Still Going Strong
A family law attorney settles into South Bay life while making her clients’ negotiations as painless as possible.
- Written byLaura L. Watts
- Photographed byKathryn Harris
“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a symbol status.” Author and lecturer Brené Brown didn’t say this specifically about the legal industry, but the notion definitely applies.
Family law is going through a period of change, with clients and their lawyers questioning traditional modes of practice. Contentious divorce cases take a toll on the litigants and the attorneys as well. Add to that a heavy workload, long hours, changing regulations, and the lack of formal training in dealing with crisis or trauma, and lawyers can feel depressed and overworked—which might have a negative impact on their cases.
To prevent this scenario, visionary attorneys like Victoria McLaughlin are placing a higher priority on work-life balance. Victoria knows firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate and share the emotional burden of her clients’ family law situations. The stakes are high when divorcing couples need to resolve disputes over property, a premarital agreement or their children. Whether through mediation or a collaborative divorce process, Victoria brings a calm tone to the table and guides clients toward peaceful resolutions—often without stepping foot in a courtroom.
“I contribute to the overall well-being of my clients by leading them down a lighter path during a dark, tough time.”
A South Bay native, Victoria lived and worked in Los Angeles for a decade before returning and opening her own practice, McLaughlin Family Law & Mediation, APC, in early 2020—just as the pandemic was changing the way we live and work. This reset button in her personal and professional life occurred partly because she disliked highly contentious practices and traditional law firm roles. She decided to offer clients a zen approach to divorce proceedings—as contradictory as that may sound.
“I am equipped to make my clients’ prenup or divorce negotiations as painless as possible,” she says. “I contribute to the overall well-being of my clients by leading them down a lighter path during a dark, tough time.”
Victoria can approach her work in a balanced way because she also focuses on balancing her personal life. Daily exercise is key for her: running an average of 50 to 60 miles per week, practicing yoga, attending group fitness classes or working out on her Peloton.
While a healthy diet is important to her, Victoria is an avid baker and lets off steam by experimenting in the kitchen. To compensate for her serious sweet tooth, she has learned to make dishes she can feel good about eating, such as granola and acai bowls. But she still enjoys making treats for friends, family and neighbors.
“I love handing out baked goods because they’re an immediate source of joy,” she says. Last December she baked cookies and gave them to local businesses and even neighbors she doesn’t know who frequently provide treats for dogs that walk by.
Victoria prioritizes her serenity by keeping up with activities she loves, including facilitating a South Bay women’s book club that she started with a client-turned-friend; walking at the beach with her dog; and traveling—including a trip to Spain last August. She also enjoys attending local events and participating in a networking group that meets at the Manhattan Beach Country Club.
“Manhattan Beach feels like a small town despite being accessible to Los Angeles,” she says. “I can’t leave the house without seeing someone I know. I love it!”
Whether facilitating a mediation, divorce or couples’ agreements, Victoria helps clients protect their future well-being while keeping stress low during the process. If she can use her legal expertise and human compassion to help a couple work through their differences and avoid a hostile, expensive court battle, she’s done her job well.
Two years after creating her own new lease on life, Victoria is continuing to find her place in the South Bay community. And she’s still making peace for her clients.