Her voice, smile, authoritative commentary, and trademark use of the adage, “Bring back common sense,” are so familiar, that many feel they already know Monica K. Lindstrom.
Certainly, her success within the Arizona legal community needs no elaboration, and her prolific forensic contributions to radio and TV along with her popular blog #LegallySpeaking have made Lindstrom a household name. Yet, believe it or not, this legal powerhouse is also a fulltime wife and mother, adjunct professor, and volunteer judge pro tem.
Perhaps in her “spare time” she might consider teaching a course on time management? So, what is her secret to juggling so much, so gracefully?
“It’s a group effort, I have a tremendous support system,” she acknowledges. “I have an incredible family. My husband, mom, brother and my dad all pitch in and make this possible. I can’t imagine not having that kind of love and support.
“I’ve really toned down my practice when it comes to cases, but that has allowed me to take on more mediations,” Lindstrom continues. “Also, both of my kiddos will be in school, my youngest begins kindergarten this year and my oldest will be in second grade, so that’s opening up time for me to grow my mediation business.”
Made This Way
Her apparent drive and ability to successfully handle a burgeoning schedule, began at a very early age. Although she grew up in Iowa, Lindstrom came to Arizona in 1989, attending high school and then completing her undergraduate studies at Northern Arizona University. Though not officially a true native, she proudly claims the state as her own, and cannot mention her alma mater without adding a fervent, “Go Jacks!”
A self-described tomboy, Lindstrom was always very active, her interests diverse and many. A gift ed athlete, she was a member of several sports teams, including swim, basketball, volleyball, track and dance. Not surprisingly, Lindstrom was also a cheerleader throughout high school and college, and remains an avid sports fan looking forward to sharing this passion with her sons Rhett and Colt.
Dance was and is another important aspect of her life. In fact, Lindstrom minored in dance in college.
“I don’t think I ever really believed it would be my sole profession,” she admits. “I started too late. I didn’t begin formal lessons until I was in high school, and could pay for them myself. But I’ve always been passionate about it. At one time, I taught tap, jazz, hip hop, and even had my own dance company.”
Though it might not be obvious how this love for dance might impact other aspects of her life, specifically within the legal profession, quite the opposite is true. Lindstrom names a particular dance instructor, Kristin Eberhardt, as her most influential mentor saying, “she taught me more than dance, she taught me about life.”
It was also a specific episode in Lindstrom’s dance career that affected her so dramatically that it has colored every endeavor since.
“I think I always had that need to do things right, not screw up,” she says, “but one performance I actually forgot a few steps, and that triggered something inside me. I vowed that I would never make a mistake again!
“Of course, I’ve made mistakes,” she continues, “but I do everything humanly possible to make sure I’m prepared for every undertaking. I always do thorough research and study as hard as I can. I need to know exactly what’s going to happen and what’s expected of me.”
Ironically, today much of her energies are spent in an arena for which it is virtually impossible to fully prepare.
Dealing with Uncertainty
“One thing about working in the media is that it’s so uncertain,” she confides. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the news or what’s going to change from day to day. And that’s a little hard because when you’re a lawyer you’re paid to be certain. You are paid to know the answers, to be the rock and give your clients a foothold in the storm they are going through. Th en, when you switch over to events in the media world, it’s so completely different because nothing is certain. Stories change, and news breaks by the second. You have to have pretty thick skin to handle it.”
As with everything she does, Lindstrom has faced this challenge head-on and has her own way of handling the unpredictability.
“When I go on air, whether it’s radio or TV, when it’s a legal issue I try to at least give some certainty and the bottom line, something for people to grab on to, or something to take away,” she explains. “I want to give value. Where it used to be to my clients, I want to give value to those who are watching. An important part of my job, as I see it, is to break it all down in plain English and show the practical side of the issue. Th e reality.”
Ask a Busy Person
Just when it seems she’s already accomplishing the impossible, expertly filling so many significant roles all while making it look so easy, Lindstrom is actually undertaking a few new ventures. Each as exciting and valuable as the next.
“First of all, I’m very excited to be building my mediation practice,” she says. “I really enjoy helping people resolve their issues instead of just continuing to fight. Th at really drains the life out of people, not to mention the finances. Long, drawn out litigation, dragging everyone through the mud, doesn’t really help anyone, and no one is really happy in the end.
“I didn’t realize until aft er I had my children, just how much I really enjoy mediation,” Lindstrom continues. “That’s also what I teach at Arizona Summit Law School. I try to teach my students more about reality, and how mediation is very realistic in today’s times. Whether it’s a legal case or just an issue at home, you’re always mediating, always negotiating. So I try to show them the practical side as well as the legal side.”
Lindstrom begins each semester by telling her students that her job is not only to teach them how to mediate, but also how to be a realistic lawyer.
Fans who enjoy her on AZTV, Channel 7’s “Th e Morning Scramble” and as co-host on “Th e Agenda” on KTAR, will be thrilled to hear of her next project. “Arizona Daily Mix” premieres at the end of August on KAZT Channel 7, featuring Lindstrom on several segments throughout the week.
“It’s very exciting because it’s a totally different side of me,” she says. “Th is show will not be legal at all. It’s going to be more fun, more of the girls’ side, the mommy side, being involved in the community and education side. Where I get to talk about serious issues, but also fun stuff.”
One of Lindstrom’s favorite segments already will be Kid’s Korner. Th is will be her opportunity to inform parents of excellent local attractions perfect for the whole family as well as offer tips, advice, and even a little mommy-to-mommy commiseration.
“It’s just a different side of me, but an opportunity I’ve been afforded because of my legal background,” she explains.
Last, but certainly not least, Lindstrom says she looks forward to devoting more time to Ambassadors of Compassion, a nonprofit designed to help at-risk youths. In fact, her husband Michael, is the chairman of the Arizona chapter.
“We try to teach these young people how to be accountable and make good decisions,” Lindstrom explains. “Volunteers from various businesses go through a coaching program and then meet with the students once or twice a week, and help guide them through the program. We really hope to grow it here locally.”
Truly a phenomenon, Lindstrom tackles this and so much more. Her children come first, and she’s very active in their school programs never letting them forget they are her number one priority.
Obviously all those dance lessons have paid off, because Monica Lindstrom waltzes through her varied responsibilities with finesse, professionalism and always, a warm, engaging smile.