Luke and Allison Sizemore don’t want to be “that couple” at Reed Smith. The husband-and-wife duo recently became partners at the firm, marking a major milestone in their career paths that essentially have run parallel since they were first-year law students.
The Sizemores met at Duquesne University School of Law, where they were in the same classes and study group, and between their second and third years of school they began dating. He’s been with Reed Smith since graduation in 2009, and she joined after a stint at Cohen & Grigsby.
It’s important for them to maintain individuality in the eyes of their co-workers, they said. And despite the occasional extra effort needed to distinguish themselves from each other at the firm, they see advantages in the personal and professional crossover.
“We can use each other as a sounding board,” said Luke Sizemore, noting that he and Allison Sizemore don’t have to worry about confidentiality issues since they work at the same firm. “We can bounce ideas off each other.”
The couple does not interact on a day-to-day basis, and outside of the Pittsburgh office, colleagues are often unaware that they are related, let alone married, said Luke Sizemore, whose practice focuses on restructuring and bankruptcy. Allison Sizemore’s practice is concentrated in employee benefits and compensation.
Although Allison Sizemore did not foresee leaving Cohen & Grigsby in 2012, she began to consider it when the opportunity to join Reed Smith arose.
“[Luke] liked it well enough to tie both of our careers here,” she said. “We ultimately decided that because Reed Smith is a big place, it wouldn’t be that awkward married-couple-working-together type thing.”
So just three weeks after they became husband and wife in June 2012, they became co-workers as well.
Early on, the Sizemores realized that they would be eligible for partner simultaneously. Reed Smith considers all associates for partner at the end of their seventh year,
They both thought they “had a good shot,” Allison Sizemore said.
Luke and Allison Sizemore’s paths at work cross only occasionally, because they’re in different practice groups.
“Our goal is to operate as independent professionals and not be ‘that couple’ at events,” Allison Sizemore said. “We always try to mingle independently and make sure we are respected in our own right.”
A colleague and neighbor of theirs, Jared Roach, recalled that the two would sit separately with colleagues from their practice groups at associate gatherings, rather than gravitating toward one another. Also in the corporate restructuring and bankruptcy group, Roach not only works with Luke Sizemore, but occasionally with Allison Sizemore on restructuring issues that touch on compensation and benefits.
“Everybody at the office of course knows that they’re married, but it was funny to see how they still led these very professional lives to strive for their goals,” Roach said.
One thing that most certainly brings them together is their 18-month-old son, Liam. He toddles through the building each day on the way to his nearby day care center. Raising Liam, running a household and tending to their practices as new partners have required some creative time management, they said.
“It’s a lot of things to prioritize,” Allison Sizemore said. “A lot of scheduling is required to make our careers work—and all of the things that go along with having a young son.”
But having a common workplace has helped, they said.
“I personally think it’s made our work lives easier,” Luke Sizemore said. “When one person has to work late or skip dinner at the last moment, the other person is a little more understanding because they get the rigors of the job and next week they might have to do the same thing.”
They don’t have family nearby, so when obligations of parenthood arise—like a sick day for Liam—one of them has to adjust the work day.
“The firm is about as accommodating and understanding of that as they could be,” Allison Sizemore said.
Roach said the Sizemores’ dynamic is “highly impressive” and requires “meticulous planning.”
So far, it’s working, they said. Both said they’re not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Luke Sizemore noted that while many young professionals hop from job to job every few years, he wants to stay put at Reed Smith.
“I would love to have Allison as a partner in business for our whole career,” he said.
Lizzy McLellan can be contacted at 215-557-2493 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LizzyMcLellTLI.