Madison-area estate planning attorney Marilyn Crowley is proving that it’s never too late to learn new things and develop new skills.
After graduating from college with a math degree, Crowley worked primarily as a stay-at-home-mom raising her three children.
“I never in a million years thought I was going to be a lawyer — it was beyond my wildest dreams,” she said.
When she picked up a part-time paralegal job at a firm in Lodi, her life was forever changed by a chance remark from an attorney asking if she had ever considered becoming a lawyer.
“That’s why I went back to law school at the age of 40, and because of that remark, at the age of 50, I started my own law firm,” she said.
She obtained her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1986 and went on to become a founding partner of her firm, Crowley & Associates, with two other female attorneys, including Susan De Groot.
“Starting her own law firm was not a daunting experience for her, and she embarked on the venture with her typical enthusiasm,” said De Groot, who reunited with Crowley at Neider & Boucher.
Crowley joined Neider & Boucher in 2010 mainly because she wanted to reduce her hours but, at the same time, did not want to leave her clients “out to dry.”
“I’m working less and less, but what was so important to me was that my clients were really well taken care of,” she said. “You really can make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why I’m 74 and still practicing law: because I like being able to help people.”
And while her peers may attribute her success to her enthusiasm, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit, Crowley credits the inspiration and encouragement she received from others along the way. With an understanding that the smallest of gestures can change a life, she aims to provide guidance to as many people as she can.
She does this through everything from teaching her colleagues how to listen to and care for clients to meeting with recent graduates to talk over coffee about the legal field.
“Marilyn L. Crowley is an attorney that personifies what every lawyer, female or male, should aspire to be,” De Groot said in a statement. “She is an expert in her field of practice and she shares her love of the law with enthusiasm and integrity, both with her fellow colleagues and with her clients.”