Cathleen Sykes was on her way to being a doctor, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and primed for medical school.
“Halfway through, I developed this horrible aversion to blood,” she said. “Medical school wasn’t in the cards for me.”
Though disappointed, she took the LSAT and never looked back. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Sykes.
Sykes earned her law degree in 2010, when, to put it mildly, jobs for baby lawyers were few. So she channeled her passion for LGBT rights and marriage equality into a volunteer researching job with a small family law firm that was on the front lines of challenging Minnesota’s Defense of Marriage Act.
“It set me up well to open my own practice, which I did in August 2012,” Sykes said.
Since then, Sykes has succeeded by combining the backbone necessary to be a strong advocate for family law clients with the compassion to be a sympathetic ear when needed.
“You deal with people in the most trying times of their lives,” she said. “It takes a lot of patience, but you have to be firm and decisive with your clients – not only in areas of law, but things like how to co-parent. You’re doing more than advising them about what the courts might do.”