College of Law

Ariel Berger '19

Finding Satisfaction Through Supporting Struggling Families

Nov. 1, 2021

Ariel Berger

Just one year out of law school, Ariel Berger '19 changed course and started her own solo practice in Adrian, Mich. After a short time, Ariel's law firm has two locations in Ohio and Michigan that allow her to expand the number of clients and families she can help.

Ariel grew up in Putnam County, Ohio, and decided to become a lawyer when she saw first-hand the challenges families face in family law matters. Her adopted brother has special needs, and her parents found it difficult to get support. After loving the experience she had at UToledo for undergrad, she chose Toledo again when it was time to select a law school.

Since graduating and going out on her own, Ariel admits the most challenging aspect of starting a solo practice has been facing the unknown. "It's terrifying knowing you don't have a set income or set hours." However, Ariel says that opening her own office has been a significant turning point in her life because she never anticipated having the confidence to do something like this. What has been the biggest challenge so far? She says it is remembering that what she does for her clients is sometimes the most important thing in their lives.

Ariel earned her B.A. in English and J.D. from The University of Toledo.

Q&A with Ariel Berger

Do you have a favorite memory from attending Toledo Law?
Generally, the friendships that I made. I am engaged to a fellow Toledo Law grad, and I will always have Toledo Law to thank for my legal education and for introducing me to my future husband.

How did Toledo Law prepare you for your career?
Toledo Law gave me a solid legal foundation that enabled me to pass two bar exams and to get in touch with great mentors and experts here in Toledo.

What was your first position AFTER law school?
I was at a small firm in Michigan as an associate. I was there for two years in law school and about five months into being an attorney.

How and when did you elect to focus on starting your own practice?
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I was faced with the decision to start practicing on my own. I was practicing in Michigan, and after about five months of being an attorney, I decided to take the Ohio bar. I now have offices in Ohio and Michigan. My family also encouraged me to start my own practice.

What have you found most satisfying about your work?
Being able to help families through tough aspects in their legal lives and often in their personal lives. I get to work so closely with parents, and on Guardian Ad Litem cases, I also work with children, that sometimes need more than a blunt legal opinion.

Do you have any suggestions for current law students or new lawyers interested in pursuing this practice area or career path?
Find a database or server setup that fits your style; keep organized; keep track of everything you do on a case, even if you aren't billing for it; and always call clients back. It also is a good idea to do court-appointed work. You can learn a lot and have access to a lot of training and other attorneys in those areas of law.

What are your thoughts on leadership in the legal profession?
I think that senior attorneys are very willing to give advice and share their "secrets." I've been very lucky to have such great mentors along the way, but I don't know that all young attorneys have access to mentors. My hope is that our legal community continues to grow in this manner and that young attorneys find good mentors.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love "crafting," doing DIY projects, and being outdoors. I've taken up golf, rec league softball and basketball, and very recently, bowling. I also love to garden and have a ton of plants.

What are you passionate about?
My family, my pets, and plants.

Last Updated: 6/27/22