Stephanie Serafin is enjoying the professional high that comes with being named a partner at a law firm and then seeing her name on the new firm logo. The West Palm Beach appellate firm where she’s worked for seven years now calls itself Kreusler-Walsh, Vargas & Serafin and the change represents much more than name recognition to the 34-year-old attorney.
Her time spent at the all-female, boutique firm has helped define the boundaries of Stephanie’s professional and personal life. “This firm is unique in that it understands the importance of balancing family and work and that’s because there are strong women leaders here.”
Seven months pregnant with her first son in the spring of 2010, Stephanie was nervous about interviewing with Jane Kreusler-Walsh who was looking to hire an attorney. “I didn’t know if there was etiquette to follow, should I give her a heads up about my pregnancy before meeting with her?” It turned out, the firm’s founding partner was aware of Stephanie’s advanced pregnancy and it was not an issue. Stephanie says Jane and partner Rebecca Mercier Vargas have been showing her how to balance life and work ever since. “They’re both mothers and I look to them for how they’ve handled it.”
They also have shown her the delicate balance of practicing law. After graduating law school at the University of Miami, Stephanie spent two years working as a law clerk at the 4th District Court of Appeal. “Coming from the courts, the biggest learning curve was the actual practice of law, there is research and writing and there’s dealing with clients and other attorneys.” Specifically, she points to the importance of open communication with clients and maintaining professional relationships with opposing counsel while staying true to clients’ interests.
Jane Kreusler-Walsh says unequivocally Stephanie has earned her place at the firm. “Stephanie is an exceptional attorney. Her analytical and writing skills are superb, as is her work ethic. She is a very fast learner and not a procrastinator. But most of all, Stephanie is a nice person, who gets along with everyone. The clients love her, as do we.”
A life-long resident of Tequesta, Stephanie has achieved professional recognition just 20 miles from home and family members who are extremely proud of her success. Her father, Bob Cochran is a Pratt and Whitney retiree who she credits with always challenging her mentally and encouraging her to view the world from different points of view. Her mother, Sally influenced her decision to pursue law. “She worked as a legal assistant for more than 30 years, so it’s a profession I was familiar with.”
Married for 10 years, Stephanie has known her husband Matt Serafin since they attended Jupiter High School. He’s a broker at Bluewater Yacht Sales and she points to his support as vital in juggling a big job while raising their two sons, Cameron and M.J. “I’m fortunate my husband is very supportive and I have a lot of family in town, with my parents living just down the road.”
Stephanie says having children has made the greatest impact on her life. They are what caused her to reevaluate plans to work at a large law firm, knowing she would likely have more balance at a boutique firm.
Now she is staying focused on the success of Kreusler-Walsh, Vargas and Serafin. “I’m really excited and honored. I have the best mentors and I’m very proud to be part of this firm. I want to keep the momentum Jane and Rebecca have built.”
No doubt she will forge ahead while maintaining the life balance she has embraced all along.
F – French fries or tater tots? Both
R – Right brained or left brained? Left brained
E – Email or carrier pigeon? Email
S – Sunshine or moonlight? Sunshine!
H – Homebody or party animal? Homebody all the way