step that, in hindsight, I should have taken long ago. I guess smaller children and a bigger mortgage prevented me from taking that plunge earlier, however I’m proud of myself for establishing Crowe Legal.
“I hope my children see that a good work ethic, commitment and determination will hold them in good stead for whatever they wish to try their hand at.”