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Meet Cynthia Flynn of Hackler Flynn & Associates in East of Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Flynn.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cynthia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am an employment attorney and I know employee issues first hand. When I was little my parents owned a small print shop, named GAP. “G” was for Glen (my dad) and “A” for Angie (my mom) and of course, the “P” stood for Printing. When I was seven years old, I worked in the shop – I stuffed envelopes, I put flyers into piles; I stapled papers together (this was before machines did it automatically for you). I saw them go through some really hard days which eventually led to bankruptcy and divorce.

Some of THE most serious problems that led them there were employee problems. They didn’t know how to deal with employees using drugs, getting pregnant, or with employee time records. They were too busy growing their business to take precautions and as a result, suffered great hardship.

Seeing them go through this, I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer, certainly not a divorce lawyer but a business lawyer. So, at the age of 10 I declared that I was going to do just that, become a lawyer. Employee issues fascinated me.

When I was in high school, I got a job at an employment law firm – Krutick & Georggin. It started out as an after school job and I ended up being there for eight years – all through the rest of high school, college and law school. It reinforced that this was the type of law I wanted to practice.

When I graduated law school I went to work for a law firm in West Los Angeles – I was there for a few years. Then an attorney from Krutcik & Georggin recruited me to come work under her. I ended up working for her and after about a year, she left the firm to start her own practice. After she left, I started thinking about opening up my own practice.

Since my husband’s an entrepreneur, my father’s an entrepreneur and my brother’s an entrepreneur I thought I could be one too. Over the years, I’ve hired I actually stayed in touch with a lot of the people I used to work with at Krutcik & Georggin. In fact, I’ve hired six women from that firm – 3 attorneys, 2 paralegals and 1 bookkeeper from that firm to come work with me. Today, I have a staff of ten and run two law offices (one in Los Angeles and one in Irvine).

I am so passionate about this area of the law that my whole mission is to protect and defend not only my family but all business owners.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
From an early age, I thought I had life all figured out –in 3 easy parts.

1. I thought that becoming a lawyer was going to be the key to success and happiness.
2. I thought that buying a house was always a smart and safe investment. And
3. I thought that whole wheat bread was the cornerstone of any healthy diet.

So at the age of 16, I got my first internship at a law firm. At the age of 19, I bought my first house and by 20, I was the proud owner of a bread maker. My plan for success and happiness was right on track. It was 2007, and I was graduating from college, heading to law school and a homeowner. Check, check and check!

And then the economy crashed.

Firms stopped hiring new lawyers, the housing market went underwater and, to make matters worse… I found out I had a gluten intolerance! I went from thinking I had it all to living with my parents… all in a matter of months. It was heartbreaking…and then it got even worse.

I graduated from law school in 2010 and not only did I have zero job prospects, I owed twice as much as on my house than what it was worth. Then, I got lucky, or at least I thought I got lucky. The only job I found was in Los Angeles, which required an hour long commute to and from my parents’ house. After nearly 3 years, I realized that I barely knew the associates I was working with; I had no access to my clients so when I’d come back from a court appearance after winning (or losing) a hearing, I wasn’t able to share that outcome with them. In those three years, I never even met one of the founding partners of the firm. To my dismay I realized that I lost the WHY, the reason why I became a lawyer in the first place. On top of that I had no life outside of work. After a 12-hour work day, I’d get back in my car and sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic back to Orange County. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels, going through the motions and spending my life in the car.

I found myself hating what I was doing and I seriously considered leaving the law altogether… I thought I would go back to waitressing, it was something I always enjoyed, I’d save the commute and I’d actually get to talk to my clients. And to be honest, it would also allow me to make more money.

The low point for me was after being turned down for a waitressing job… apparently you are too overqualified if you apply with a law degree on your resume. Not only that, I lost my house and realized that you can’t declare bankruptcy with student debt. I was trapped. My preconceived notions let me down this path, and that’s when I hit rock bottom.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hackler Flynn & Associates – what should we know?
We are a certified women-owned law firm and we focus on protecting and defending business owners. I’m proud to say we have 7 women attorneys, 2 women paralegals and one male receptionist. I’ve been out of law school for over seven years myself and I started the firm as a solo practitioner about 4.5 years ago. In that time, I’ve hired magnificent attorneys – all of whom have more experience than me, they all have 10-20 years of legal experience. Additionally, we charge one rate across the board for all attorney-time – there’s no partner or associate hourly rates.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The ability to work hard and keep hustling, in addition to hiring people better than myself.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Starla Fortunato – Star Images Photography

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