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Article posted: 2/22/2013 12:53 PM

Wheaton attorney provides array of family services

By Kim Mikus

An interview with Erin Birt, attorney, mediator and founder The Law Firm of Erin Birt & The Birt Group.

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A: The Law Firm of Erin Birt & The Birt Group offers a variety of family law and court approved services such as divorce options, court approved divorce-related mediation and court approved DUI risk education, DUI classes, and DUI/substance abuse group treatment. The goal for both the law firm & The Birt Group is to provide a variety of legal and court approved services that minimize conflict, frustration, and costs in order to help the client make positive changes in their life.

Q: What made you start your business?

A: Litigation is not the only divorce option. After years of litigation experience, I created my law firm to offer my clients a variety of affordable dispute resolution options such as mediation, collaborative divorce, a la carte divorce, legal consulting, and litigation when needed. Over the years, I have found that my clients usually save significant time, money, and emotional energy when they resolve their differences out of court, and in a non-adversarial manner.

The Birt Group was created after I observed a need for services that motivate DUI offenders to actively participate in their DUI classes or treatment. Thus I created a unique interactive DUI program where clients benefit from behavioral & art therapy techniques as well as my knowledge of the criminal justice system. By offering a variety of group activities, we are able to affect and engage even more clients.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?

A: Resources. Small business owners have to be creative and comfortable with plan B.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?

A: I enjoy working directly with people and helping them achieve their personal goals. It can be difficult for people to walk through my office door and confront a painful issue such as a custody dispute, a divorce, a DUI, or a substance abuse problem. Our clients, however, have responded that once they initiate services they felt comfortable, supported, and received the tools to build a better future for themselves and their loved ones. Helping people through life transitions is what I enjoy most about my businesses.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: When I was young, I talked a lot and I asked a lot of questions. I did not know that my life's path would lead me to become both a family law attorney and substance abuse counselor. I, however, have been blessed with opportunities to develop my childhood qualities into skills and a vocation that I enjoy and can use to help others.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: My "to do" list, ideas for new services, and my two-year old son.

Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?

A: Write a business plan and update it quarterly or semiannually. When you write things down, you are more likely to follow through and achieve your goals.

Every Monday we feature a small suburban business. We want to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at kmikus@dailyherld.com.

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