Office Doors: A Day with Tricia Schafer

Founding attorney at Vitality Law PLLC

Morning tends to be my highest level of creative productivity. I walk around the house, open the curtains and have my coffee. I have notepads in my bedroom, kitchen and on my desk and often have creative ideas about whatever is coming up for the day. I refer to notes I’ve left the night before about what I’d like to accomplish that day. I also reach out to two or three friends via email or phone calls. Many people were isolated during the pandemic, and I feel I have some strengths I can share. One of the joys of living and working in this community for 23 years is the number of people who have touched my life. It’s been rewarding to have the emotional and time bandwidth to engage with different people.

I work out in some fashion, and this is driven by seasons. If it’s winter and still dark, I’ll hop on the rowing machine or the stationary bike until it gets light enough for me to run outside. If it’s summer, I shift the run to first thing in the morning and then do indoor training during the heat of the day.

I practice business litigation law in many formats — large and small firm, government, in-house counsel, etc. The best way for me to balance everything I do is to intersect exercise and wellness principles throughout my day. My law practice harmonizes principles of exercise, wellness, nutrition, endurance, academics and the rigors of the practice of law. It is the reason for Vitality Law’s name and the branding of how I live my life. It is the most authentic and genuine way I know how to practice law.

I have a pattern of breaking up my day by exercising, work, exercising, work. It fuels my creativity and effectiveness with both my oral and written communication. I draft or read something, let it percolate while I go for a run, walk or swim, and come back to it. This is the way I optimally create content and work product.

Midday is ideally the time for yoga. I call it my lunch break and let phone calls slide and don’t check my email during this time. Now that public health restrictions have been easing, I also enjoy lunches with business contacts. It’s been a much-needed reward after the past two years. I learn so much from others and always feel enriched and empowered by my time spent out and about socially.

Someone asked me during the pandemic if I had ever thought of becoming an arbitrator and mediator. This was interesting because these were the disciplines that drove why I went to law school in the first place. I somehow had lost sight of that goal. Often, when people think of lawyers, they think of going to court. Private dispute resolution forums are a way to resolve disputes outside the public judicial process.

After some training, I became an arbitrator and certified mediator. As a mediator, I try to resolve disputes without parties having to go to full-blown litigation. I focus on listening, reacting and communicating positions from one side to another.

I’ve not only applied these principles professionally by launching an alternative dispute resolution arm, but also use them in my community. When I moved to my Scottsdale neighborhood, I instantly fell in love with it and knew it would be my forever home. It created a responsibility for me to be the best neighbor and create the best community, because your home is part of something bigger.

The purpose and passion behind mediation are community solutions and peace. It harmonizes nicely with the neighborhood work I do literally in my own backyard. I use my mediation skills when someone has a dog or car issue or needs help, as we did during the 2021 summer floods. You can only control so much of whatever is going on in the world and society. If you have the skill, talent, interest and dedication to make the investment of time in your community, I believe that’s all each of us can do.

I maintain a dual career as a lawyer and personal fitness trainer. It allows me to relate to people on a different level. I’m afraid I would have been a mono-dimensional person had I just remained a lawyer. I celebrate people with dual careers because it shows you don’t have to be boxed in and can be lots of different things.

People know that when I need to get in the trenches and try a case, I prepare as a runner would prepare for a marathon. I start watching my nutrition and hydration and take optimal care of my health. When you get me, you get the whole me, including all of the preparation and wellness. It’s a life I am incredibly proud of and something I genuinely value being able to share and discuss with people.

I serve on the City of Scottsdale Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, which reviews applications for individuals who wish to serve as judicial officers in the city. This is an important role because it is the first level citizens are most likely to experience with issues such as parking tickets, neighbor disputes and orders of protection. For some, this may be their first and only experience with the court system, and many of them appear without lawyers. I believe it’s important to serve on commissions and committees when you get the opportunity, as the experience takes the mystery out of how public institutions work.

My evening consists of an activity that’s weather-driven. It may be a swim, hike or neighborhood walk. I get my second wind at about 8:30 p.m. because my brain benefits from the endorphin kick of exercise. I start the next day’s project, so I’m not looking at a blank screen or blank piece of paper the next morning.

The end of my day is almost the best part. I listen to wellness-based inspirational podcasts and pump positivity into my brain until my head hits the pillow and I sleep like a baby. I also spend time doing final stretches for the night because I want to be able to run until I’m 80 and that requires a constant process of body maintenance.

To learn more, go to

About Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media. She is Principal of Julie Coleman Consulting, providing strategic philanthropy consulting services for individuals, families, businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations.

From Frontdoors Magazine

Back to Top