Meet Peggy Nicholson - Women In Charge
Peggy Nicholson, Attorney Berger, Nicholson, LLP
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, France. My parents are from Martinique, a beautiful French island in the West Indies. After graduating from law school I left France and fell in love with California (along with my future husband!).
In 2009, I started my own practice with Ingrid Berger, a good friend I met while finishing law school in San Francisco. Ingrid and I share a similar background: two French women with roots in the West Indies, both hoping to balance a challenging career with a family life.
Our firm, Berger, Nicholson, LLP, specializes in estate planning and probate. Our main offices are in San Francisco and Pleasanton, with satellite offices in Walnut Creek and San Mateo. Having my own practice allows me a lot of flexibility, and my husband and I are happy raising our three children.
Is there a woman who inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mother is my shining star. She was a hard-working accountant who taught me not to take no for an answer, and to choose a path that makes me happy and fulfilled. Even though it broke her heart to see her only child move so far away, she always encouraged me to make my own choices, and she supported my decisions. My mom passed away way too soon at age 55, but she continues to inspire me every day.
What is your biggest challenge in balancing a career and family?
The challenge is to reach that balance. My family is my number one priority, and within that unit I need to balance time to have fun with my children and special time with my husband. But my career is also a key in order to take care of my family and be personally fulfilled.
Were there challenges you had to overcome after moving to the U.S.?
Coming from a different country, with a different culture and language, I had my work cut out for me. But I enjoyed the challenges -- learning a new language, learning to love a new culture, and learning about myself.
What obstacles did you have to overcome as a female attorney?
Although there are many strong female attorneys today, it is still a profession where men dominate in number, and women have to prove themselves. As a black female attorney, I also had to overcome some bias and demonstrate my abilities, especially starting out as a young attorney. With age and experience, I acquired a loyal client base that allows me to decide who I want to represent, and I developed a confidence that relieves me from the pressuring need to prove myself. I welcome the look of surprise on a new client’s face when we meet for the first time -- always with a stride in my step and a smile on my face!
What advice would you give other women to help them reach their goals?
Do not settle for less than what you deserve. We can have it all (or almost!) if we so desire. Choose the path that will put a smile on your face waking up on a Monday morning!