Jennifer A. Corso
Petronzio Schneier Co., LPA
Q: Tell us about your business:
A: I am an attorney who specializes in representing small businesses in employment law matters. My job really is a mix between being an outside human resource manager and giving legal advice and counsel to my clients. A good part of my work is proactive - making sure my clients take steps that reduce the risk of employee lawsuits. Things like employee handbooks, employee & supervisor training, paying wages correctly, and knowing how to keep little problems from blowing up. The other part of my job is more reactive or defense - helping clients respond to employee complaints, lawsuits, workers' comp claims, etc. I have clients in a diverse array of industries - from restaurants to health care to manufacturing and even other law firms.
Q: What inspired you to start your own business?
A: I call myself the unintentional entrepreneur. To be honest, I never planned on being self-employed, but was one of many victims of the economy back in 2009. Lawyers, like everyone else, were being laid off in droves. I took advantage of the situation - taking five weeks to travel through Thailand and Cambodia - then came back and started my own practice. This really was a "necessity is the mother of invention" situation, and I had to re-invent myself to not just be an attorney, but a business owner. Or maybe it was just fate smacking me upside the head and putting me where I was really meant to be all along.
Q: Share an interesting or little known fact about you or your company:
A: Although I am a partner in a firm, Petronzio Schneier Co., we are actually all independent attorneys. Our arrangement gives us our own autonomy of being a business owner, but gives us all the benefits of working alongside other attorneys who complement our practice. It really is the best of both worlds. And, women make up 70% (7 out of 10) of the attorneys in our firm, so we don't see the issues female attorneys face in "traditional" firms.
Q: How long have you been involved with NAWBO?
A: I've been a member since August 2009 - I am not exaggerating when I say my NAWBO membership was the first check I wrote upon starting my own practice. But I was what I call a NAWBO "groupie" for at least five years prior to that, organizing joint networking events between the Ohio Women's Bar Association and NAWBO, and attending NAWBO events whenever I could.
Q: What do you like most about being a NAWBO member?
A: The camaraderie and support of NAWBO members, women who have been there/done that and are not just willing but happy to share their experiences and help others. We - successful women business owners - are like a turtle on a fence post... we certainly didn't get there alone!