Heidi Post always aspired to attend law school. But as she finalized steps to achieve that goal, her dual dream of building a family presented a new challenge. Already pregnant while awaiting her LSAT results, Heidi and her wife Stacy received news that their long-awaited adoption request had been approved – she and Stacy would soon be the parents of twin girls
a newborn boy. Despite these curveballs, Post decided that she wanted to be more than just a mother. She chose to start her studies at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler Law School in the fall of 2011, shortly after having their son.
“There is no excuse for me not to be the best I can be,” she said. The two women quickly went from a dual income household with no children to a family with three infants and only one earning parent.
But Heidi certainly did more than just survive law school. After a strong first year, she was invited to be an editor for the
Chapman Law Review
, a prestigious position she has held in both her second and third years. As of graduation, Heidi will be ranked in the top 10 of the Fowler School of Law Class of 2014.
“I was so naïve – I theoretically knew law school would be hard; but most things are hard. I thought ‘this is what I am doing, put your head down and get it done,’” Post said. She explained how much support she received with her children and her studies from her wife, in-laws, family and friends. Her spouse works overtime and extra hours and coordinates nannies for the children. “My mother-in-law is a force of nature – she got behind my dream and stayed behind it like a propeller,” she said. Even her classmates at Fowler School of Law have banded around her and supported her dream of becoming a lawyer.
There aren’t any typical days at the Post’s house. “I made a promise not to study on weekends or at night,” she said. Post strives to be present when she is with her family. But she admitted that the hardest part has been the guilt of not being home during the day with her kids. Post said that “backpack” was one of the first words her children learned because once she put it on they knew she was leaving. But she made a promise to herself at the beginning of this journey never to ask for accommodations for her family. Post also knew that because of the size of Fowler School of Law, she had a feeling that the deans, faculty and staff would help where they could. “The school is small enough that I am not just a name or number; they actually know me,” she said.
Was it all worth it?
When asked if the past three years of law school were worth it, Post was adamant: “Absolutely. I don’t think I understood who I was or what I was capable of before law school. Personally it has been the most rewarding challenge of my life. It is a huge gift to know I can provide for my family so they can live a comfortable life. I can’t wait to give them that.”
Post always hoped that she would work at a large law firm. She proudly shared that she will be working for Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck, LLP (KNCH) in Irvine, California after graduation. Post worked at KNCH as a summer clerk during her second year. “I got so lucky – I didn’t realize how much I wanted the job until they offered it and I spent the rest of the day giddy,” she said. The partners and associates at KNCH have families and understand the work/family balance. Her kids will start full time preschool in the fall. She said it will be nice to not have to juggle any more than that.
On her final thoughts about balancing family and law school, Post suggested, “Be gentle with yourself. Life is hard. There are many expectations and a lot of competing priorities – take yourself seriously and work hard. There are two conteding priorities and you will need to put equal energy into both.”
About Heidi Post
Heidi Post graduated Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law in May 2014. Before law school, Post was involved in non-profit theater and small independent films. She was also the communication expert at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California. She graduated with her B.A. in media communications and theatre arts from Bethel University. She lives in Southern California with her wife Stacy, son Owen and twin daughters Evelyn and Eleanor.