The attorneys at Capistrant Law P.A. work together to help families through some of life’s most challenging transitions. They provide comprehensive family law representation in the areas of divorce and post-decree divorce, paternity, child support and domestic abuse, and they utilize cooperative law, traditional litigation, mediation and social early neutral evaluation methods to achieve sustainable results.
The firm’s founder, Theresa A. “Traci” Capistrant, is a notable attorney with more than 27 years of experience as a family law practitioner. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers every year since 2002 and named as a Top 100 Women Super Lawyer three times. While she is reputed as an aggressive advocate in the courtroom, she is also known as a proponent of less adversarial methods that allow families to have a say in their own resolution.
Seeking greater balance in her personal and professional spheres, Capistrant opened her doors in 2001 with a vision of building a practice that serves clients with empathy, as well as excellence. “I started out with a big firm,” she said, “and I recognized that in order to be a partner there, I had to be willing to give up some of my health, happiness and family life. The women attorneys in that firm in the late ’80s weren’t interested in mentoring young attorneys. I think because they had clawed their way to the top, it just felt like competition to them.”
After leaving the big firm, Capistrant worked in a small law firm for 10 years and then opened her own practice. “When I stepped off the cliff and opened my firm, I wondered if I could make it on my own and survive. My vision was to create a supportive office environment for everyone who works here. I wanted a place where people could work hard and get things done, but still honor the more important personal aspects of their lives. And I wanted a firm where clients would feel they are lift ed up and very involved in the process.”
In 2013, Capistrant hired attorney Jill Meyer, whom she describes as her doppelganger. Meyer began practicing law in 2006 and was commuting to work for a small firm in northern Minnesota when she met Capistrant. “I had both of my babies while I was working in my previous position, and it was very difficult. I heard from a mutual friend that Traci might be hiring, so over the next nine months, I pursued her. I finally told her, ‘You could put out all of these applications, but it would be so much easier to hire me.’ I was doing about 80 percent family law at the time, and I really wanted to just do family law. My persistence finally paid off . We work so well together, and the years have flown by.”
“She stalked me a little bit,” Capistrant laughed, “and I made her work for it. I really wanted someone with whom I could work as a team, so I could hand-off a client with the comfort of knowing it would be relatively seamless. We’ve achieved that. I think we both take a very empathetic approach to our practice and want our clients to feel important. We are there with them through huge events in their lives, and we want each person to feel like we get that, that it is just as important to all of us. We recognize that each family and each experience is unique, and we do our best to personalize our representation to fit their needs.”
Capistrant and Meyer strive to achieve results in a way that is least disruptive for families by utilizing the cooperative practice method. “We begin with an agreement to try to reach resolution without going to court, but unlike collaborative practice, if things fall apart and we have to go to court, the same lawyers can stay on the case,” Capistrant explained. “Our goal is to walk beside our clients in the process and involve them in every decision. We introduce them to our team here and then work to achieve resolution in the most respectful way. So many times when people come to us from another attorney, they have no idea what’s going on in their case. We want them to feel empowered by having choices and knowing they’re in charge of their own case.”
Capistrant also recognizes that each person who works for her firm is an individual with unique needs and circumstances, and she has fostered a culture consistent with that belief. Since her firm’s inception, Capistrant has employed part-time paralegals and legal assistants who job share in order to pursue Christian ministry work. “In honoring their faith, they were wanting and needing part-time work. It has turned out to be a great arrangement for all of us.”
When Capistrant’s daughter was first born, she arranged a flex schedule. Today, she honors that need of flexibility with Meyer, who works from home one day a week. Meyer is the mother of young children, and she is proud that she has never missed an important event with them. “If there is anything I want to go to, I just make sure I get in on the calendar. I chaperone field trips and do lunches with my first grader. Our firm really does have a family focus. Our clients understand that they will not get a hold of me aft er 5 p.m. It’s just a matter of setting expectations that work hours are from this to this. I feel like it makes me a better attorney. I come in replenished and ready to start on Monday morning.”
Both attorneys make it a priority to off er service and leadership in the community. These activities help them to remain connected to their clients and colleagues in a personal way. “Mentoring has always been hugely important to me,” Capistrant said, “and we both try to make sure we’re always doing some form of teaching, as well.”
As more solo and small firms are entering the marketplace, Capistrant Law is a model for success. With an emphasis on teamwork and empowerment, they are providing the outstanding legal representation, holistic support and personal attention people need to move through life’s transitions with comfort and confidence.