A Modern Approach to the Law with Heather Trick-Ep 73


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Lawyer Heather Trick is our last guest of the year and decade! Heather is the coowner of Jordan Law with her husband, Jordan Ostroff, Jordan law specializes in criminal defense, student conduct hearings, personal injury, and business litigation and licensing. They also like to approach how to run a law firm differently than is traditional for the industry. Plus they have one of the best Facebook pages around with tons of Florida Man memes.

As part owner of this more modern approach to the law business, Heather has been there from the beginning. In this episode, we discuss how they grew their business, Heather’s business philosophy and approach, and how she gives to the community.

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A passion to help people drew Heather to Criminal Law

Heather became a lawyer because she always dreamed of working for the federal government and making the world a better place. After law school, she started her career as a criminal defense lawyer where she worked for four years.

Criminal defense is a good fit for Heather because she feels like she is able to protect the rights of so many people who need it during very vulnerable times. “It’s really enjoyable to me when I can help a client, not just resolve their case, but why they got arrested in the first place,” she said.

Usually, there are other underlying issues that paint a larger picture of the defendant’s situation and life that lead to the arrest. Issues like mental health, drug problems, domestic relations can lead to dire consequences for her clients. Heather approaches her clients holistically, sees them as people and not the crime they are charged for in order to really help. “If I can solve that, it also makes me feel good and that I have helped my community in more than one way.”

For example, one of the highest number of criminal cases Jordan Law deals with are cases related to drivers licenses. “If you don’t have a car, and you don’t have a license, it makes it very very difficult to attend work, or doctors’ appointments, school, or whatever,” Heather said.

Losing a license can really compound problems. Especially in Central Florida where public transportation options are few and far between. A car is essential to their well-being and Heather understands how important that is for her clients.

Heather owns Jordan Law in conjunction with her husband Jordan Ostroff

“If you ever think you should start a business with your significant other you have to think very very hard about it. There was no tougher time in my marriage than when we were starting the firm together,” Heather joked with me.

Luckily, Heather and Jordan have figured out how to make it work for them and the effort has been worth it.

Before they started Jordan Law, her husband worked as a prosecutor while Heather worked as a criminal defender. Tired with the government paychecks, Jordan proposed they start their own firm.

For the first few years, Jordan worked full-time at the firm while Heather taught civics to at-risk youth. At night she would do firm work herself. Eventually, they reached a point where she could also work in the business full time.

From the beginning, “one of our biggest priorities has always been to model our career after the life that we wanted,” Heather told me.

For Heather and Jordan, that meant the flexibility to have free time to do what they love. Now they have a child and have created a schedule where they are able to spend more time with him. This means they work fewer hours but they both really enjoy their life and work.

Heather isn’t alone, many new lawyers are looking for the same thing. The Law market is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago anyway. Many young lawyers are looking for the same thing that Heather and Jordan created. They no longer want to work 70-80 hours a week billing clients.

In order to keep overhead low, so their firm can compete, Jordan Law thinks creatively how to optimize work. Jordan made it a point to automate as much as they can within their business, for example. This helps them do more work with fewer people.

Building trust with clients is imperative to Heather’s work

A criminal defense attorney is someone that nobody thinks they will need. However, when people come to Heather at Jordan Law, they are usually in some of the most vulnerable positions of their lives. Heather understands how much is on the line for her clients.

That’s why she says that when you choose a lawyer, it’s a little like dating. It’s important to trust the attorney you will ultimately hire.

“You are trusting me with the most important things in your life: your freedom. If we have completely different personality styles, that isn’t going to change,” Heather says.

Heather advises that you talk to a few different attornies and choose someone who meshes best with you. Different attornies will approach cases in different ways so you need to be comfortable with how they will represent you.

“If you don’t connect, you will never feel comfortable with the advice I will be giving,” Heather explains.

Another way to suss out if an attorney is right for you is to ask them to walk you through the case they’ll represent you in. This can let you know if the attorney has experiences with cases similar to yours.

Heather helps Students navigate difficult situations

Another aspect of Heather’s work has expanded into student disciplinary hearings at both public schools and colleges. “I really enjoy getting into the education system and making sure people’s rights are protected,” Heather said.

She explained that in criminal court, the defendant is surrounded by a lot of people who know the law. However, that isn’t true in a school system. This means they aren’t always aware or concerned about making sure due process happens for the students. Especially in extreme measures like suspensions and expulsions.

Heather’s job is to make sure that all parties are following the law. She pushes for a trial or hearing where she argues for lesser penalties for the students she represents. Also, Heather wants to make sure important information is on the record from the very beginning.

Common types of cases they see are academic dishonesty, sexual assault violations, and other violations of Florida Statute.

On being a lady lawyer in a male-dominated field, Heather is optimistic about the progress being made.

“A lot of women have put a lot of work into trying to make the court system and legal field more women-friendly,” she said.

In a lot of ways, this has helped the court become more family-friendly for both men and women attornies. Recently, there has been a big push for lactation stations in court. Heather noted that both she and Jordan regularly bring their son to court usually with little problem from officers of the court.

“The legal system is moving to be more accommodating to family needs.”

However, there is still a lot of gender bias when it comes to being a lawyer who happens to be a woman. Heather still gets mistaken for a court reporter on a daily basis. Underestimating Heather like that doesn’t bother her though. She knows how to use that to her advantage for her clients.

Heather also mentors newer attornies, especially young women. The biggest advice she gives to them is about how to choose a career that supports your lifestyle. “You have to make decisions about your career based on the life you want. Because if you let your career control your lifestyle, it will always control your lifestyle,” she says.

She encourages women to ask questions to potential employers about that work-life balance. Work is more than just the amount of money you take home. Make sure to know what you are in for in exchange for the compensation because it really might not be worth it to you.

About Heather Trick:

Heather Trick started her career in the law as a Public Defender in Orlando. While there she assisted hundreds of clients in their criminal matters. In 2015 she and her husband started firm Jordan Law, P.A. where she continues to work helping clients in criminal, academic, and business legal matters.
As an alumna of the University of Florida, Heather Trick is familiar with the state university system and their policies regarding code of conduct violations. Ms. Trick has advised and assisted clients facing code of conduct violations at the University of Central Florida as well as at local public schools.
Ms. Trick provides this help at all phases of the academic hearing process. It starts by meeting with the student, from there she uses the knowledge she’s gained from building a defense on thousands of criminal cases to train you on your case.

Links from the show:

Visit Jordan Law’s Website

Listen to the Jordan Law Podcast: Let’s Get Up to Business

Like Jordan Law on Facebook

Follow Jordan Law on Facebook

Connect with Jordan Law on LinkedIn

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