The rewards of starting a law firm: Sunshine

For Toronto health lawyer Elyse Sunshine, leaving a large, successful firm in order to build her own has paid off enormously, giving her a thriving career and the flexibility to spend quality time with her family.

In a recent interview with Schmooz, she spoke about how she made the decision to start her own firm, Rosen Sunshine LLP, and how it has all worked out for her.

“After law school, I articled for a small boutique-style law firm that specialized in health law,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed working in a small firm that specialized in one kind of law. When they merged with a bigger firm, I realized I started to miss the smaller firm feeling.”

At the time, Sunshine and colleague Lonny Rosen contemplated the possibility of opening their own boutique-style law firm specializing in health law. In 2011, they took the plunge and started Rosen Sunshine.

“One thing that made it easier was that I knew my colleague well — he is not only a good friend, but we work well together,” she tells the publication.

“We had the same vision for a boutique-style health law firm and the same approach to work and life. Having our own firm was a great way to bring some flexibility into our lives too. At the time, my kids were also getting bigger and more independent, so I knew I would be able to devote the time to growing the firm.”

Sunshine says achieving balance in work and life takes lots of organization.

“Quantity is not always in my control, but maximizing the quality of the time spent with my family definitely is,” she says.

Sunshine is also a devoted volunteer.

She currently sits on the board of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, a charity that she became involved with after losing a close family member to melanoma.

“I am also a devoted dog lover and recently became a volunteer for Just Paws, an organization that rescues dogs and makes every effort to find them foster families,” she says. “They are then hopefully adopted into loving homes. I started out by fostering a dog, Dodger, and ended up adopting him. Fortunately, our other dog, Crosby (we have some hockey fans in the house) was OK with this.”

Sunshine says that while there are many secrets to success, it's always important to be honest with oneself and to recognize personal priorities.

"It is also much easier once you know what is important and what you want to spend your time on," she says.

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