I’m Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, an attorney, mom, writer, and explorer.
At EPW Small Business Law PC, I help one-person businesses transition from a big idea or a hobby business, to a *real* business, through all-inclusive flat-fee legal services and advice. As your attorney, I’m on your side — so you can do it right the first time around.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a physicist, so I could know all the secrets of the universe for sure.
I grew up to be an undergraduate student at Drury University, majoring in Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental Studies—titrating solutions, crawling in caves, and researching the properties of coal filters (sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Monsanto).
But after hundreds of hours stuck in cold research labs, I realized that as much as I love science, I couldn’t pass my days separated by time and logistics from people I wanted to help.
So, I went to law school.
The Story of a Lawyer
The legal case I’m most proud of is one I handled while still in law school.
I was working in the Civil Clinic, where we represented people who could not afford counsel, including those who were being evicted from their homes for allegedly not paying rent.
This client was a man on disability for a condition where all of his nerves randomly screamed in pain, rendering him curled up in the fetal position for hours, days. He had missed one rent payment, and a few days later, the notice was nailed to his door that he must pay or he would be evicted from his apartment in 3 days.
That’s where I came in.
Yeah, he didn’t pay rent and therefore couldn’t stay in that apartment. I’m a landlord myself, and I get that tenants need to pay rent or it’s unfair to owners. But he needed more than 3 days to figure out what to do next. So my job was to get him more days.
A few weeks later, I was ready to go to trial before a jury, put my client on the stand, and have him explain that while paying rent was required, three days wasn’t fair in this situation. I had a bunch of legal arguments to give to the judge that were somewhat creative but he could have bought them to justify helping my client.
But before my case was called, my client went into a seizure in the hallway.
Fyi, court bailiffs are trained in advanced first aid. Just in case that comes up for you.
In an hour or so, my client recovered, the opposing counsel settled with me (knowing that if I put my client on the stand and he went into another seizure from the stress, the jury wouldn’t be too happy with the landlord who was kicking him out), and I got him the time he needed to figure out the next step of his life.
A month or two later, my client sent me a note.
A thank you note, sharing how his newly-won additional days in his apartment had saved him, giving him time to get back on his feet again. I actually made a difference on that day. But it took a long time until I again felt like I made a difference like that, especially as a lawyer.
Meanwhile, at the University of San Diego School of Law, I developed a new system for environmental regulation, and served on the board of two law reviews. Since I was Law Review and magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, upon graduation I took a job in big law working for big corporate clients.
I worked at Skjerven Morrill LLP and Sidley Austin LLP, mostly doing intellectual property litigation (patents, trademarks, licensing, trade secrets, antitrust). Worked on cases for big-business clients including Applied Molecular Evolution, LG Electronics, and Microsoft. Got great performance reviews, always made my billable hour requirements, was on the track for making partner.
And so I quit.
The thing is, I looked at the partners in those firms and I didn’t want their life.
I wanted to have a family (and to actually spend time with them). I wanted to travel and learn and keep growing. I wanted an existence where I didn’t have to wear pantyhose.
I wanted to love my work. I wanted clients who actually knew my name. I wanted to help clients change the world.
I wanted to do something so important to someone’s life, that they might be inspired to send me a thank you note.
When I left the big law firm, I first opened up a financial planning and estate planning practice, helping people to “illuminate a path to a prosperous future.” Over the last 8 years, this morphed into small business consulting, a radio show, a blog, a podcast, marketing trainings, life coaching, and a bunch of other projects (including Live Your Truth).
While people kept asking me about legal stuff – I even wrote a book Grow Up! Strategies: The 7 Legal & Financial Strategies You Need to Up-Level Your Small Business to answer their questions – I stubbornly refused to give legal advice.
The experience of working in law firms had tainted the law for me.
I didn’t believe I could be a lawyer and still be myself.
But in late 2011, I realized something wasn’t right with my coaching/training/consulting practice. I was frustrated and stuck. Kept trying to launch different programs and strategies and projects that were only sort-of-right and none of them really worked financially or inspirationally.
Then I got a message: all I needed to do was to let go.
A few months later, I finally realized what I needed to do.
I realized that this journey of doing scientific research, working in big law, opening up multiple small businesses, learning online marketing and social media, being trained in science and law and finance and Myers-Briggs and feminine/masculine energy, getting two tattoos, raising a daughter – gave me a particular perspective and experience to create a unique (and somewhat weird) law practice.
I realized that I can be an attorney and Live My Truth at the same time.
But I could only do that, if I committed to create a different kind of practice.
So I opened EPW Small Business Law PC, dedicated to helping small business owners (especially one-person businesses like mine) transition from a big idea or a hobby business, to a *real* business, through all-inclusive flat-fee legal services and advice.
I believe chocolate should be dark, tea should be loose-leaf, and no App can replace the dozen+ super sticky Post-It Notes currently stuck to my desktop.
My seven year old daughter and I live in an apartment in the Silicon Valley with one cat, nine+ Apple products, twenty-one containers of craft supplies, and hundreds of books.
To Learn More
- Read the Best of the Blog
- Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
- Contact me to schedule a free Get Acquainted Appointment
- Attend my next free class for small business owners
Degrees, Licenses and Certifications
Concord Law School: LLM (masters of law) in Small Business Law (expected 2014)
University of San Diego School of Law: Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif (2000)
- Lead Articles Editor of the San Diego Law Review.
- Senior Executive Editor of the San Diego International Law Journal.
- General George Hickman Award for Constitutional Law
- Civil Clinic Award
- Comment, A Proposal for an Alternative to the Private Enforcement of Environmental Regulations and Statutes Through Citizen Suits: Transferable Property Rights in Common Resources. 36 San Diego Law Review 547 (1999).
Drury University, B.A. in Chemistry, Biology, & Environmental Studies, magna cum laude (1997)
Licensed attorney in California (2000-present)
Admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (1999-present)
MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Certified Practitioner (2011-present)
PAX Licensed Partner (2011-present)
Here’s a partial list of some of the places where I’ve been (features, interviews, speaking, guest posts) over the years:
Written Interviews/Features: San Jose Mercury News, San Jose Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Examiner.com, Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Smart Money.com, BankRate.com, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Chicago Tribune, Copley News Service, Reader’s Digest, OC Register, MyBusinessMag.com, Modern Mom Magazine, AllBusiness.com, Mompreneur Wellness, New Media Expo Blog, Problogger, How to Be a Millionaire Mumpreneur by Mel McGee, The Power of Slow by Christine Louise Hohibaum, allParenting
Radio/TV/Guest Interviews: NBC Bay Area (television), How She Really Does It, The Small Business MBA, Question the Rules, Sheri McConnell Co., Chic Perspectives, The Passion Project, The Social Caterpillar, A Year with Myself, Wealthy Girl Summit, Write Your Mess(TM) On Your Own, World-Changing Writing Workshop (2010), The Spirituality of Wealth, MomEO Show
Speaking: eWomen Network (San Jose, Elk Grove, Think BIG Business Summit in Roseville, Sacramento), Sassy Networking (Silicon Valley)
If you’re looking for a more traditional bio or a picture because I’m speaking for your group or you’re interviewing me, feel free to contact me directly.