“It’s like any other profession with lots of highs and lots of lows,” Howland says of practicing law.
Many of those highs came from 16 years of practicing employment law with Boise’s Holland and Hart. The Gonzaga University law school grad found support and close professional ties at Holland and Hart while she kicked her legal work into high gear.
She earned numerous awards and accolades during her Holland and Hart tenure including three Super Lawyer awards and an Idaho Business Review Accomplished Under 40 honor. Those Holland and Hart highs also included winning two state court multi-million-dollar jury verdicts, and work as part of a trial team that successfully litigated a complex tort case in federal court that won a multi-million-dollar verdict.
Then, as Howland reached her mid-career point, she knew she needed something different. She wasn’t the same 30-year-old lawyer that got hired on in 2001 shortly after clerking for the Idaho Supreme Court.
“What worked for me at 30 wasn’t quite the right fit for me at 45,” the mother of two says. “I wanted some flexibility.”
So the Super Lawyer and Concordia University law professor dove head first into opening her own law practice, Idaho Employment Lawyers PLLC in February of this year.
“You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into one place with one career,” she says. “I looked at (the job change) as if I had little to lose and if it didn’t work out, I was supposed to go down another path.”
Howland added a family to her life during those 16 years at Holland and Hart, and with the new additions came new responsibilities and passions. She’s now a tireless advocate for juvenile diabetes research and awareness – a commitment that stems from her 11 year-old’s battle with the disease. (For this profile, the Idaho Business Review barely had time to catch up with Howland between running her newly launched private practice and participating in a fundraising run for juvenile diabetes in Death Valley.)
Howland’s life has her running in several directions and she’s found the path doesn’t always take her to high places. She wears many hats in her own practice and she’s still getting the feel for some of them. And, she’s still trying on the IT hat and looking for ways to make it a good fit.
“I’ve learned there’s lots of resources out there. IT wasn’t my strong point but I’ve found a firm that specializes in IT for law firms,” she says.
Her approach to the IT end of running a practice sums up her approach to life: Dive in, take a risk and if you find yourself faltering, get creative.
“The more you open yourself up to opportunity, the more opportunities you find,” she says.
To view photos from the 2016 Leaders in Law networking reception and awards event Nov. 17, 2016, visit //www.idahobusinessreview.smugmug.com/.