Written by Amanda Crowell
Once upon a time in the last year of the last century, there were two moms of two little girls, both of whom
were two years old. Both moms were fairly new lawyers who had ended up in Wilson County after marrying Wilson County boys whom they met while attending school in their own hometowns.
The moms first met at their local Bar Association luncheon in Lebanon. After a brief conversation, they learned that they were both practicing law with part-time schedules, and their little girls were attending the same daycare on the same three days each week. It didn’t take long to discover that Angel was the mom
of little Madison that my Maggie was always talking about –our little girls were best friends!
Top photo: Amanda’s daughter, Maggie (left) and Angel’s daughter, Madison at their kindergarten graduation in 2003.
Bottom photo: Maggie and Madison shortly after Madison’s high school graduation in 2015.
Fast forward twenty plus years, and Angel and I are engaged in something we never dreamed of that day when we first met. After more children and many years of practice, three years ago we joined forces to create our own law firm, Kane & Crowell Family Law Center.
Housed in a historic Victorian building built in the late 1800’s, the office has been transformed over the last century from a family home to a doctor’s office, to a dress shop, to a church building and finally into our law office. Today each room is filled with the everyday hubbub of lawyers, paralegals and law clerks taking care of clients and running to the courthouse, conveniently located right across the street.
Back when we first started practicing law, like many women we were determined to have it all. Raising children, working in a demanding field and trying to find a balance between the two. We laugh now because back then, we were known as the “part-time” lawyers because we often worked around our children’s school schedules. It sure didn’t feel like part-time when we were sitting at our dining room tables preparing for
court after putting the kids to bed! But at the time, very few others were doing it our way so it was nice to have someone as a sounding board who was facing similar struggles.
As the years passed, we went from part-time lawyers to each managing our own large, family law practices. And as Madison and Maggie graduated from high-school and our other children seemed to need us less, the decision was made to come together and build a different type of law firm.
The office of Kane & Crowell is family oriented, both in our areas of practice as well as how we choose to
manage our team. A team that now consists of another attorney with three children of her own, three paralegals, a law clerk, receptionist, and bookkeeper.
And plans are in the works for more growth. We practice what we preach in that family comes first. We chose to distinguish our practice as a family law center because family law is what we know and
what we do best. Every family is likely to find itself in need of legal services in the area of family law at some point.
Our practice encompasses beginning of life issues such as parentage and adoption actions to mid-life issues such as divorce, custody, and child support, to end of life issues such as probate and elder law. Along the way, everyone needs a good Last Will and Testament and the appropriate powers of attorney. We take care of these family needs on a daily basis.
People often ask if we represent more men or women, and it is impossible to say. We represent our clients,
whoever they may be, and we strive to represent them with excellence. We have a wonderful, experienced staff who are crucial to the success of our business. The staff can empathize with our clients in that they or their children have often been in the same need of legal services as our clients find themselves.
We are a small office – predominantly of women–and we strive to maintain a family atmosphere. Angel and I know the importance of balancing work and family, and we try to accommodate the family needs of our employees just as our prior employers did for us. Many of our staff members leave early to pick up kids or attend school events and every Friday one team member takes a half-day. Practicing law can be demanding
and we are mindful of that so we strive to ensure our team likes coming to work– spa days, office lunches and holiday parties to enjoy a good laugh are a must!
A business partnership is a lot like a marriage—you need to share the same values and goals, but it is best if
you bring different strengths to bear in the operating of the business. Angel and I took a series of personality tests when we first joined forces to work on this new business model and found that
although we had thought we were a lot alike, our strengths were actually different from each other and were complementary to each other. Being aware of this and understanding our different personality types helps us work better together. I could paint a rosy picture of two friends going into business together
and living happily ever after, but truth be told, business relationships require lots of communication and compromise.
At the end of the day, friendship and shared goals can be the glue that holds it all together. The practice of law is stressful. Family law is especially stressful for all involved. Having a business partner who is equally experienced and who walks the same legal paths as I do allows us to bounce ideas off of each other and
commiserate when things get difficult. Two heads are definitely better than one.
In a couple more decades, I hope that we can look back and say that we accomplished something good together and that families in Middle Tennessee were better for our having put our heads together to build a family law practice. For these two moms, there have been many blessings along the way.
Our little girls are now in their third year of college and becoming strong young women in their own right. And yes, they are still close friends despite having gone to different schools since first grade.
Last year, Madison visited Maggie on campus for a weekend despite the seven-hour drive. Our husbands are also good friends. The Kane and Crowell bonds of friendship, whether formed in daycare or over a professional luncheon, are sure to endure.