This week we interviewed Lauren Cassimatis (@criminallawmums) an accredited criminal law specialist with over 15 years’ experience in defending clients charged with a wide variety of offences.
“Believe in your dreams and they may come true. Believe in yourself and they will come true” is her life motto.
Let's meet her.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am an accredited criminal law specialist based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, with
over 15 years’ experience in defending clients charged with a wide variety of offences. I
particularly specialise in complex proceedings and high-volume work such as homicide,
drug importation, sexual offences and mental impairment defences. I am a strong believer in prevention of crime through treatment and education, over punishment. I am
a mother and founder of Criminal Law Mums, a wellbeing and professional development
support group for criminal lawyer mothers and related professionals throughout
Australia. I am committed to boosting the confidence of working mothers increasing
their networks and facilitating their career progression through regular, informative and
inspirational events; providing a safe and private online forum for women to seek and
give support; helpful online resources and developing professional relationships with
- When did your journey start?
I became a mother in 2015. I had my second child in late 2017. I created Criminal Law
Mums in January 2018 in response to my own and other women’s experiences as
mothers juggling parenting and life as a lawyer, and after witnessing women’s careers
being interrupted because they exercised their rights to start a family, take maternity
leave and/or work part-time or flexibly. For example, their commitment to their
employer/the firm was questioned, their ‘stamina’ was questioned and often being away
from their practice meant they were ‘out of sight out of mind’ and therefore missed out
on promotional opportunities or the casework they desired. I wanted to create a group
that offered lawyer mothers practical and emotional support to preserve and bolster
their careers and overall happiness.
As a mum you can sometimes doubt yourself and your skills as a mother and as a
lawyer, so it is important to be able to share your experiences with others in the same
situation and to support and empower each other. There are stresses unique to working
in an often challenging ang traumatic profession such as criminal law; it can affect you
emotionally and can impact on your interaction with your own families. So it is important
to know you are not alone and draw strength from your own and others’ experiences.
- What’s the idea behind your business?
To provide women, particularly mothers, with the right resources, contacts, inspiration
and confidence to believe in themselves, believe in their dreams, understand their
rights, implement those rights and bolster their chances of achieving their career goals
and general happiness.
- Do you have a personal life motto?
My beautiful grandma, Aphrodite, raised me as her own daughter and always told me to
“believe and don’t be afraid”. So whenever I feel fear and doubt start to chip away at my
strength and dreams, I repeat my grandma’s advice to myself. I also regularly apply the
following affirmation: “Believe in your dreams and they may come true. Believe in
yourself and they will come true”.
- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs?
Trying not to let internal and external doubt (i.e. from other people) get on top of your
instincts, intuition and abilities. Also, trying to nurture the idea of true sisterhood – I
stand by “community over competition” and I hope that we women do truly stand by and
support one another.
- How do you overcome it?
Understanding that doubt is just doubt. Listening to the positive voices in your head and
exercising self-worth and belief. It’s not so much a matter of ignoring or denying doubt –
but drawing strength from it and using it to your advantage. For example, back as a
junior lawyer I asked a prominent Queen’s Counsel if he ever got nervous appearing in
court. He said “I get nervous every time I am in court. Nerves are a sign of a good
lawyer. A good lawyer gets nervous because they care about their client. They care
about their case. They care about the quality of their work”. Each time I feel doubt I
explore what is triggering it and remind myself of the good behind it and use it to
motivate myself to continue pursuing and achieving my goals.
- What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur
Criminal Law Mums began as a small group of 30 criminal lawyer mothers based in
Melbourne, Victoria. Within six months it increased to 350 lawyers of all legal practices,
Australia-wide. It has been noted and praised by esteemed members of parliament and
the justice system including Supreme Court Justices and County Court Judges.
Additionally, I continue to receive positive feedback from our members – they feel their
mental health, family life and careers are improving since joining Criminal Law Mums
and they are enjoying the connections they are making through the group. I feel a huge
sense of achievement and joy knowing women in our profession are benefiting from the
- What was your biggest personal achievement?
Women ask me “how do you manage to do so much – juggle a full-time career,
parenting and a community group?”. My personal achievement is being able to do that
all and enjoy it. Sure it’s tiring and life is hectic, but I feel a great sense of purpose and
joy in doing all three and I hope I can inspire my children to listen to their own desires,
believe in themselves, and go for their goals.
- What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being an entrepreneur?
To always trust yourself. Trust your judgment, your abilities and your instincts. You will
discover that at the end of the day everyone prioritizes their own self. Some
unfortunately do it at others’ expense. Stay firm in your beliefs, goals and in you.
Strategise and think ahead. Be adaptable in your strategies when necessary. Take the
time to get to know genuine contacts. And don’t be dismayed by people coming and
going from your life. Each experience brings you one step closer to your own goals.
- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
I practice perseverance, resilience and re-routing. If certain sources of inspiration or
strategies are no longer helpful, I think about alternatives. I don’t give up. I just choose a
different perspective and path. I believe in meditation. It’s hard to keep it up when you’re
busy – so even just taking deep breaths from time to time helps. I’m also a very spiritual
person so I like to tune into any deeper guidance when needed. I find inspiration in
people who share the same values and goals as me and who have achieved what I
seek to achieve. In other words, I learn from successful, likeminded people.
- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why?
As a child I adored Madonna; for the fact that she pushed through/got on top of any
external criticism and challenges, created her own style and methods, was open-
minded, contemporary, strategized, thought ahead, was unique and bold, and in turn
inspired girls and boys, women and men all over the globe.
Recently I met Gretta van Riel of ‘Skinny me tea’ and ‘Hey Influencers’. She started off
‘Skinny me tea’ as a 22 year old with only $24 in the bank. She has gone on to create
multi-million dollar corporations through perseverance, strategic thinking, forecasting
and skillful marketing. I admire her entrepreneurialism, strength and intelligence.
- How do you advertise yourself as an entrepreneur?
I rely on social media and by hosting events – sharing who I am, my knowledge and
connections with others. I want people to get to know the real me. I always portray my
authentic self – everyone gets to know the highs and lows of my life.
- How did social media help you to promote your business?
Through visual material and written content I can promote my business and myself; my
audience cam see and read all about my business and myself. It also provides a great
forum for interaction with your audience and amongst your audience. It’s the new age
way of networking. It’s also an easily accessible and universal marketing platform
without all the costs.
- Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up on your goals. Continue to believe in yourself. When times get hard, just
take a breather and reassess whether the particular short-term strategy or goal you
currently have in mind will actually help you achieve your long-term goal. If you need to
try another method or consider another view – do it. You’re always being guided in the
right direction to achieve your ultimate long-term goal.
Thank You Lauren! Discover More at https://www.criminallawmums.com