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Passion, Practice, and Parenthood in Family Law With Natalie Gregg

June 5, 2024   |   Written by Gladiator Law Marketing
Natalie Gregg

Natalie Gregg

Natalie Gregg is the Owner of The Law Office of Natalie Gregg in north Texas. She is an attorney and certified mediator specializing exclusively in family law. Having started her firm during the economic recession of 2008, Natalie transformed her passion and advocacy for family law into a successful and supportive environment for clients and employees alike. Despite initially swearing off the practice of family and criminal law, Natalie’s personal journey, including her own experience with divorce, has fueled her empathetic approach to complex emotional and financial family law issues. Through ongoing community involvement and a commitment to family flexibility, she has honed a practice that empowers families during times of transition.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [1:33] Natalie Gregg talks about how The Law Office of Natalie Gregg began amidst economic and personal trials
  • [6:27] Ways that startup law firms can acquire new clients 
  • [8:26] How a law firm can blend high achievement with a family-friendly environment
  • [11:44] What types of family law cases does Natalie’s firm handle?
  • [19:17] The intake process and case resolution time frame at The Law Office of Natalie Gregg
  • [23:49] Natalie’s advice to aspiring and upcoming lawyers

In this episode…

Are you curious about what it takes to build a successful family law practice while balancing personal and professional demands? How does one manage complex litigation cases while maintaining a family-friendly work environment?

According to Natalie Gregg, a seasoned attorney and certified mediator, achieving this balance requires flexibility, dedication, and a deep understanding of one’s goals. She highlights that creating a supportive work environment where family needs are respected not only enhances job satisfaction but also improves professional performance. By approaching complex family law cases with a combination of litigation skills and collaborative methods, she ensures her clients receive the best possible outcomes while maintaining a fulfilling personal life.

In this episode of 15 Minutes, host Bela Musits sits down with Natalie Gregg, Owner of The Law Office of Natalie Gregg, to discuss her journey in family law. They explore how Natalie built her practice during the recession, the strategies she uses to manage high-stakes cases, and her advice for young lawyers entering the field. Tune in to learn about the challenges and rewards of balancing passion, practice, and parenthood in family law.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mentions:

Quotable Moments:

  • “I wanted to do something that’s a business model I thought would be more flexible to a family.”
  • “When you have two kids or one child, one on the way, the salary that I was making was more of a donation than a salary.”
  • “Figure out what it is that fits with you and your personality and then also your life goals long-term.”
  • “You have a constitutional right to a jury. This is usually very surprising to clients.”
  • “I would love to help people who have specific questions, who are passionate about law or just are in a bind, and they feel like they can’t find answers.”

Action Steps:

  1. Write hours of online content to exhibit expertise and create a web presence: Consistent content generation increases visibility and demonstrates knowledge in your field.
  2. Leverage your personal network: It lessens the challenge of building a clientele by utilizing existing relationships and community connections for referrals and support. 
  3. Embed flexibility and family values into your practice model: This approach encourages a healthier work-life balance and can increase workplace satisfaction and longevity.
  4. Seek out diverse experiences within your field: Exploring different roles and aspects of your profession can help you discover your passion and the niche that suits you best. 
  5. Adapt and apply personal experiences to your work: Integrating personal insight improves empathy and effectiveness when guiding clients through similar scenarios.

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. 

To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition. 

To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com or schedule a free marketing consultation. You can also send an email to adam@gladiatorlawmarketing.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01 

You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know, but likely don’t.

Bela Musits  0:12

Hi, listeners, I’m Bela Musits host for this episode of the 15 Minutes Share Your Voice podcast, where we talk with top notch law firms and attorneys about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, they deliver tailor made services to help your law firm accomplish its objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign, and to make sure you’re getting the best return on investment, your firm needs to have a better website and better content management. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Today’s guest on the podcast is attorney and certified mediator, Natalie Gregg. The Law Office of Natalie Gregg is exclusively focused on the practice of family law. Their mission is to provide North Texas families with the support, guidance and advocacy that they need to overcome the complex emotional and financial issues associated with family law. Welcome to the podcast, Natalie.

Natalie Gregg  1:30

Hello, and thank you for having me.

Bela Musits  1:33  

Sure. So tell us a little bit more about your law office.

Natalie Gregg  1:40

Wow, the genesis of it started the firm in the middle of the last recession. So 2008, not not predicting that we’re having another one or anything. And I just had a baby had my second child. And I wanted to do something that’s a business model that I thought would be more flexible to a family which ironically, in law school, I said that the two kinds of like I do not ever want to do are criminal and family. And guess what I’m doing now?

Bela Musits  2:14

Yeah. Now, did you? Did you work at an other law firm before you started your own?

Natalie Gregg  2:21

Yes. So right out of the gates, I worked at a medical malpractice defense firm, which sounds as boring as it is. It was incredibly routine. It was also it was the end of tort reform in in Texas. So we were literally receiving about 100 lawsuits a day. Responding to those working crazy hours flying all of her teeny tiny towns in Texas, which love traveling don’t love to be in teeny, tiny towns. So that was my first job. And I in didn’t have kids at the time said some free time. And I wanted to kind of give back. So I worked at the basement of a church, giving out law advice to families in in Spanish, Spanish and English, low income for, you know, family law cases. And I was giving you know what I learned in law school. So very rote, basic advice. I really loved it. I loved how the people had stories, their stories were so personal, and I felt like I could make an impact and help them in such a way that I wasn’t helping these big pharma, big hospitals and doctors who are committing negligence. It didn’t. It fulfilled me in a way that that did not.

Bela Musits  3:42

Yeah, excellent. So what sort of inspired you to say, Okay, I’m gonna hang my own shingle and go out on my own.

Natalie Gregg  3:52

So we’re for four and a half years medical, privately funded, legal clinic that basically did family law. So I went, went to trial almost once a week. Whereas that’s, that’s very uncommon for a young lawyer. So my trial ad skills were becoming very honed, and I really, I loved it. And it was just it was my jam. It was just what I was, I felt like I was meant to do. But guess what, when you have two little kids, or one child, one on the way, the salary that I was making was more of a donation and a salary. No, I said, Why? Why not try something on my own? And I kind of dared myself. I said, If I don’t make a certain threshold, then I’ll go work for one of the bigger family law firms in a more traditional sense.

Bela Musits  4:44

Yeah. So in that kind of first, you know, week or two that you you’re having your own law practice. I mean, you just show up at the office and then what do you do?

Natalie Gregg  4:56

So what’s crazy is you don’t have an office because offices cost money. And when you my my my only startup costs was a really cheap laptop at Costco. So I literally went bought a laptop because I’m not. I’m a very mobile person. I don’t love to sit at a desk all day. But that was another thing. So I called a bunch of friends in the neighborhood I lived in like East Dallas, Lakewood area. And I said, guys, does anyone have any space where I can meet clients? Because I sure as heck was not gonna meet them at my house. Yeah, so one of my my girlfriend said, Oh, I have a space that’s right above Papa John’s in the village ever by the Lakewood Country Club. And I said sure, how much free Okay, I’ll be there. So I was meeting clients up there. And it was it was set up as a as an actual office that had a desk but it was a bit unconventional. Let’s just say that. You can smell laughs of pizza dough. And that continued for about five months until I had what I felt was enough to go lease a space. And then it grew from leasing one space to five to 10 to the building my own law firm up here in Collin County.

Bela Musits  6:14

So wow, what a great story. What a great, great story. So in the beginning there, I’m always curious about how do you find those, you know, your first 10 clients?

Natalie Gregg  6:27

That’s a great question. So it’s not organic. It’s not especially because this was like prior to really, internet traffic’s like. Where you just call Google and say, here’s the campaign, I need this. And let’s go. So I was just creating tons of content, like I would get up and I would write content for about 10 hours. So when I wasn’t with clients, I was creating content or as with my children, or during both. Yeah, so that was really the and then I had friends and a lot of friends, lots of networking, who worked in the bigger firms. And I went to SMU Law school. So you know, kind of a big, big network of people. And so when someone would say, Hey, what are you doing now? I’d say, Well, I’m on my own. And so it was attractive to them, because their, their retainers were enormous. And I could take smaller ones, because I had no overhead essentially, at the beginning. And so that that’s really how I started with the first 10. But the first, the first trial, I had a friend of a friend. And she was at a county didn’t know the judge, but the case, the facts are pretty egregious. I felt like we could totally win it slam dunk. And I’m, I’m kind of one of those like, Yeah, I’ll prove you. So I in Hunt County, I was there for a week, sending my intern from SMU Law to come and pick up milk to bring to my child. That was that was an interesting trial, we won it, it was great. My client was very happy. And then that kind of just snowballed into kind of what we are today.

Bela Musits  8:12

Yeah, yeah. So you’ve mentioned early on in our discussion here, that when you created your firm, you wanted to make it more family friendly. What does what how does that How has that transpired?

Natalie Gregg  8:26

So I feel like that’s often given lip service. You know, we’re a family friendly law firm or family friendly Corporation. We like kids keep reading, so you have to keep working there. But what my my thought was flexibility. And this is before COVID. So this is when you know, we used to have C checks at 8am. Like, if you’re not you’re in your seat, what’s going on, you’re gonna get written up. In my first job, my male boss called me from the OB gens office and said, You’ve been there for 30 minutes, what’s wrong, you better get back. So I said, I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna rectify all the things I didn’t like about that model. You know, and, but also keep the profitability, which is kind of difficult to do. So. Make sure that, you know, I was off when my kids were off that if someone you know, admin or staff or attorney said, I can’t cover this hearing because my it’s my child’s like, recital, you know, it’s like it never gonna happen again. To say Okay, well let’s move heaven and earth to just move it just just like you know, call them and say you have a scheduling conflict, just like you would with the hearing. So that’s what we do. We live our lives, we achieve excellence, which is hard, you know, it’s a balance. But it but it’s important to to get what you want. Long term, so that you’re happy and you want to say, and you can have longevity.

Bela Musits  10:05

Yeah, very nice. striking that balance in life in general is always a challenge. And, and it sounds like, you know what, one of the nice things you’ve done is that you’ve tried to bring that a balance element into people’s work lives as well, which can be very demanding, particularly, you know, in a Family Law segment where there’s a lot of emotion, there’s a lot of stuff going on with your clients that, you know, they they’re probably very anxious to get going. And so balancing all these things, is a real, real challenge.

Natalie Gregg  10:37

Yeah, well, so in the last four months, I’ve had three jury trials, and one was at a town for an entire week, and I have two kids and teenagers, I’m a single mom. So just that exercise for me was a little bit challenging because, because I’d never been like peace out guys gotta go. But we had, you know, family, friends who came in and stayed with the kids. But it, it added this element of, you know, just worrying about stuff at the homefront, because I wasn’t there. But I was working 16 hour days, because we get up, talk about the case, go to the case, stay at trial, and then the hate, you know, prep for the next day. So there wasn’t, there wasn’t any extra time there. But it you know, once again, we won, we had a great time doing it. And our client was super happy. My kids, they miss me, but off not too much. So it all worked out.

Bela Musits  11:32

Right. Right. So let’s talk a little bit more of the types of cases that that the law firm does. Can you just kind of talk a little bit about the various different types of family law matters you guys deal with?

Natalie Gregg  11:44

Sure. So we are known to be a complex litigation firm. What does that mean? That means that if it’s high net worth, child custody issues that involve, you know, complexities, is mental illness, addiction issues, you know, just Family Systems major deficits. And you can imagine what that all entails. So, no one no one comes, you know, to our firm saying, I just want to assemble an uncontested divorce, I would, you know, that’s not how my business model was set up. Initially, yes, it was the bread and butter. But, but now I, you know, I take cases that are dead, on paper really difficult to win very tough facts, foreign personalities, sometimes things where we need to have five experts, you know, to tell us, please help us guide this family to make good choices for the best interests of these children.

Bela Musits  12:51

Yeah, yeah. Wow, that sounds like it can be very rewarding work, because you’re really very impactful on people’s lives.

Natalie Gregg  12:59

Yep, no pressure, right. But the the, the other part of it, too, is, you know, creative ways of meeting people’s goals. So I am trained as a collaborative attorney, which is the opposite of litigation. And so a lot of times, I’ll approach something that is complex and say, Do we really need to spend six figures going all the way to this place on the decision tree that might end us up? Either the same net net or potentially worse? Because I’ve a magic eight ball, my office, and some people like what would the judge do, Mike, when you shake it? They don’t like that answer. But that’s sometimes it’s true. You know, every jurisdiction is different.

Bela Musits  13:40

Yeah. Yeah. What’s what sort of percentage of clients that you deal with actually ended up going to a trial?

Natalie Gregg  13:51

My answer would have been different about three years ago. So during COVID, we didn’t get we went to trial maybe once or twice that whole year. That’s 2020. In this year, I have gotten a trial about 25 times. Oh, wow. Just me personally, so I have I have four attorneys at the office. So that’s just me going to trial. But you know, it’s it’s different all the time. And I don’t know if it’s the the more advanced I get in my career, is it that people are seeking me out because they need, you know, someone who, it’s just not gonna resolve it at mediation or alternate dispute resolution.

Bela Musits  14:35

Yeah. So how do you how do you when you’re advising a client, sort of say, Yeah, we should take this to trial or No, we should really try to figure out how to get some different types of resolution to this matter.

Natalie Gregg  14:51

So there are some cases I have where it’s clear that there are some major liabilities on both sides. Also, or for privacy for? I’ll just I’m super blind. So I’ll just tell my client, hey, you can take this to trial trial is not Court TV, it is not Matlock, you know, the smoking gun, the linchpin where all we caught them. It’s a lot less sexy. And so I try to get them down to, here are the outcomes. Here’s what could happen, here’s what I think will happen. Oh, and by the way, we just got a new judge here. And we have no idea. And so we make all those risk assessments at the beginning. And then we continued to assess almost daily, you know, according to what happens, but I never want to take a case to trial just for sports. It’s not worth it.

Bela Musits  15:49

Yeah. Yeah. Because I couldn’t imagine that. The trial is that, to some degree, it’s very unpredictable what the outcome will be.

Natalie Gregg  15:59

Yes. And so when when I told you, I had jury trials, that’s actually very uncommon. And we’re the we’re the last state in the United States that does juries for family law cases. And most of my friends have done one to in their career. So for some reason, I’ve done eight, not to brag, but I’ve won all of them. But I don’t take a jury. I don’t take it to jury if I don’t think it’s gonna win. And that also is there’s a science behind picking the jurors. And there’s a science on picking which issues are allowed to be heard by the jury versus the bench. That would be the judge.

Bela Musits  16:37

So when you go to trial in Texas, are all of them jury trials or or some of them go to the judge?

Natalie Gregg  16:44

The majority of everyone’s practices bench trials. Jury is when when I walk in the courtroom and the judge looks at my client and just shuts them down? I know there’s a bias. Or if I noticed that every time i i start talking. My arguments are summarily dismissed. It could be personality, it could be we don’t know. But we just know that the result that’s happening is not typical. And so then we look at our client, we say, hey, look, you have a constitutional right to wear jury. This in they’re usually very surprised. So it’s not something that I just whip out as as a a catch all, you know, it’s actually pretty special to do that. And so when I said I did three and four months, it was it was kind of like catching your breath. Because a jury trial is you know, you’re you’re with the client all day you’re on. You’re on the whole time. You have to watch what you dress, how you act, what you do when you go to lunch, when you go to the restroom, how you walk. I mean, they just stare at you like kindergarteners. And then when I’ve pulled them afterwards, you’re allowed to go after sometimes and ask if they volunteer. What did we do, right? What did we do wrong? And though I actually comment on my outfits, or how I talk too fast, or, you know, I really liked when you did this, and you seemed really sweet? And I’m like, oh, okay, interesting. So you get like a psychological kind of look into their brains.

Bela Musits  18:20

Yeah, yeah, that’s interesting. I’m sure there’s a whole science and study of those types of things.

Natalie Gregg  18:28

Yeah, I usually bring my whole team when we when we choose the jury, I bring about five or six people get these big charts. Yeah, it’s not like the more he he has all these people virtually, you know, in any does kind of an AI. Read on their brains. We’re not there yet.

Bela Musits  18:49

Yeah. So if I called you up, called up your firm and said, Hey, I’m going through a difficult family matter. Take me through that process. What would the How would you what questions would you ask me to sort of decide whether it’s appropriate for us to you know, engage in a engage or best I should go some consultation?

Natalie Gregg  19:17

Yeah, sure. So by the time someone has called our office, they have done several hours of research, if not months or weeks of research. It’s not typically a you know, I’m ordering a pizza and hiring a divorce lawyer. kind of deal. So a lot of times they are the gatekeeper at our firm is Kristen, she’s our I call her COO, to call her a receptionist would be such a disservice because that’s one of her tasks. But she handles all intake. So she she knows each attorneys strengths, their weaknesses, our rates, she’ll listen she’s so compassionate. net that’s another thing is, you know, when you’re coming in with a sad, sad story which there is no happy to horse. There’s no happy modification when you’re fighting about, you know, kiddo custody. So she’ll listen to the facts and then let them know, you know, here’s our process. We have consultations, they’re the other paid for consultations, but they are applied to retainer. You can meet face to face zoom, and we’re we’re very flexible now. And you name how you want to meet with the attorney. Perfect. I still am pretty old school I like to meet with people in person. And then you know, we we vet out can you afford it? Is it Are we are we the right firm, like a lot of people are like, I want you to fight, I want you to rip them apart. That is not my MO, I will do what is necessary to achieve success. And that can mean gloves on gloves off, that can mean going into a room and having a very respectful discussion with opposing counsel. It’s a lot It looks like a lot of different things. And so Kristen typically explains that to them. And she handles all the intake and then once a client gets to a point of consultation with me, I answer all their questions during that point.

Bela Musits  21:18

All right, very nice. So approximately how long does a one of these cases take to resolve?

Natalie Gregg  21:27

So quickest divorce in Texas is 61 days because there’s a mandatory waiting period is called a cooling off period. The average divorce in in counties County, the county are different. In Collin County where I practice a majority is you know, approximately six to nine months. My more complex cases can be up to two years. Dallas, sorry, Dallas, I’m I’m getting like giving you a shout out. There’s a lot of red tape in Dallas. So I don’t know if it’s population, the amount of per capita. But we our cases are taking two to three years just because the dockets is hard to control.

Bela Musits  22:15 

Got it. Got it. So what let’s go way way back what sort of decided what was the your process and saying, Okay, I’m gonna go to law school, I want to be an attorney.

Natalie Gregg  22:28

I wanted to be an attorney when I was 13, 14 years old. I grew up in a family of debates and friendly banter about pretty much every issue. My father is a physician, my mom, well educated stay at home mom, but we just I have a little sister who works at the Louvre and she’s an art historian. And then I have a brother who is general counsel for Becky. So we all kind of chose jobs that were our passion. But I was on the mock trial team in high school love that. Love the competition loved the oration. And I also was a amateur actress, even continued that for payment during law school, just to supplement my income. So it’s, it’s really fun to be in the courtroom. It is stressful. But I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer.

Bela Musits  23:28

Yeah. Oh, very nice. Well, it’s great. And it sounds like you’ve you followed your desire, and you found your path. So that’s wonderful. So if if there’s someone listening to this podcast, who is, let’s say in law school, and they’re about to graduate in May, what sort of advice would you give them?

Natalie Gregg  23:49

So I think the market is very different. than when I got out, I would say, number one, explore different disciplines, different types of law, and see which fits best with you. And that means lifestyle, that means subject matter. Because they’re, you know, if you’re transactional, you can be in an airplane five days a week. You know, if, if you want to be a document, contract, review, and just hang out, like this is my home office and just hang out here all you know, all week, all month, that would be amazing for some people that would make me sleep. So figure out what it is that fits with you and your personality. And then also your you know, your life goal long term because, you know, some I talked to some younger attorneys or law students and I want to be an entertainment lawyer, I want to be a sports agent. And I said, you know, that’s it’s a very, it’s it’s flashy and fun. Uh, you know that. I can’t say that. There are a lot of those people, right? There’s not a whole bar of those people. Have a whole family bar. So find. And if that is your passion, then go find someone and shadow them and find out everything there is to know about it. And, and try it out. Because you’re young, you’re young, your mistakes are okay when you’re young. So just just kind of try things and don’t be afraid to fail.

Bela Musits  25:24

Yeah, good advice. Great advice. So Natalie, where can listeners find out more about your law firm?

Natalie Gregg  25:31

Sure. So our website is my name. So it’s natalienregg with two G’s .com. And I have also a YouTube channel, I do videos. And and, you know, I would love also, if anyone ever wants to directly contact me. You can also email me at natalie@nataliegregg.com. And I love to help people who have specific questions who are you know, passionate about the law, or have, you know, or just are in a bind, and they feel like they can’t find answers. I love to help people.

Bela Musits  26:08

Yeah, excellent. Excellent. We’ll make sure that information is in the shownotes. So is there something that I have not asked you, that you would like to share with our listeners?

Natalie Gregg  26:20

I think I just like to share that personal experience, I think really helps. So I have been divorced. I never in a million years expected to be. And so mid practice. About eight years ago, I went through a divorce. And that gave me such an insight into what my clients go through. And this, I call it the divorce crazy. It just it makes you anxious in life is hard, but I can walk them through that path. And so I have I have my mom advice, my attorney advice and then my here’s my life experience of being divorced. And here’s the do’s and don’ts and do as I say not as I do.

Bela Musits  27:03 

Yeah, excellent. Well, that’s a great way to wrap up this podcast. Natalie, thank you so much for being a great guest on the show. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Natalie Gregg  27:12

Thank you. It’s nice to meet you.

Outro  27:17 

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