Victoria McLaughlin

McLaughlin Family Law & Mediation, APC, specializes in facilitating the peaceful resolution of family law disputes. Founded by attorney Victoria McLaughlin this June after she worked with other law firms for the past 10 years, the practice focuses on divorces, prenuptial agreement negotiations and postdivorce issues.

Take a risk or play it safe in business?

“I am instinctively a risk-averse person, but in business (and in life) I make a conscious effort to overcome that because I know that playing it safe limits my potential. I took a huge risk opening a peaceful family law practice, given the common assumption of that being an oxymoron. But it was definitely the right move for me. Most family law firms focus on litigation; I am an outlier. Even when couples experience tension and disagreement, I’ve had success advocating for clients with a more zen approach. I like keeping everyone out of the courtroom.”

In what ways are you an innovator or an influencer?

“Since starting my firm, I’ve realized I’m changing the way people think about getting a divorce. Whenever I meet new people and they inevitably ask me what I do, the phrase ‘family law’ often elicits musings of the negativity I must face every day. The truth is that I decided at the outset I would only take cases with clients who were on board with maintaining a certain level of civility and positivity. With our parameters set, my clients and I navigate their cases in a completely different way than I saw in previous law firms centered on contentious litigation. I’ve found that many clients want to do things my way, and I’m happy to be here for them.”

Where do you find your inspiration?

“I start from within. I always wanted to be a lawyer, but I’ve also always had a calm disposition. At the law firms where I previously practiced, I admired my colleagues and mentors immensely but didn’t see attorneys exemplifying the tone and strategy I envisioned for myself. Now I trust my intuition and lean into my personality.”

In what ways do you empower other women to succeed in business?

“I have worked to empower other women to achieve their professional goals my whole career. A few years into my practice, I joined the board of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles where I chaired the Young Lawyers Section. I loved hosting panel events where new lawyers could hear from women who had excelled in their respective legal careers. We would often keep them fairly intimate so the attendees could have real access to the speakers. 

Since then I have been fortunate enough to have a group of incredible young women attorneys who are my good friends, and we always help each other with legal questions, business questions and life questions. Whether it’s being transparent about earnings to help a friend gauge the market or simply being a test subject for a legal argument, I think every day is an exercise in empowering other women around me to succeed.”

What is on your bucket list, professionally or personally?

“I’d like to be a mom someday! Until then, I’m taking advantage of my freedom and prioritizing the success of my firm and lots of travel.”

What vacation destination are you dreaming of these days?

“All of them. I love active trips with hiking and activities; I love relaxing trips with beaches and lounging; I love city trips with food and culture. I cannot wait for regular travel to resume. Before the pandemic, I traveled internationally quite often. During the past year and a half I have missed it, although I have loved taking advantage of all the outdoorsy domestic options at our disposal like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Zion and Bryce. I am feeling ready for an adventure, so I’d say a top item on my travel to-do list right now is hiking Machu Picchu.”

What puts a spring in your step and keeps you feeling energized?

“My girlfriends bring so much joy to my life—they are a huge source of fun and inspiration. Most of them are lawyers as well, and we hit brunch or happy hour as often as we can. We manage to fit in some girls’ trips too! Watching them achieve their professional goals and then set new ones inspires me to aim higher and be better.”

What is your best piece of advice for a woman just starting in your line of work?

“Find good mentors and observe the habits of people you admire, but ultimately tread your own path and do things your way. I was extremely lucky to have one particularly good mentor early on (another South Bay attorney, actually). I remember after our first meeting he told me he would open doors for me but that it was up to me to walk through them. That ended up being true, and I am still so grateful.”