Attorney Letters of Recommendation

The following are some of the letters of recommendation Sheila Markin Nielsen has received.

Hi Sheila,

It's been a whirlwind last few months and I realized that I never reached out to let you know where I ended up and to thank you for all your help in guiding me along this new path.  At the end of the long journey of networking and making new connections I was fortunate enough to receive two offers in the wealth management space.  I ended up deciding to join Altair Advisers as a consultant/ RIA.  I chose the smaller more family friendly environment over the larger bank environment largely because of the work we did together to determine my needs and what would suit my life and career.  I have been at Altair for a month now and am loving the new job.  It is challenging, exciting and rewarding, as well as allowing me to still spend time with my kids and family.  I can't thank you enough for all of your support and guidance.  Please feel free to keep me in your network and connect me with anyone looking to get into the space or just struggling with the process.  Hope all is well.

Dana Cahan
Consultant/ RIA

I wanted to see Sheila because I was unhappy in my practice area but I was unsure of what steps to take next. With just a few sessions, we were able to find a career path which was more suited with my personality traits, values, and life goals. I would recommend Sheila to anyone seeking direction in his or her career.

Robert Dadourian
Consultant Attorney/Trainer for Seyfarth Shaw at Work

I have been in my government position for over two years now and have been so happy here. I love the work, love the work/life balance, and am a more confident lawyer and better father and husband. I can't thank you enough for your role in making this life-changing move happen. If there's anything I can do to promote your practice, or connect any of your clients, please don't ever hesitate to reach out.



I wanted to let you know that I will be starting at my new firm on Monday. It is exactly the job I wanted, working with the people I want to work with. And I got the job purely through networking (i.e., talking to someone who knew someone who knew they had a lot of work and could use the help). Gossip at its best! I just wanted to thank you for all of your help and for your confidence in me. I am beyond thrilled to be starting my practice here in Chicago!

Thank you again,


Sheila is truly the best investment you can make in your professional career. I felt unhappy in my job and stuck. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and what would make me happy professionally. Not only did she guide me to realizing what I truly wanted out of my career but she helped me get the job of my dreams on the west coast – where I wanted to be. Whether it is identifying a new career path or coaching for an interview, Sheila will work with you to tailor her assistance to meet your specific needs. I am forever grateful to Sheila as her services changed my life. Thank you, Sheila!

Brittany K. Lederman

Hi Sheila,

I wanted to give you an update! I received an offer from a big firm in Dallas and I recently accepted. This was the firm we prepared for. I am thrilled, excited, and ready for this new chapter in my life. Thank you for giving and teaching me the skills and confidence to take my career to the next level. I know how hard it is to move laterally as an attorney from a small firm to a big firm and we did it!!

I am moving to Dallas this weekend and unfortunately won’t be able to stop in before I go. I start rather soon and wanted to get settled before I begin.

I will surely recommend your services to other attorneys and professionals, thank you for the tools and for helping me find my way. I owe you lunch.

I can’t thank you enough.


Every person eventually comes to a crossroads in their career, where they must seriously consider what they truly desire from their life’s work. There is no better person to help navigate that crossroads than Sheila Nielsen. I met Sheila early in my career, while trying to decide whether to stay in the legal field. Sheila helped me think about and decide what was important to me in my work. The best part this process was that Sheila’s methods allowed me to come to the ultimate conclusions on my own. I would never have reached those conclusions without Sheila’s expert guidance. Thanks to Sheila, I found a position within the legal field that is both exciting and in line with my career goals. Anyone deciding whether the legal profession is the correct choice, or considering a change of scenery within the legal field, would greatly benefit from Sheila’s expertise. 

I consulted Sheila twice in my career. Both times, by asking focused questions and offering thoughtful comments, she helped me eliminate what would have been the wrong choice, and helped me plan steps to get to the right place. She has a deep knowledge of the legal profession and its unique dynamic. I recommend Sheila to my friends who are at crossroads in their legal careers.


Hi Sheila,

I just wanted to reach out and say hi. I've been in this position for a little over a year now and I am still really happy with it. It has been a great fit for me and I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your advice and help last year. My husband says that you were the best investment we made!

I hope you are doing well and thank you again for everything!

Warm Regards,


I am still very grateful for your help at that very difficult time! I hope I have driven some clients your way over the years; when people ask me how I made the switch, you are integral to my story.

Whenever I think I miss practicing law, I look back on those sessions and remember talking about all of the aspects of practice that were draining me; while my current position is by no means perfect, it is still a far better fit than “junior litigation associate.”

I hope all is well!



Hi Sheila,

Hope this finds you well! I just realized I did not write a review for you. For what it's worth, I have referred numerous people to you and have described you as an investment and a life changer - which are both true. I want you to know that I absolutely love my new job and am grateful every single day. Most importantly, it would have never happened if it wasn't for you. You changed my life for the better. You gave me the confidence to know that I could make a change and that life could be better. I just could not be happier. I had no idea that I could love my job!!! Just wanted to thank you and let you know that I thank my lucky stars all the time that I met you and invested in myself.

Thank you again and hope you are well!!


Hi Sheila,

It’s been quite a while since we last spoke, but I wanted to touch base with you to see how you have been. How are you? I sat down to lunch with my mother yesterday and I cannot believe how much has changed over the past two years. I remember just a couple of years ago I was looking to transition out of the public defender’s office and I was facing what can most aptly be described as an “uphill battle” transitioning into civil litigation doing the type of work I wanted to do.

I know I’ve said this countless times, but your advice and support (and book!) helped me put together a plan that ultimately helped me remain positive and constructively approach my job search. As you may recall, I was able to land a job with a firm in Chicago where I began to dip my toes into the pool of civil litigation.

Well, I spent two years there and I worked hard to establish myself as a hard working and dependable attorney. Over the course of the last six months I began working with the firm’s managing partner who had a book of general liability (no-toxic tort) matters that was much more consistent with the type of work I wanted to do. She resigned just a couple of weeks ago to move to another firm that I learned had a great reputation in the national and international legal community. As luck would have it, the partner who resigned asked me to come along with her which I viewed as a sign that she had a tremendous amount of faith in my work. Now I’ll be focusing on general liability and outside general counsel matters (all with a generous 20% salary increase).

It is crazy how much can change over the course of just two years. I wanted to thank you again because I was hopeless before I picked up your book. Little did I know reading it would set in motion a chain reaction that would lead to a number of positive changes bringing me to where I am right now.

Thanks again for all of your help and I hope you have a fantastic weekend.


January 10, 2016


Please accept my overdue thanks.

Your conversations, advice and encouragement back in the Fall of 2011 helped me get my career transition underway. The process took some time (as you said it would), and it was placed on the back burner on more than one occasion. Our sessions, however, made me evaluate what was important to me and also helped me get past my reservations about talking to others about my desire to do something else. Those discussions opened doors and led to some valuable experiences.

I left my partnership for a newly-created in house counsel position focusing entirely on intellectual property. IP was always something I enjoyed, but it was a small part of my practice. The focus on IP issues, combined with the in house lifestyle, has greatly reduced many of the things that I didn’t like in private practice. A year in, I can say I actually like my job and look forward to going to work each day. It has also opened up a new sphere of networking and other opportunities which I otherwise would not have had.

In short, thanks for helping me get in gear. Your work is much appreciated.


I accepted the offer last night! I can't believe it! The job sounds great - all the things that we identified that I enjoy about my job now (managing litigation, getting results, being an attorney) without the things I hate (actually litigating a case, no billables/no billing time!!!). Plus I am making 50% more than when I first met with you! You were the best investment I have ever made in my career. Thank you again!


Dear Sheila,

I hope that this email finds you well.

As you know things were particularly bad at work but they have changed quite a bit since my last appointment. I think you knew, but my closest ally Doug at the firm left and things were looking very bad for the remaining two of us. That was two weeks ago.

I was offered a position as an associate attorney at the firm with the woman that I met while networking and I told you about having several meetings. I have decided to accept the position and am really excited about this new beginning.

This all happened last week and very quickly. I want to thank you for what you have done for me. I was having dinner with Tracy last night and thanking her so much for referring you to me, and following up with me to make sure I did it. I told her our sessions were so validating and helped me get some clarity in the absolute cloud of misery and a plan for what I want. I really feel doing the exercises evaluating my current working environment gave me the momentum I needed to go out there - not just sit back and send resumes out to get out of my bad situation. I told Tracy it was career therapy and I cried so much! I found it to be exactly what I needed and I almost can't believe it happened but it is true.

More than anything you helped me do something, networking, which I am continuing to do and having my ups and downs, but still that I never thought I could do. I really cannot believe that now I am one of those people that they say got a job by going out and networking and talking to people and not from a job post. Like I said, I can't believe it!

With that being said I consider myself an extremely satisfied client. I have already, and will continue to recommend you and/or your book to anyone I meet who I think could benefit! Thank you again for everything.


Lawyers in Chicago can find no better career counselor than Sheila Nielsen. She is gifted with an ability to quickly understand you at a core level and guide you toward aligning self and work in ways that are more harmonious, rewarding, and sustaining.

I first saw Sheila at a difficult career juncture - my law partner left on short notice, leading to laying off attorneys and staff and dissolving our firm. My question: What next? Join a firm? Go in-house? Something else?

With empathy, insight, and amazing accuracy, Sheila guided me through a process that led to a decision on a direction that felt deeply right for me.

That was 15 years ago. Since then, I have served 12 years as managing partner of a successful, three office, highly-niched, boutique law firm, the firm I founded based on Sheila's process. I recently transitioned to firm to my partners, and have moved on to new endeavors. I consulted with Sheila on multiple occasions during that transition.

For me, Sheila became a trusted advisor delivering high value. She is #1 on my referral list for lawyers seeking career advice.

Chris Cinnamon
Former Managing Partner
Cinnamon Mueller

After switching litigation firms and being laid off shortly thereafter, I was feeling adrift, lost, and uncertain about my career choices. In our first session, Sheila dispelled my concerns about my future in litigation, at least in part, and provided a clear strategy for identifying a fulfilling career and plan for finding it. What Sheila helped me accomplish in one hour-long discussion, I could have only hoped to accomplish in days or weeks deliberating on my own. I sincerely recommend Sheila's services.

A fourth-year commercial litigation attorney


Thank you for your guidance in helping me make a much-needed career move. I left my old job and started a solo practice in elder law. The practice is going well, and I couldn't be happier! I've met several experienced, friendly elder law attorneys, and I'm starting to develop a solid professional referral network for my practice. It's really nice to have my own shop and be in control.

I can't thank you enough for your guidance through this career change. I doubt I would have done this without your confident assistance. Starting my own law practice is one of the best decisions I've ever made. I will definitely recommend you to anyone who is ready for a career change, but is unsure how to start.

Best Regards,


Hi Sheila,

I wanted to thank you for all your help with helping me find a new career path. I am happy to report that I have been hired at H--- Consulting, a strategic communications and public relations firm in Chicago. I am so pleased with my decision and so grateful that you helped me to figure out the right direction for my career.

Thanks so much again,


Hi Sheila,

I‘ve been meaning to link up with you!

You worked with me a few years back (maybe 2 or so). When we chatted, you suggested that I think about a role in Professional Development and suggested I chat with Charlotte Wager, which I did. Just wanted to tell you that my firm offered me a PD role for tax kind of out of the blue a few months back. I started in that role in March and I am loving it!

Just wanted to say “thanks“ because if we had not met, I probably would not have been interested in the job, which would have been a mistake. Happy, also to serve as a reference for other potential clients.

All the best,


About eighteen months ago I began exploring the possibility of transitioning from my position as an Assistant Public Defender to work as an Associate for a private firm in the civil litigation area. I had met and spoke with a recruiter but soon learned that because my experience was exclusively in the area of criminal law, my goal would be a difficult one to meet. The recruiter recommended I read the book “Job Quest for Lawyers“ by Sheila Nielsen. I ordered it immediately and read it in a matter of days. The book was absolutely full of novel and practical advice on professional networking. Considering that I knew my transition was going to be a particularly difficult one, I reached out to Sheila directly.

Prior to speaking with Sheila, I sent out countless resumes in response to job postings without getting a single interview offer. During our initial conversation, Sheila provided me with a road map of what I needed to do to in order to achieve my professional goals. I turned to my existing personal and professional networks to set up informational interviews, which lead to job interviews, which lead to my being offered a job practicing law at a law firm that identified value in the experience I gained working in the public sector.

Throughout my job search, I came across a number of moments where my limited networking experience left me wondering specifically how to proceed. Sheila took the guesswork out of the process by providing me with the information I needed to make the most efficient and effective use of my time. I was particularly appreciative of the fact that Sheila was available to advise me every time I needed her assistance and really seemed to go out of her way to make herself available.

When my “job quest“ began, I was quite simply clueless. Thanks to Sheila, I felt that I had the upper hand regardless of the nature of the challenge ahead of me. I would, without hesitation, recommend Sheila to anyone seeking to make any type of professional transition. She has provided me with the tools that lead directly to my finding my current position. She has also provided me with advice that I will continue to employ throughout the rest of my career.


After researching several different legal career coaches, I met with Sheila Nielsen regarding my interest in relocating from Chicago to New York City. In order to make the move, I needed to find a sufficiently well-paying attorney position in the Big Apple.

I believe Sheila developed excellent insight into not only what legal positions I was suited for but, more importantly, what type of legal position I would be happiest with. After a thorough consideration of my experience, abilities, desires as well as the practical limitations of trying to secure a position in a new city in my 40s without portable business, we developed a detailed strategy for my pursuit of a legal position in New York City.

I am pleased to report that I am now living and practicing law in the Big Apple in a rewarding position I was offered in large part as a result of employing the very tactics Sheila and I discussed at length during our conferences. I highly recommend Sheila‘s excellent approach to the challenging endeavor of searching for a rewarding legal position.


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