Closing Doors, Opening Possibilities

Lessons in Legal Entrepreneurship

By Rachel Schromen and Melissa Miroslavich

We’ve all heard the old saying that when one door closes, another opens. But does that cliché hold up in the real world? Can we really count on a better opportunity popping up when things don’t go our way? For the attorneys at Schromen Law, LLC, that answer was a resounding yes as they both discovered that the universe truly is a master of surprise twists and turns.

For owner and managing attorney Rachel Schromen, the opportunity to pursue her dream career path started with a major rejection:

I grew up in a family of business owners, and with a similar entrepreneurial spirit, I always dreamed of owning my own business. In law school, I developed a passion for estate planning and elder law and serving clients in end-of-life planning. However, I did not leave law school with the confidence to pursue my dream and found myself in a recovering employment market for attorneys.

My initial experiences practicing law proved to be disappointing, including working at a high-pressure firm with a toxic working environment. This led to my decision to leave the practice of law altogether, and I accepted a position with a company that fell outside my training, my education, and, most importantly, my passion. In this role, I struggled to stay motivated and fulfill my job duties, which required me to work against my legal training.

Fortunately, I had a compassionate employer. When it became clear the position was not a good mutual fit, I was terminated. However, during that discussion, my employer shared with me times in his life and career that it seemed like a door had closed, when really, he was being led in the direction he was meant to go down. He reminded me that when a flower isn’t blooming, you fix the environment it is planted in — not the flower. 

With my past employer’s supportive kindness, and the help of several mentors and colleagues, I took the leap and started my own practice in estate planning and elder law. Now, 8 years later, my team has grown to 6 women, and I have built a practice that has been professionally and personally fulfilling. I serve clients in a holistic and compassionate way and work to build a supportive and fulfilling working environment for my employees. 

In the instance when I was terminated, the door was seemingly shut, but with that closure, I was able to walk into something much better. Or, perhaps it is more apropos to say I was finally pushed in the direction of where I ultimately needed to be.

For attorney Melissa Miroslavich, the door wasn’t shut for her. Instead, she chose to close the door on her role as a family law attorney and step into a new position as an estate planning attorney. And that all happened after she left behind a successful boutique photography business with a career pivot to the legal world.

Here’s what Melissa has to say:

How can I close the door on a position that I thoughtfully and earnestly pursued and on paper looked exactly right? At a time when I am in a position with supportive colleagues, things are going well, and I know I am good at the work I am doing?

The answer? Not easily.

This was the question I asked myself after doing all the due diligence one might expect of a list-making, type-A overachiever who left a career she loved to go to law school because she wanted to help others and grow more professionally. 

I spent most of my law school career figuring out exactly the right fit to launch my legal career. I participated in international moot court, completed clerkships and externships, and conducted dozens (and dozens) of informational interviews across a wide range of legal practice areas. The culmination of my research pointed to a legal career in family law because it checked ‘all the boxes.’ However, I ended up feeling incredibly stressed and worried, unable to separate myself from my clients' circumstances. This led to a dreaded thought: I had made a huge mistake going to law school. 

This was a painful thought after dedicating time and energy into a major career shift that placed strain on my own family. I knew that my reaction to my chosen practice area would be the same in three or even five more years because my ‘right fit list’ was missing a key element. The list needed a caveat I had not fully realized until I was in practice — as much as I enjoy resolving problems and working with families, I prefer prevention to reaction. 

I found family law to invariably include mostly reactive problem solving. Divorce, custody issues, division of assets were all a reaction to something that did not go as planned. When I made this connection, I realized I did want to be an attorney, and I needed to refocus my practice.

During this time of self-revelation, I reconnected with Rachel. Yes, I previously met with her during one of my many informational interviews conducted during law school! I immediately recognized we shared common business interests, a holistic client service approach, entrepreneurial spirits, and a desire to show up authentically in our profession.

Then the door to a beautiful Victorian opened, containing a legal practice that checked that final box for me, and I chose to walk through it. Now I get to help clients proactively protect their families. Going through that open door has made all the difference.

Ultimately, the experiences of Rachel and Melissa at Schromen Law, LLC emphasize the truth that unforeseen pathways often wait behind closed doors, ready for those willing to embrace the change by taking those next steps.


Melissa Miroslavich works with clients to understand their individual goals to create effective, strategic, and adaptable estate plans and collaborates with clients to provide education and advice to help ensure care and asset protection. She believes estate planning is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones. As such, she also assists pet owners in planning for their pet’s care in the event the pet owner is no longer is able. Melissa is also a qualified neutral under Rule 114 by the Minnesota Supreme Court and was the first attorney in Minnesota to complete Pet Custody Training. 



Rachel Schromen is an estate planning and elder law attorney and owner of Schromen Law, LLC.  Since starting to practice law in 2013, Rachel has been named one of the Top 3 Best Rated Estate Law firms in St. Paul (2018 – 2022) and was voted Best Estate Law Firm in Minnesota by readers of the Star Tribune in 2021 and 2022.  Apart from her law practice, Rachel is a hospice volunteer as an end-of-life doula.