By Kathy Rumleski, AdvocateDaily.com Contributor
Seven months after Fredericton family lawyer and mediator Jennifer Donovan opened her boutique family law firm, she says there’s much to celebrate, so she’s planning an official opening.
“We’ve been doing extremely well, and now we’re gearing up for a grand opening party,” Donovan, owner of J. Donovan Law Group, tells AdvocateDaily.com.
That celebration is set for Thursday, July 18.
“What has been outstanding for us as a new team is the number of new clients and the hiring of more staff,” says Donovan.
“I have been practising law for 14 years, so when I left my partnership in December, I maintained those clients, and we’ve added 65 new clients in that time,” she says. “We also started with two staff members, and now we have seven.”
Donovan says she’s ready to gather with clients, family, friends and community members to enjoy that growth and introduce her firm to a wider market.
“It’s not going to be your typical grand opening,” she promises.
For starters, the event will be broadcast live on the radio, Donovan says.
The radio station will be on site for four hours promoting the firm and giving shout-outs to companies that have supported her, she says.
One lucky attendee will win a trip for two to a North American destination of their choice, and the winner will be announced on air, says Donovan.
“There will be a DJ, beverages and delicious food by local caterer Leanne Wiens. She is so busy but because of our relationship she is able to make it work,” Donovan says.
The celebration gets underway about 4 p.m. with no set end time, she adds.
“I want everyone to party and have a good time and not have to worry about watching the clock,” Donovan says. “We want people from the community to come and bring a guest. We are able to accommodate a large number of people.”
The law firm property sits on an acre of land that includes a large back yard, and Donovan says she’ll have a huge white tent set up for the party-goers that will include chandeliers, as well as sit-down and stand-up cocktail tables.
“It’s going to be so done up. We’re here for the firm, but it’s the relationships we’re celebrating — past, present and future,” Donovan says.
Getting the firm off the ground has required intense commitment, and the dedication she offers to clients and the community will continue as the practice keeps growing, she says.
Donovan says she has recently added family law mediation services for her clientele.
She spent a week in Toronto in January training in family law mediation and says she has already completed her first mediation, with more to come.
“My vision is really to branch out into alternative dispute resolution to help those people who don’t want to go to court or cannot afford to go to court,” she says. “Any future hires must be interested in training in mediation services as well.”
In May Donovan hired associate lawyer Spencer MacInnis, “who is leading the criminal law practice at the firm while helping provide exceptional services to the firm’s family law clients.” She is now searching for a bilingual lawyer who can work with the Francophone community in Fredericton.
“I take a great deal of pride in offering high-quality legal services, and I want to do so in both official languages,” she says.
Donovan says adding staff has allowed her to offer different hourly rates, but the quality of the service does not get sacrificed at all.
“Clients who work with other staff should know I oversee every file. We want to work with anyone who is interested in hiring us,” she says. “We’re providing access to excellent legal services for people every day.”