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Surround Yourself with Other Amazing Women (Part 2)

I had an amazing Sunday dinner with Stephanie and her family recently. We caught up on all of our normal day-to-day and sat down for a lovely dinner her better half made for us all. Our kiddos were playing together bouncing around on furniture and playing with toys. It was a really special dinner and different from our other get-togethers because we will be moving and won't be able to see them as much. I wanted to make sure in this time I also recognized what an amazing human Stephanie is and I knew I wanted to do a post on her.

Here is my interview with my wonderful friend, Stephanie Nodine.

Hi my dear friend, thank you so much for allowing me to ask you some questions. The first question is, What made you want to become a lawyer?

I always saw this profession as being something I was scared of, which made me want to prove it to myself that I could. That I have the ability to use my skills in this profession and make it better. I was 22 years old when I got into law school and graduated at 25. I took a year off between undergrad and law school to figure out my next path.

How old were you when you opened your own law firm?

I was 29 years old. I was really excited about accomplishing this before I turned 30. I worked for an Immigration and Criminal Defense firm right out of law school. I started as a clerk there in my 3rd year of law school and then was hired on after graduation. I worked for them for a couple of years and then felt like I was being pulled in a different direction. I kept my eyes open to different possibilities and saw what the world presented me. One day, I was taking a drive out to Johns Island on my lunch and saw a sign for office space for rent. I went in there and talked to the woman about what I did and it was a good conversation. It felt right. Quickly after that meeting, I put in my notice at my job and jumped into working for myself in Immigration law.

Oh my gosh, so how were you feeling in that moment, putting in your notice and knowing you were doing this?

It was terrifying, you know how it is too. When you are young and just starting out in your field you don't know if you are going to sink or swim and you just have to find out. I was ready to work by my own rules and my own schedule though. I didn't have any models of other business owners growing up so I had to just figure it out along the way.

Yes. I totally get the struggles. Especially in the beginning and not sure if everything will work out. With that being said, how long has it been now since opening your business?

It's been 10 years.

Yay! 10 years! That is a huge milestone for any small business owner!

Honestly, I totally forgot about it and wish I would have celebrated it more. It's harder now having my daughter and balancing work-life, so sometimes priorities shift. I should at least do a post about it.

Um, yes, you most definitely should! 10 years is a great accomplishment!

Could you take a moment and explain what kind of cases you work on regarding Immigration?

Sure. I would say that 90 percent of my cases involve US citizenship, family-based permanent residency, waivers for ineligibilities, and crime victim services. With the way Immigration works it sometimes can take a minimum of 5 years and to move a case. So I have cases that may stay on my books for a while due to the process everything takes.

What is one thing that you would tell your younger self, knowing what you know now? And it can be about anything.

Now that I have a daughter, I have thought a lot about this. I wish I had been raised feeling like it is okay to try and fail. That this isn't a moral failing or you are a bad person if you don't succeed at everything. I feel like I had opportunities in college and even later on that I passed on but I was just afraid that I was not going to be the best at it. In my mind, I thought, if I can't do this and be the best then I am not going to do it. SO, do not be afraid of failure. It does not mean or reflect on you as a good or bad person in any way. The other thing would be learning to set and enforce boundaries, which I think is an ongoing journey for me

Do you feel like setting the boundaries has come from a more male-female dynamic, clients in general, or life in general?

I think it has to do with being brought up to want to please everyone around me. Growing up knowing you want to keep all the adults in your life happy and I just continued to carry this with me to where it involved everyone around me. When I am trying to deliver results to my clients that I don't control at the end of the day, the government controls that, and remember that I can't keep everyone happy all the time. I was reading recently that burnout can come from feeling helpless, like you feel responsible for the outcome of a situation but feel helpless that you can't do anything about it and that really resonated with me. It helped me realize how important having those boundaries set in place knowing what I can and can't control and knowing that this is okay.

What advice would you give another woman getting ready to start law school and thinking about getting into Immigration law?

So, I wish what I would have done better when I first started was ignoring the emphasis on "hustle" culture. People get into Immigration law because they are very empathetic. I don't know any Immigration lawyers that are not. It's not a high-money field or quick. So make sure you are getting into this field because you want to help people and empathize with their situation. You have the opportunity to make big impacts in people's lives and in that way, it is extremely rewarding, but it is very easy to give too much of yourself. If you are young and starting out that is the time to get those boundaries set in place and that you are taking care of yourself. It's harder when you are down the road, now with a family, trying to put those boundaries in place. It is a hard and stressful field to be in.

Well, thank you so much for this Stephanie. I know other women are going to read this and totally understand where you are coming from and hopefully set boundaries in their own lives starting today!

You can find Stephanie Nodine at


Dr. Ariel Blackburn


Holistic Health Provider

Momma bear



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