"How I Got Started..." with Deanna Hathaway, Co-Partner of Hathaway Adair, P.C.
We had the great pleasure of talking to Deanna about her early introduction to bankruptcy law in her career, the difficulties of a work/life balance as a practicing lawyer, and the importance of the Richmond law community in her career.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. I’ve lived in Richmond since 1983.
Q: What are you passionate about in your personal life?
A: At the moment, I’m very passionate about advocacy. The news and the political climate aren’t very positive environments.
Q: Where did you receive your undergraduate degree? Where did you receive your law degree?
Q: What did you study in school?
A: Business Management. Very ironic because I’m not the best at managing people.
Q: What inspired you to practice bankruptcy law?
A: It’s where I got a job after law school. For most lawyers, wherever they get their start after law school is typically where they end up in that niche.
Q: Tell me about your career before becoming an entrepreneur / business owner.
A: Law students aren’t supposed to do this, but I got a job in law school working for a law firm and worked there for a year. I then got a job at a downtown firm and soon discovered I loved the Debtor side of the work. Then I worked at a midsize debtor firm for about 10 years.
Q: What is your company?
A: My company is Hathaway Adair, P.C. We are a boutique consumer bankruptcy law firm. Our firm is very forward-facing. We provide hope for a better future. We just want our clients to know that their problems can be fixed.
Q: Tell me about the transition from your career to entrepreneurship / why you started your business?
A: Honestly, the opportunity was there and I took it. I never would have thought that I’d be a business owner. You have to be a manager when you’re a business owner and that is not necessarily my strongest skill set.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We opened April 15, 2013. It snowballed quickly.
Q: What was the biggest surprise as a business owner from working as an employee?
A: I think the biggest surprise was the realization that this is my business and that everything is up to me. I was surprised at how this job has allowed me to be flexible and not have to constantly grind.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges in growing the business? What have you done differently as a result?
A: I’ve definitely learned to be more experimental in business development. It’s still a work in progress but I’m much better than before.
Q: As a successful business owner, do you have work / life balance? How have you managed to improve the joy and fulfillment in your life?
A: I have no definitive answer for this because I’m never not a lawyer, however, I do try to spend more time at home and I try to integrate work at home.
Q: From your website, you appear to be very involved in the Richmond law community. What motivates you to be involved and not sit on the sidelines?
A: To continue to learn. The Richmond law community surrounds me with people with common interests and some of my best teachers.
Q: What can we and others in the community do to help your business grow and be more successful?
A: Talk about us! If you sense that someone is having money problems, have them talk to our firm. Simply pointing them in our direction is all we need.
Q: What advice would you give other entrepreneurs / small business owners?
A: Always know your numbers. If you’re not constantly tracking, you don’t know to look for important patterns, changes, etc.
Q: What’s the best part about working with your law partner, Julia Adair?
A: I tend to be more process-driven and less emotionally-driven when working with clients. However, Julia, my law partner, is one of the kindest and most empathetic people I’ve ever met and she’s really good with people. She genuinely wants to hear our clients’ stories and understand their perspective.
“How I Got Started...” is a blog series that spotlights the entrepreneurial and life journeys of various small business owners and professionals. The content of this blog was curated by members of the CreativeMktGroup team.