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  • Jennifer F. Novak

Our Second Anniversary

Updated: Mar 22, 2019

Rolling Hills Estates, California

Many lawyers talk about opening their own firm but, most often, they forego the risk and uncertainty in favor of comfort and safety. Working for the California Department of Justice, I could have counted on continued professional challenges, good friends, and a steady job for years to come. But I was ready for new challenges as well. Two years ago, I took a chance and, as they say, "hung out my shingle." It's not something I ever thought I'd do. Building any business from scratch is scary and hard and I am grateful to have this first year behind me. I'm encouraged that we are building momentum, reaching new people, and I'm learning to be a business owner in addition to being a lawyer.


No business exists or persists without determination and effort. I am grateful to those who have supported me in this endeavor, whether by referring work, offering advice, or sending good vibrations my way. I love how having this firm has brought new friends and business acquaintances into my life.


To celebrate our success, and to entice the business gods into continuing to look upon me favorably, I've decided to mark each anniversary with a donation to a worthy cause. This year, I've made a donation to the California YMCA Youth & Government program.


Y&G has been a presence in my life and my family's life since 1986. The program, more than 65 years' strong, focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year, more than 3,300 high school students statewide participate in hands-on programs emphasizing leadership and civic involvement. Among the traits Y&G promotes are leadership, public speaking, research and writing, values, critical thinking, and a greater understanding and appreciation of state and national issues. Better still, it's a place for high school students to challenge themselves, discover new talents, and grow into adults. Over the years, I've participated as a high school student delegate, a volunteer advisor to students, a volunteer teaching students about the California appellate courts (and helping them to analyze fact patterns, incorporate case and statutory law, and write and make oral arguments), and fundraiser.


There was a time in my life when I was afraid to speak up. Through the Youth & Government program, I learned that the main thing separating leaders from followers is not that they are necessarily talented or special; it's that they are willing to speak up and be heard. To draw a parallel to my life now, the primary difference between talking about having your own law firm and actually having your own law firm is to stop being afraid, and to be willing to take that leap. Just as I discovered a love for public speaking as a high school student, I'm discovering a love for business with this law firm.


To learn more about the Youth & Government program, or to make a donation, go to https://calymca.org.


Thank you for the past two years; I thank everyone who has been part of this journey so far.


- Jennifer

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The Law Office of Jennifer F. Novak is certified as a small business enterprise and as a woman-owned, minority-owned, business.