Professional women power: Personal development on a part-time basis ? Not an undoing, but an attitude!


published on 5 July 2022

In the context of our career blog “professional women power”, female colleagues introduce themselves,
talk about their career paths and day to day work at Rödl & Partner.

In this way, we would like to raise awareness of women as well as motivate female applicants and colleagues
to bravely pursue their individual career paths at Rödl & Partner.

“Personal development on a part-time basis ? Not an undoing, but an attitude!”


Ester Thanner (36 years old) has been working for Rödl & Partner in Nuremberg since 2015 as a lawyer and specialist in tenancy and residential property law (since 2019) as well as a mediator. She has a three-year-old son and works part-time 20 hours per week.


Ester, what are the main topics and activities that characterize your day-to-day work?

My activities are divided into two main areas.

On the one hand, as a specialist in tenancy and residential property law, I deal with a wide range of issues re­lating to real estate. The spectrum of my activities is broad and varied, ranging from the drafting and review of tenancy agreements to the representation of clients in court.

On the other hand, professional conflict management is the second focus of my work. This means that clients involve me as early as possible – even earlier than is usual in legal practice – in (probably) tense situations. To­gether, we then try to defuse conflicts as early as possible in their development or to find a constructive and sustainable solution with the other involved person(s). On the way to conflict resolution, I also draw on the “method case” of mediation, among other things.

Currently, I am concerned with the question of how conflicting interests in the implementation of climate goals and climate protection can be brought into a sustainable balance. From my point of view, the implementation of mediation in climate-related disputes is more than suitable as a communication and procedural framework.


Which possibilities for development does Rödl & Partner offer you?

After my return from parental leave in 2020, it was quite clear that I would also handle mandates independently on a part-time basis. Rödl & Partner, and in particular my managers, support me in my professional and personal development. On the one hand, I always have the opportunity to continue my professional development. On the other hand, innovative and creative ideas are always welcome. This gives me the opportunity and the framework to think further about topics, for example mediation in climate issues, to deepen them and, at best, to integrate them into the existing portfolio of consulting services.


What are your personal challenges in the process?

Pretty quickly, I had to realize that a 20-hour, three-day work week is significantly compressed. In addition, it is also a bit of a challenge to always fit client meetings and appointments into my three working days. However, the experience of the last two years shows me that most of these “little problems” can be solved.

For example, clients have realized relatively quickly that I am only available on three days, but then largely with­out restrictions; in urgent or special cases, however, a different appointment can be arranged. I try to com­muni­cate openly that planned dates can be scheduled within my working hours.

In the case of court appointments, this has proven to be very cumbersome or even impossible. For these times,
I swap working days or at least working hours if necessary – in consultation with my manager.

Of course, there are work phases in which I am more intensively involved than usual. Here I act flexibly and deal with it proactively. However, I compensate for these “extra” times directly in other weeks with free time, so that my two “jobs” (as a mom and a lawyer) keep the balance on the bottom line. Without a doubt, a good care en­vironment for my son is necessary for this. Especially his grandpa provides valuable support and enables maximum flexibility.

In addition to a certain flexibility, a mental focus on the here and now is also important to me for a healthy ba­lance between work and family. So I try to stay as focused as possible during my working hours. At other times, the central focus is exclusively on my family. Unless there are urgent matters to attend to, I deliberately refrain from checking e-mails “briefly” or making “short” phone calls. With all this flexibility, I try to live the Zen mas­ter's motto: “When I go, I go. When I eat, I eat. When I sleep, I sleep.”

The better I manage to focus mentally, the more productive work results and the better I manage to balance family and work.

Thank you very much, dear Ester, for your insights into day-to-day life. At Rödl & Partner, all employees can combine career and family in the best possible way. You set a motivating example. 
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