| Telegram & Gazette
WORCESTER — A pair of lawyers who opened the doors of a new downtown city law office in January said they’re most proud of being a women-owned firm.
Elizabeth Halloran and Maura Tansley opened Tansley Halloran at 11 Pleasant St. on Jan. 4. The practice offers criminal defense along with family and probate representation.
Halloran and Tansley had been crossing paths for several years and most recently worked for the same firm before deciding to venture out together.
“Maura and I both were sworn in to the bar the same week and she started at CPCS (the Committee for Public Counsel Services) the same day I started at the DA’s office,” Halloran recalled.
The two would soon square off in the courtroom.
“We had a trial, one of our very first trials actually, was in East Brookfield (at Western Worcester District Court) against each other,” Halloran said.
“It was a not guilty,” Tansley, who worked for the defendant, chimed in.
Eventually, both left their first jobs and a few years later, Halloran found herself calling on Tansley for some advice on a case she was defending.
“I had a Superior Court rape case in Franklin County and I reached out to Maura for some help on that,” Halloran said.
The two got to talking and Halloran liked what she saw at the firm where Tansley was working. Tansley made some connections and the pair ended up working together there for about two years.
Late last year, the women began talking about working together as business partners.
“We just decided it was a good time. Going through COVID and being able to weather that storm financially and professionally gave us a little bit of the confidence that we needed to spread our wings and fly on our own,” Halloran said.
Professionally and personally right time, Tansley agreed.
“I think we hit a point where we had enough experience legally and in the courtroom and handling clients; and then we also saw how it works as a business so that we were ready to do it ourselves,” Tansley.
Many of their clients followed them to the new firm and they’ve been finding clients through referrals and word of mouth. As women, the pair said they are zealous advocates for their clients without being combative.
“(We have) reputations as people who are strong and assertive and good advocates for our clients and we’re doing that with compassion,” Halloran said, noting that probate court can be particularly adversarial.
“We’re proud of the fact that we’re a women-owned firm and we wanted to open that up in Worcester. We wanted to add to the community, especially as women,” Tansley said.
Tansley was recently placed on the “murder list” and is eligible to serve as a court-appointed lawyer to defend clients charged with that crime in Superior Court.
“To be a woman on that (list) and under 40 … there’s not many,” Tansley said, as Halloran noted her pride in her partner’s accomplishment.
Halloran grew up in Worcester and Tansley, a Connecticut native who planned to leave after a few years in practice, has fallen in love with Worcester. Both women said they want to be part of the downtown renaissance they’ve been watching in the city.
“We’ve been practicing about ten years and we’ve both seen this sort of revival with the small business community,” Halloran said. “It’s a group of younger, entrepreneurial, small business owners and they are so supportive and encouraging of one another’s success. We really want to be a part of that.”
The women have put in long hours building the practice and said they hope down the road they’ll add other women to their staff. They’re mindful of the pandemic and the potential ramifications it could have on a new business.
Though in one area, things picked up as a result of the virus.
“Liz’s area of probate and family exploded during the pandemic,” Tansley said. “People were eager to legally not be near each other again.”
Along with the similarities in their legal careers, the women said their dogs have some similarities, too. Carl, Halloran’s pooch, and Lily, Tansley’s pup, are best friends and came from rescues in Arkansas and Mississippi, respectively.
The dogs and their owners often walk together while cases and other business matters are discussed.