Mom, Lawyer, Entrepreneur – The Trifecta of Law Firm Triumph

Elise Buie, Esq., is a family law attorney who creates solutions, not obstacles. Her practice involves all aspects of family law, guided by a collaborative philosophy and her deep understanding of complex parenting issues. In this episode, Elise talks with us about her podcast, which is dedicated to the trifecta of three of the most challenging statuses that any person can have in our life; being a lawyer, being a law firm owner and being a mom. She guides others through the process of coming into a greater sense of appreciation for the difficulty of the trifecta and the ways that she handles it as an individual and a person who has dealt with a lot of trauma and significant experiences in each of those areas, all at the same time.


In this episode we discuss:

  • How the Maximum Mom podcast came about.
  • The real trifecta of role responsibilities: Mother, Lawyer and Entrepreneur.
  • The importance of being coached and doing mindset work.
  • Knowing that not everything has to be perfect.
  • Learning the art of delegation through teaching children their responsibilities.
  • The different roles of parent vs. employer.
  • Recognizing your zone of genius vs. your weak areas where you may want to hire help.
  • Knowing what’s important and setting your priorities and boundaries without apology.

Allison Williams: [00:00:11] Hi everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.

Allison Williams: [00:00:18] Elise Buie, Esq., is a passionate, creative, problem solving family law attorney who creates solutions, not obstacles. After evacuating her hometown of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and surviving a divorce, Elise landed in Seattle and founded her law firm. Alisa’s practice involves all aspects of family law, guided by a collaborative philosophy and her deep understanding of complex parenting issues. Elise opened her firm during a period of personal adversity. And now, in this period of global adversity, Alisa’s firm has experienced its most significant growth yet, which she attributes to primarily her driving force and mantra, I can do it. Now, the beautiful thing about Elise and the reason I’m so happy to have her on the podcast is the fact that she is a former client of Law Firm Mentor and I didn’t invite her on as a former client. I actually invited her on with the expectation of talking to her about her podcast, which is dedicated to the trifecta of three of the most challenging statuses that any person can have in our life, which include being a lawyer, being a law firm owner and being a mom. So Elise is going to talk to us about the ways in which she guides people through her process on her podcast of coming into a greater sense of appreciation for the difficulty of being all of those things at once and the ways that she handles that, not only as an individual, but as somebody who has had a lot of traumatic experiences, a lot of very significant experiences in each of those areas of her life, all at the same time.

Allison Williams: [00:02:08] And so, normally we don’t bring on successful attorneys. Of course, I want you guys to know about successful attorneys if they have services to offer you, because this podcast is really dedicated to serving the solo and small firm niche. But I wanted to bring on Elise in particular because I think that she is doing something unique and positive in the legal community that you don’t see every day. And as the Law Firm Mentor I personally do not have children. So that is one of those three statuses that I don’t bring to the table. But I tell people all the time, the evolution of your mindset is something that you require, no matter what your status is. And so what Elise talks to us about that I think is particularly helpful for those of you that do have all of those statuses is how to integrate the thought work that she and I worked on together into all of the different areas of your life in a way that allows you to enjoy being a mom and being a law firm owner and being a lawyer. Now, of course, the one thing that I should put a little caveat on here is that even though we are talking about being a mom and being a mom is different in our society than being a dad, there is a utilitarianism to understanding this perspective as for our fathers as well. So I invite all of our audience here at Law Firm Mentor to enjoy my conversation with Elise Buie.

Allison Williams: [00:03:32] All right, Elise Buie, welcome to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast.

Elise Buie: [00:03:38] Thank you so much, Allison, for having me, I love chatting with you.

Allison Williams: [00:03:42] Of course, and I love chatting with you, which is the reason why this show is so cool, because today I get to do something a little bit different than we normally do on the show. But those of you that have been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you know that the show is typically me or a member of our community, people that follow Law Firm Mentor or people that I’ve just come across who offer a service or product that is beneficial for the solo or small law firm attorney. And Elise is somebody who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for many years now. And in her journey of growing her own very successful law firm, she has been an inspiration to many, many lawyers. And so she is now doing something that I think is really cool. And it is not necessarily a service that people would go out and click on Add to Cart to be able to work with her. But it provides such value that I just couldn’t help but have her on the show. So I’m really, really excited to dive in. Emily, thank you so much for agreeing to be on the show.

Elise Buie: [00:04:37] Absolutely.

Allison Williams: [00:04:39] All right. So. I know with that big wind up you’re like. What are we talking about today? Today we’re going to talk about the Maximum Mom podcast? OK, so some of you may have heard about the platform Maximum Lawyer. But what I love about Elise is that she has created her own little subset of that platform called the Maximum Mom. And so I want to ask, for those that haven’t heard about it before. Elise, what is Maximum Mom all about?

Elise Buie: [00:05:05] Oh, thanks. Maximum Mom is something that was kind of like my baby. And I went to Jim and Tyson, who are the leaders of the Maximum Lawyering group. It’s like a Facebook group, probably, I don’t know, four thousand attorneys, male, female. You know, all owners. And I was involved in, you know, I would do webinars or things with the Maximum Lawyering, group. And I would get all this feedback from women coming to me asking me questions, because in my typical self, I mean, the fact that I am a mom comes out all the time and I am a mom of four children, step mom of two.

Elise Buie: [00:05:43] So we have this blended Brady Bunch, three girls, three boys, kind of family. And so women were reaching out to me all the time, and a lot of it was, you know, people and they were almost apologetic and they would reach out to me and they would be like, you know, I just have a question about this or how did you handle this or what did you do? And, you know, and I’m really up front explaining to people what a mess I really am. So, like, I would be like, oh, I have done that. And so then it occurred to me there was a real need and especially during the pandemic. And so I reached out to Jim and Tyson and asked if they would be willing to allow me to host a podcast. And we named it the Maximum Mom podcast. And the whole idea is to encompass people who are moms, lawyers and entrepreneurs. And I mean, I think of that is a real trifecta of responsibilities. Yeah. And so that’s kind of how we got started. And it’s, you know, in its infancy. And but it’s a lot of fun. And I think it really offers some real life, authentic, just hard core truths about this trifecta.

Elise Buie: [00:06:56] You know, I sometimes think social media can make it look all unicorns and rainbows. And I mean, I’m here to tell you, the unicorns poo on the carpet and the rainbows get blurry.

Allison Williams: [00:07:05] So Elise, I love that you’re saying this. And so, first of all, as somebody who knows you. I think you are far less of a mess than you like to characterize yourself to be. But when we talk about someone being quote a mess, I think it really is that disconnect that you just described between this is what social media says I am. My hair’s always done. My nails are always done. I have on the right outfit.

Allison Williams: [00:07:30] It doesn’t show the kid threw up on my outfit five minutes before I had to leave. It doesn’t show that I had to be late for court because my kid was sick and my husband left for work already. It doesn’t show all of the parts of our humanity that we are supposed to suspend when we’re lawyering, let alone when we’re both lawyering, and being the owner of a business. And so the fact that you’re being authentic about that, I think really does fit a need. And I want you to talk just a little bit about your your authenticity and the fact that you are willing to kind of put that messiness out there in a way that does disconnect from the public image that I’m sure we all would like to have of ourselves, of having it all dialed in.

Elise Buie: [00:08:11] Yeah, well, I have to say, I just have not been all dialed in, but it is I mean, there is the whole thing of raising all these children, going through a divorce, moving, dealing with Hurricane Katrina, you know, now dealing with the pandemic, starting a firm because I didn’t have two cents to put together to pay for my kids to go to college. And I had to figure that out quick because I had these four kids like, yo, mom, you say education’s important and college is looming. So like a lot of things came together that I had to do as part of my role as a mom.

Elise Buie: [00:08:47] And I used my role as a lawyer and then as a law firm owner to create what I wanted to create and do for my children. But I mean, to say that it was smooth sailing would be just a whole big lie. I mean, it has been bumpy, messy. I’ve learned along the way. I’ve made big mistakes on things. You know, there’s all kinds of things. I mean, and, you know, as somebody who has worked with me in a professional capacity coaching me, I mean, all the things in all the learning, you know, that I have needed to do and still need to do, you know, is part of that journey. And I think it’s a mistake for us to pretend that it’s not a bumpy journey, because I think it really creates an ideal that is not at all real and true. It’s almost like those people who are, you know, whatever they call it, when you fix up people in a picture and you make them look perfect, you know.

Allison Williams: [00:09:46] Yeah, the filters.

Elise Buie: [00:09:48] And I mean, I just I don’t do filters well. I’m a good Southern girl. We say what we mean. We mean what we say. We throw a little bless your heart at the end. So people think you’re being nice. But, you know, like, I just I think in it for me, I can only speak for me. For me, it is just easier to be me. And that is, I mean, it’s sometimes been really messy. I mean, I’ve had real issues with kids and things that I’ve had hard, messy mom situations and, you know, hard, messy lawyer situations and law firm owner situations. And I think that we learn from each other. And I know for me, I have an easier time learning from somebody who at least feels that they speak from a place of authenticity. When I can feel like they understand, you know, that it’s not all unicorns.

Allison Williams: [00:10:40] Yeah. So Elise I love that you’re talking about the fact that you were coached, because there there’s there’s one of the things that I think a lot of people shy away from is the idea of you. You want to get yourself under control. And you, I think, embraced in a way that is very unique, the idea that I am not under control and that is OK. Right. It isn’t that my life’s mission is to figure out a way to have all of my clothes neatly pressed in my home, meticulously clean, and my children perfectly behaved and my business running at full speed ahead, like. But notwithstanding that you have been able to say, when I was in a place of distress, I also wanted more for myself. I wanted more profit, I wanted more success for my team. I wanted everyone to do well. And I could create that as long as I could commit to that while also being not perfect.

Elise Buie: [00:11:33] Absolutely. I mean, I think coaching is I mean, I have to say it is like the Golden Rainbow in my mind of what you need. And at different times, I think you need different coaches and different styles. And there’s mindset work that you can do that I think is I mean, critical to the foundation of almost everything you’re going to do. And then sometimes you might need a coach. I mean, I’ve worked with you. I’ve worked with other coaches on delegation, like helping me learn to delegate and helping me teach my team how to delegate, you know, and I mean, I joke all the time that I mean, I really mastered delegation on the backs of my children because I was like, OK, I taught you how to do the laundry. So don’t ever bring me your laundry again, because my whole job is to make you independent. And here you are with your pink clothes and they look cute. You know, you’re fine in school with your clothes, but like…

Allison Williams: [00:12:31] Your pink used to be white clothes.

Elise Buie: [00:12:34] Exactly. And I mean but I think that those are I mean, it sounds silly, but in my world, delegation is probably one of the highest skills that I have needed to learn. And truly, being a mom has helped that because I have been able to watch. I mean, lucky for me, I had a pile of kids, so there was some trial and error in there, too, you know, and you would see how some kids were able to take little direction and run with it. There may be more initiative. Then other kids would come back and they would need my constant direction. So I kind of learned that personality and what I needed to do to successfully delegate to that. And then I had the child who was a little more free spirited and he had his own ideas on what he was doing. So, you know, I learned about how to deal with that, where somebody tends to think delegation means they can just go run amok.

Allison Williams: [00:13:29] Yeah, that’s where my practice area comes in Elise. Just so you know, those kids, those special free spirited kids are the reason why child abuse…

Elise Buie: [00:13:41] But it’s also the reason why you’re crushing chaos, because you think about all that you teach us on systematizing your business. You have to have employees that are willing to follow those systems, at least until they’re able to take the initiative and tell you a better system and provide you a reason for changing your system. But you have your own skill set, you know.

Allison Williams: [00:14:04] Yeah, and I think that’s, like that’s a perfect that’s a perfect bridge to the second kind of piece of this, which is, you know, as a mom, you have to balance so many things, especially a mom of a lot of children and a step child, 2 step children. So you have that relationship also to nurture. Right. So you’re doing a lot in nurturing and creating and sustaining and evolving relationships. But what I think a lot of people miss when it comes to creating a business culture is you can’t just copy and paste your whole life onto your business relationship and say, well, I love you as my child and you do what I tell you to do. I’ll ask that same thing of my employee. I love you because I pay you X dollars or I love you because I show you the way to increase your career trajectory and therefore I want you to do the same thing. And they’re not the same skill, even though they draw upon some of the same emotions and some of the same analytical framework.

Elise Buie: [00:14:56] Oh, I mean, you have hit the nail on the head. And I know when I coached with you, you helped me so much in dealing with that dynamic in my team and helping me better understand how to be the best employer I could be and still be authentic to my very maternal self, because there is no doubt I have this very strong maternal self. But that is a very different role as an employer versus a parent. And I think that learning… I call it like leading, managing and holding people accountable. I mean, you know, it’s a very, it is a caring role. But there is definitely what I call that whole idea of radical candor. You know, caring personally and challenging directly and learning that skill, because I have an easier time challenging my children directly, I have to say naturally. Then I have my employees.

Allison Williams: [00:15:50] You know why that is Elise?

Elise Buie: [00:15:52] I don’t.

Allison Williams: [00:15:54] I would posit that that happens. And because I I’ve heard that from other clients before, I would posit that, that happens because, you know, your children have an unconditional love for you. Right. But when you’re in a relationship with your children, where there’s some degree of dependence, if not financial dependence, there’s emotional dependence that comes in the bonding relationship when you have your child. But when you have any other person, whether it’s a significant other, whether it’s an employee, a friend, you’re always going to have that risk that the person could leave. And there is a greater risk with somebody who does not have as much dependence as you have with parent child relationships. And so what I see a lot of people do is they try to create that through emotional manipulation of their employees. Right? Oh, I pay you bonuses so therefore you should stay with me. Or, oh, I let you come and go as you please. I don’t require face time, so you should stay with me. And what they’re really doing is they’re trying to give that carrot and stick relationship of it’s a quid pro quo. But I am giving you from the love, place, not from the, this is what the employer relationship should be, to ultimately optimize the performance of an employee. And so there’s an emotional detachment that, that we can’t have with our teams if we’re trying to be the same person as we are with our children, as we would like to be in our workplaces.

Elise Buie: [00:17:13] Right. That makes so much sense. Yeah. And it’s it is a fascinating dynamic. I think this whole role of, of caring personally and challenging directly and really being able to get those together and get aligned with that. And it’s been something I’ve really been working on since I worked with you is to really be able to do that. And and I have found that by challenging directly, more readily and, you know, across the board, it’s allowed us to weed out some people in our firm that really were not up to par or not aligned with our core values in such a way that, you know. I was needing to do more of that parenting. You know, in quotes. You know, now I find that it is a much more arm’s length. You know, though, there is the caring personally part. And so it’s a dynamic because I, you know what I mean. I am definitely an extroverted kind of feeling, intuitive type. And so I do have a good rapport with my team. But there is, it’s a, it’s different now.

Elise Buie: [00:18:21] You know, I have this more radical candor around trying to hold them accountable, you know, managing them, leading them, but not solving, you know, trying to help them get to where they need to be. And I mean, I think of it and I don’t know if you’ve ever done like the Clifton strength finders or something like that, something I have really found interesting. When my biggest my number one strength is a maximizer. So I’m one of those people that kind of loves to see the good in what can people do. And, you know, and so for my team, I think that’s it’s really beneficial. But I have to then put on that challenge directly. You know, I can’t be always maximizing because that’s not my role. Whereas as a parent, I find that maximizing role is kind of awesome. Right. I’m able to see potential in my children that they don’t even see, you know what I mean? But I’m able to help lead them to see that potential. Not necessarily, you know, get them to act on it. I mean, maybe that’s not what they want to act on. And obviously they have to chart their own course. But just helping them to see some of that potential I think, has been really helpful to them as they’ve, you know, grown up.

Allison Williams: [00:19:39] Yeah. So Elise, we’re talking about we’re talking a lot about kind of the intersectionality between your work life and your home life, your mom life and your leadership role life in your business. And that just kind of begs the question, which is how do, with all of these pieces, right. They don’t, you can’t ever stop being you, but you do take on different personas, different roles as you are moving in the different domains of your life. And so the three different domains, the lawyering role, the entrepreneur role and the mother role, I would imagine that the strength that you bring from one area also overlaps in another area, just as some of the development areas that you have in one area might be triggered differently in another area. So can you talk to me about, particularly for the podcast, how you’re going to merge those three components, mom, lawyer and entrepreneur? And in particular, does one make you better in the other areas, as having a status of having all three of those very, very complex requirements of life.

Elise Buie: [00:20:43] That’s a really interesting question. I mean I, I don’t think, I don’t think in terms of better or worse. So I guess that I don’t you know, that’s just not my framework. But I definitely think there’s skills that a woman develops as a mom that is going to help her in her lawyer role and in her entrepreneur role. And I mean, some of those are very basic. Like we mentioned, delegating is one. I mean, delegating is actually huge. Two is prioritizing, you know, as a mom. I mean, there are many days where you’re looking at your family life. And I mean, there’s a myriad of things that need to be done. I mean, huge numbers. And you have to prioritize. I mean, so maybe the laundry is turning into Mount Vesuvius in your laundry room. And that’s just not that important. If you have a child who’s struggling with remote learning and they’re having like real issues with social and emotional development or some type of thing like that. So I think learning to prioritize, which I think as a lawyer, that is an extremely positive skill because I think we lawyers are faced and I mean, we do family law and I know you do as well. A lot of times we’re faced with a very complex inner web of problems and not all of them are of an equal priority. And I think learning to prioritize those is important. And I think that prioritization is very important as an entrepreneur as well. I think we all can look at our businesses. And I mean, you know, I know your business probably is smoother.

Elise Buie: [00:22:17] Like I always assume, you know, coaches, they have their thing down pat. I mean, there are things I sit in leadership team meetings with my team and we’ve been doing an annual meeting. And I mean, we had to, like, discover all the quote unquote issues. It was like 80 things long. And I was like, whoa, that’s some issues we’ve got to fix. So, you know, but learning to prioritize those because, you know, something on the list might be as simple as, you know, Elise doesn’t send out agendas that are, you know, succinct enough. I mean, like, OK, maybe I can fix that, but maybe creating an operations manual might be more important. But of course, I’ve done that, thanks to you. So I’ve got one off the issue list.

Allison Williams: [00:23:00] Yeah, well, Elise I’m going to interject here, because one thing that you said, I definitely want to disabuse you and the public, which is as much as I would love to claim perfection and say everyone should coach with me because I’ve got all my shit dialed in, the reality is I have things that are my weak point, my weak points that I either hire around as I am working on improving those areas, or I simply deal with those areas as they find me. So, you know, by the time I started the coaching business, I already had a multi-million dollar law firm. And so that business ran without me. And there are things that when the coaching business like really just kind of took off, that I was like, holy shit. Like, when did I ever have to do these things? Like the first time I had to to figure out payroll, I had to, like, ask my office administrator. I was like, how did we like get people on payroll before? She was like, don’t you remember how you did that? I was like, No! And one would think that that that’s a pretty simple thing. You call ADP. We have a rep. And like, this is the process.

Allison Williams: [00:24:01] But, you know, after you get out of that startup phase, you have to go back to not just the memory of your startup phase in a different business, but they’re very different. Right. So all of the weaknesses, all of the trigger points, all the places where I was not strong before, I didn’t magically fix them through the process of coaching, even though I’ve worked with coaches and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on coaching because I fundamentally believe and it’s a fact that it’s power to evolve my life. I didn’t like poof, become a new person. I became a person with skills and strategies available to me so that when I encounter myself, I can immediately redirect my thoughts, change my actions and start to make progress a lot faster.

Allison Williams: [00:24:45] So it’s it’s not like, it’s not like you, like you figure it out. Like, I will tell you, there are definitely times where things are not smooth, like the fact that my wonderful new team member, Jason, who is a part of our sales and marketing team, he sent me an email in the middle of the day on Monday. And I was like, What are you doing here? And he was like, what do you mean? I was like, it’s Martin Luther King Day. He was like. And, I said, Did you just opt not to take the holiday? He was like, I didn’t know this was a holiday. I was like, oh, crap. I have a whole roster of holidays for the law firm, that also apply to the coaching business. And I forgot to send it out because someone else does that for me because I don’t not work on holidays, because I love to work. So we all have to think about who we are and draw upon the different skills that we’ve had. But like, you know, we’re all on this journey of life and living our best life in whatever way it finds ourselves. And that goes to your point about being the messy you, and accepting that as you are working to improve.

Elise Buie: [00:25:41] I think it’s just been critical for me to embrace my messy self, but realize, and I think your point is so well taken about hiring around what your weakness might be or maybe an area that you’re just not, you know, you’re just not at your best. And that has been a life changer for me, is learning to hire around myself and really be honest with myself about where am I in my my what I call my zone of genius. You know, what do I love to do? What comes naturally, what’s easy for me? And I mean, it’s all those touchy feely. I love talking to people. I love helping people solve complex problems.

Elise Buie: [00:26:26] You know, all that just down and dirty getting in like high conflict situations. I love all that, but I’m no good at, like, setting up technological efficiencies. You know, how do we build out this thing to make sure we’re tracking this metric? And is the Zapier working? I mean, I even went to the Zapathon. I mean, that is how committed I am to Maximum Lawyer. I went to the Zapathon with Jim and Tyson and I learned to make one zap in two days. And it’s simply a Zap that said, here’s your invoice.

Allison Williams: [00:27:03] Well, that is a very important fact, if you’re going to choose any one, choose the one that sides to our economic well-being.

Elise Buie: [00:27:12] That’s what I thought. I was like, we’re just going straight for what matters and we need to get paid. So that is the zap. I mean, and now I have these people on my team and I’m like, well, can we make this talk to this and do this? And they’re like, we got you Elise. And next thing you know, we’ve got all these Zaps happening and, you know, things are just flowing. And I’m like, how did I get that automatically? You know, they’re like that, it’s your Zap. And I’m just like tickled pink. But I don’t I can’t do it. You know.

Allison Williams: [00:27:41] But that’s why you hire people that are in their zone of genius doing the things that you are not necessarily the best at.

Elise Buie: [00:27:47] And it’s been game changing to really I mean, get down and dirty with what I’m not good at and figure that out. And then, I mean, I did a little exercise and figured out like where on the quadrent am I my strongest and where am I not. And all the nots… I don’t do any of those anymore. Zero. And when I find myself like doing something I’m like, whoa, girl, you’re back in your nots lane.

Allison Williams: [00:28:15] I love that. You’re back in your nots. Like that is not where you should be. That is the perfect phrase. And, you know, I think it’s not just the perfect phrase, but I think it’s like the perfect, the perfect motto for life. Right. When are you not.. When are you in your not?

Elise Buie: [00:28:34] Exactly. I mean, you find yourself in your nots. Like I find myself. Yeah.

Allison Williams: [00:28:40] Yeah. But don’t you think, though, that for your audience in particular, the mom, lawyer, entrepreneur, don’t you think that we have been acculturated that we should be living in the nots. I mean, I listen to, and in particular in in the Maximum Lawyer group because I love to see those groups as opposed to groups that are all one gender and just to observe the interaction and the dynamic. And you see that men and women have a lot of the same motivations. We have the same desires for a better life, the same desire for a better business, the same desire to take care of our family and to live our life fully. But there is a lot more guilt that comes with mom than that comes with dad and even dads who in the group will periodically say, look, I, you know, I can’t I can’t do X because I’ve got my kids this weekend or, you know, I can’t do this because, you know, I’ve got to take time off on Wednesday to do such and such with my kids. They just say it. Even if they have an ambitious twinge that may go in a different direction. The choice to be with the children is not a mark against who they are being as a business owner or who they’re being as a lawyer.

Allison Williams: [00:29:47] But you’ve seen so many times when a mom has to say, you know, my child gets off of school at two thirty. I can’t have a hearing until four, period. Or my child needs me to be available first thing in the morning to get logged onto the computer for home schooling. I can’t schedule a hearing at first thing in the morning, and that has to be OK because I am a human being that has something other than this one thing that is your priority for my life. And we can say no to things that are not important to us, but we seem to have like this the blinders come on when we want to say no to things that yes, my client is important. Yes, the court is important. Yes, the the business invoice is important. But my child is important and I shouldn’t have to to choose. I can either be a good mom or a good lawyer or a good business owner. But I can’t be all of those things because of how someone else looks at what those roles mean for my life.

Elise Buie: [00:30:40] Well, and I think really coming to terms with that yourself and truly not looking at what other people, you know, think and I mean you really, and it’s so interesting how much you taught me, but I mean, The Four Agreements, like when I think about understanding what, you know, what’s about me and what is someone else’s stuff and really accepting, you know, the part that’s about me, obviously I need to control that.

Elise Buie: [00:31:09] And maybe I have that mean girl in my head that I need to reframe those thoughts or reframe what’s happening. But you know, really coming into your own and being able to stand in what’s right. I mean, I had a situation the other day. I woke up at the crack of dawn. I had serious work I needed to accomplish. Of course, my recon Marine son in Japan decides to call me at 4:00 in the morning. I haven’t talked to him in a couple of weeks. I’m not going to tell him no, like, you know, so I spent hours talking to my child. I don’t do anything I’m supposed to do. And all kinds of people were waiting on me to accomplish what I was supposed to accomplish. And I just sent out a Slack message like it didn’t happen. You know, I had this time with my child. I took it. And I’m going to come up with a new plan of when I’m going to accomplish this and I’ll get back to you. No doubt some people were disappointed in me because I did drop the ball. I mean, I. I said I would do something. I didn’t do it.

Allison Williams: [00:32:07] But Elise, here’s the thing. Your son is not a baby. And that’s the thing that I love about this, is because you’re teaching people, you’re teaching women, you’re teaching mothers that when you set a priority for your life, you speak to your priorities. Other people don’t determine your priorities. And your priorities don’t matter more because you have a child who’s in diapers versus a child who’s across the country or across the world.

Elise Buie: [00:32:31] Right. Yeah, I mean, to me, that’s one of the joys of this trifecta role is I mean, you know, I’m probably wouldn’t it be great with a boss, you know, having being able to to say, like, I am going to talk to my twenty one year old recon Marine for three hours in the morning when I’m supposed to be doing something else. I mean, that’s important to me. It’s important to me to be available to my family. I mean, my family is really one of my very highest priorities in the world. And so I think being able to actually be true to that for me matters. And so, you know, these other things have allowed me to do what I want to do and be the mom I want to be. And I love creating and figuring out ways to combine them. You know, like one of the things that we did this year, we got an RV for the firm. So like and it was my way of being able to see my children during the pandemic, you know, because of issues around quarantining and flying and all that. And I’ve got a child going off to college. And I was like, how are we going to do that?

Elise Buie: [00:33:38] Well, so that’s been this awesome thing where I’ve been able to combine my needs to go see my own children and have a space for them where they can come quarantine where I am, you know, and if they need 14 days to quarantine, then go stay there and it’s all good, you know, but it it really always thinking of how do I combine my roles. I mean, I think that that’s one of the things, I find it kind of fun. It’s very creative to me to figure out how to combine what I do to make the life I want to lead and but realize that it’s not, there’s not a day that goes by that it looks perfect. I mean, there’s messy, just all kinds of messy things. And kids I mean, I know so many people know that kids don’t, they don’t work on a schedule. I mean, and you can have an especially, I find with teenagers, when a teenager needs you, you pretty much need to be there because those windows are few and far between. And when a teen wants to really sit down and talk to you and, you know, and have that kind of intimate closeness that you have, it’s important to be able to do that, you know, and and that is something that’s very important to me, is to have that flexibility to do that and be available for my children when I can.

Allison Williams: [00:34:58] Yeah. So Elise, I love that you’re talking about the idea of combining because there are so many people that aim for what, the dreaded phrase, I hate to hear it is work life balance. Oh, I think you’re going to have on one side of the see-saw your work and on the other side of the see-saw is your life. And then they’re going to magically land themselves right in the middle. And I think it’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

Elise Buie: [00:35:22] It’s ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I mean, it just doesn’t happen.

Allison Williams: [00:35:28] Exactly. Sometimes you’re going to have a kid on the floor in your office and sometimes you’re going to be at the courthouse responding to a lease negotiation for your business. And sometimes you’re going to be in your business and you’re going to have to pick up the ball where somebody dropped it in Lawyering,. And that is all of the parts of the dimensions, the hats that you’re wearing and the people that choose to wear all those hats can put it together in whatever way that makes sense for them.

Elise Buie: [00:35:55] Absolutely. And I think I mean, I feel like one of my superpowers is being nimble and literally being able to just juggle and be nuanced. And I mean, I can be at the hospital with a child having knee surgery on a Zoom, doing a court hearing from a hospital room. That all works. And I’m there with my child. I’m representing a client. I mean, there’s things that just happen. I mean, that you need to put together. And I find and this is where I think, me being comfortable, I mean, I sometimes joke, you knw, that I’m a hot mess. But it’s true. But I also joke that, you know, I’m so comfortable just being my blond self and I mean that in a very loving blond way, like, I can so easily just pick up the phone and call a court and be like, you know, my ex-husband just had a heart attack, like I need to bring my child to the hospital. I know we have a hearing. I’m perfectly willing to do it from the hospital waiting room. But I need to do this. And I’ve never had a court just be like, no Elise, like, you know.

Allison Williams: [00:37:03] OK, so let’s let’s pause break there, because I definitely, I definitely have been the lawyer and have known the lawyers that will have a court say no. And, you know, and so that’s the other part of this that I think is so important, which is that you set your boundaries, but the fact that you set a boundary doesn’t mean that everybody is going to instantaneously get on your program and accept your boundaries. Right. Right.

Elise Buie: [00:37:28] Gosh, would that be nice?

Allison Williams: [00:37:30] It would be. It would be so nice. But but, you know, it doesn’t happen. And I think that, I think that we’re a lot of times, we miss the mark and I say we. I’m really talking about anyone that is in the space of advising people about how to create the life that they desire. Is the idea that as soon as you master yourself, poof, the world lines up and is you know, on your oyster and it doesn’t happen that way. And so part of the reason why I think it matters so much to work on pleasing yourself, to work on eradicating all the emotional triggers that have you excessively please other people, that have you spend money in a way that prioritizes other people, that have you create systems and structures that satisfy other people and not you, is the fact that people are not going to be happy no matter what the F you do. So you might as well do what pleases you.

Elise Buie: [00:38:22] Exactly. Exactly. And oh, it’s so true. I actually find the opposite of once you kind of start working on yourself and get your better boundaries, actually people will start throwing more crap at you. Do you feel like they…

Allison Williams: [00:38:40] Yes, because they’re used to the old you.

Elise Buie: [00:38:43] And they’re pushing. And I mean, I think of them like teenagers, I have to say, but they’re always trying to find the holes in your fence and, you know, and they look and they push and they get mad because they’re like, you know, what happened to you? Why are you doing this? Or, you know, and I have found that it’s been I mean, and even with the court, you know, being able to to say, sorry, not can’t do it. I mean, you know, and I’m like, OK, what are you going to do? I mean, are you going to throw me in jail? I’m standing in my ex-husband’s hospital room to bring my 16 year old to see his dad when he had a heart attack? In my mind, go for that. What a great marketing that would be for my firm as I get thrown into jail, being a decent co-parent. I’m like, go for it. Right?

Allison Williams: [00:39:34] Right. And you see the positive side of it, you know? But even also they have it is is that, you know, of course, with courts and adversaries and clients, it’s a little bit different. But, you know, the principle really remains the same that lawyers don’t want to see, which is when you step into being a better version of yourself, there will be people that protest. But if you stay that person, they will either get in line with your program or they will fall away. Yeah, and the beautiful thing of it is then you start to attract more of the people that are aligned with you, which means more of who you are. Right. So when I become a better person, I attract better people. And I become, when I become a nicer person, I attract nicer people. When I become a more emotionally well-rounded person who’s not engaged with people out of state of manipulation. Those are the people that I attract. And so I have less of that resistance and less of that in internal flight and fury that goes on when I’m feeling like I’m constantly pushed and pulled by people who don’t respect my boundaries.

Elise Buie: [00:40:34] Right. I mean, boundaries are just so critical. And talk about in all these roles, I mean, how important boundaries are as a mom, as a lawyer and as an entrepreneur. And I mean, getting people comfortable and strong in those boundaries. I mean, we could talk for days about parenting boundaries. I mean, you know, I talk with so many people and the things that people are dealing with about, you know, they’re like, well, my child makes me cook, you know, these three meals a night. And I’m like, no, they don’t. I’m like, you know, there’s a one meal. I mean, I’m definitely a one meal cook kind of girl. I don’t cook at all now. But when I did cook, I was a one meal girl.

Allison Williams: [00:41:18] You eat what’s in the kitchen or you don’t eat.

Elise Buie: [00:41:21] I mean, you eat what I cook or you figure it out, you clean it yourself, you cook, whatever. I mean, I’m not going to say you can’t go make yourself a sandwich. I mean, if what I cook was shitty, all right, what I cook was shitty. Like I never said I was a gourmet cook and, you know, and feel free to go fix yourself something, but I don’t want to hear any attitude about it. I mean, because in my mind, I did a really nice thing to step away from whatever I’m doing, to go into the kitchen and cook a meal for the family. And if you ask me, that deserves a thanks, mom.

Allison Williams: [00:41:52] Yeah. You know, so Elise, you and I, of course, could be here forever because I adore you so. And you always have, like, such a a colorful but lighthearted spin on, what are very weighty topics for a lot of people. So I want to ask you, what is the one episode that you must have your ears upon, your thoughts upon and your heart upon if you are listening to the Mom, you know, the Maximum Mom podcast. What is the one?

Elise Buie: [00:42:20] Well, I would say it was about the mean girl in your head. I mean, I think that really us eradicating that mean girl in our head is I mean, I think it can revolutionize our lives if we are able to eavesdrop enough on that mean girl and, and test her. And, you know, because I think so much of us, we think it’s true. We hear this mean voice in our head and we kind of subconsciously think whatever is being said in our head is true, and I mean, I’ve really learned to eavesdrop on my thoughts and really ask myself, is that actually true? You know, and then, I mean, in most of the time it’s not. And so learning to, you know, I think challenge yourself and really understand what damage we do to ourselves inside our own heads.

Allison Williams: [00:43:14] Yeah, that’s self-abuse that a lot of us have to break the habit of. And since you talked about The Four Agreements, I just want to let everybody know. For those of you that are not familiar with that book, it is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz. And continuing in that same line of thought there, he also has a book, The Voice of Knowledge, which is about the separation of the spirit self, i.e., who I am versus the mean girl, that voice that I learned from all the detractors of the world that will be telling me, no, you can’t. You’re not good enough. All of that. Those are not the same voice in your head. And knowing the voice of knowledge, which is the voice of truth inside yourself, is one of the ways to set yourself free. So.

Elise Buie: [00:43:55] It truly is.

Allison Williams: [00:43:56] So as we dial this down Elise, I definitely want people to listen to the Maximum Mom podcast. So you’ve got to let us know where they can find the podcast. And if they want to connect with you, where can they find you so they can get more of this wonderful advice and guidance that you’re offering?

Elise Buie: [00:44:13] Well, the Maximum Mom podcast, they can watch it live. We do a live one. It’d be nice if I knew what it was. I think it’s every Monday at 10:00 o’clock Pacific time. So that’s noon Central Time and 1:00 o’clock Eastern Time. And that’s in the Maximum Lawyer Facebook group. And then, you know, it’s on all the podcast play like Apple podcast or iTunes or Spotify. I mean, one of my son’s friends texted me to say, you listen to it on Spotify and he is like, you’re kind of rad Ms. Buie. It’s like, that’s pretty funny, but…

Allison Williams: [00:44:50] You are beyond rad. You’re the raddiest!

Elise Buie: [00:44:56] The hot mess rad one.

Elise Buie: [00:45:00] And then, I mean, people can find me. You know, I have a website. We have a law firm in Seattle, a family law firm, Elise Buie, Family Law. And so you can find me there and you know, and people can reach out if they want to email me. But I mean, I would say one of the things people when they’re thinking about all these things, I mean, I think like we talked about, coaching is such an important thing. And so I encourage people to reach back out to you because, I mean, what we can do to help so many people in this trifecta of roles, so much of it is the mind set work and the, crushing the chaos. Learning how to combine those two things really allows you to live the life that I mean, so many people only dream of. And I mean and it’s really possible.

Allison Williams: [00:45:50] It’s not just possible. It’s probable if it’s something that you set your intentions on. So I want to thank our special guest, Elise Buie. Elise, it has been such a pleasure as always. Every time we get together, I feel like there’s just like a part of my heart that, like, opens up because you’re always such a warm presence and always such a brilliant mind and you share such great insights with people. So I know that everyone that listens to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast is also going to check out the Maximum Mom podcast. And Elise showed you and told you rather how to get a hold of her. We are going to make sure that that information is in the show notes. I am Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Everyone have a great afternoon.

Elise Buie: [00:46:29] Thank you.

Allison Williams: [00:46:48] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guest and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement free Facebook group. There you can access our free trainings on improving collections in law firms, meeting billable hours, enjoying the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firms and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day!Thank you for tuning in to the crushing chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources midship, check out our show notes. And if you own it solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement Free Facebook group Fair. You can access our free trainings on improving collections at law firms, meeting billable hours, enjoying the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.

Guest Bio: 

Elise Buie, Esq. is a passionate, creative, problem-solving family law attorney who creates solutions, not obstacles. After evacuating her hometown of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and surviving a divorce, Elise landed in Seattle and founded her law firm. Elise’s practice involves all aspects of family law, guided by a collaborative philosophy and her deep understanding of complex parenting issues. Elise opened her firm during a period of personal adversity. Now in a period of global adversity, Elise’s firm has experienced its most significant growth yet, which she attributes primarily to her driving force and mantra: “I can do it.”


Maximum Mom Podcast: 







Allison Bio:


Allison C. Williams, Esq., is Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law. 


Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.  In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.


In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers.  She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.  Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms. 


Contact Info:


Contact Law Firm Mentor:




00:06:56 Elise Buie

You know, I sometimes think social media can make it look all unicorns and rainbows. And I mean, I’m here to tell you, the unicorns poo on the carpet and the rainbows get blurry.


00:07:05 Allison Williams

So Elise, I love that you’re saying this. And so, first of all, as somebody who knows you. I think you are far less of a mess than you like to characterize yourself to be. But when we talk about someone being quote a mess, I think it really is that disconnect that you just described between this is what social media says I am. My hair’s always done. My nails are always done. I have on the right outfit.


00: 7:30 Allison Williams

It doesn’t show the kid threw up on my outfit five minutes before I had to leave. It doesn’t show that I had to be late for court because my kid was sick and my husband left for work already. It doesn’t show all of the parts of our humanity that we are supposed to suspend when we’re lawyering, let alone when we’re both lawyering, and being the owner of a business. And so the fact that you’re being authentic about that, I think really does fit a need. And I want you to talk just a little bit about your authenticity and the fact that you are willing to kind of put that messiness out there in a way that does disconnect from the public image that I’m sure we all would like to have of ourselves, of having it all dialed in.