"I wanted the career and the family but I had no idea how to make it work"

When I was a young finance lawyer in the City of London I was ambitious and focused on my career. I knew I wanted kids someday, but I didn’t give it too much thought – first, because I thought that date lay far in the future; second, because when I thought about how competitive and demanding my career was, and how few role models there were, I had no idea how it would work.

Then one crisp autumnal morning in November 2002, just 6 weeks into the start of my exciting new job at a top tier US firm, I woke up to discover I was pregnant. It completely shook my world.

I returned to work after 6 month’s maternity leave committed and determined to make career and family work. But all around me the message was “you can’t have it all” and there were no role models to demonstrate otherwise.

“By taking ownership and getting out of my own way, I could overcome any challenge and achieve more than I ever imagined"
Caroline Flanagan

Within months of being back at work and trying to compete with all the lawyers around me who either didn’t have children or had a partner who stayed home, I started to believe having it all was a pipedream. Only later, after my second son was born and I left my law career behind, did I realise my mistake: I’d been powerful all along. I was more capable than I thought. I had so much more control than I realised.

When I discovered this, everything changed. I learned that by taking ownership and getting out of my own way, I could overcome any challenge work and life threw at me and achieve more than I ever dreamed. That’s what having it all means to me, and I founded Babyproof Your Life to help you achieve the same.

Family Photos
I’m a full-time working parent and mother of 4 fantastic boys and I’ve discovered the secret to having it all. I draw on...

  • over 8 years experience as a lawyer at both a magic circle firm and a top tier US law firm including 3 as a working parent.
  • over 10 years experience as a work life
    balance Coach, and the real life experience of being a full time working mother of 4 boys.


Caroline Flanagan is an ex-City of London lawyer turned coach, international keynote speaker and author. Caroline works with law firms, banks and other global organisations to increase diversity at leadership level, and with individuals to help them fulfil their highest personal and professional potential. Since qualifying as a Coach in 2006, Caroline has coached men and women from all over the world through a range of career and life challenges.

Caroline read History at Cambridge University and later worked for over eight years as an international finance lawyer at two of the world’s largest global law firms, Allen & Overy, LLP and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP.

Caroline is a working mother of four young boys, rising to the challenge of working parenthood every day, and is a passionate advocate of having and enjoying it all.

Work With Caroline
Caroline Flanagan hands on hips