Jill Coil is a lawyer who founded the family law firm, CoilLaw, along with one of Utah’s FIRST female-led personal injury firms, Moxie Law Group. Jill has also started a tech company called Simple Ending, which will bring quality divorce documents to clients. Jill has spent so many years building her clients up during some of the most difficult times of their lives. Though Jill found that supporting her clients is immensely fulfilling, she wants to do more.
In order to help more people, Jill wrote her first book called No One Dies from Divorce. This book was written to help those struggling with navigating one of the most traumatic situations an adult can go through. Although this book has undoubtedly helped many people, Jill’s main goal has always been to inspire and empower other women.
Right now, Jill is working on another book to help women find the courage to create opportunities for themselves. Recently, Jill founded The Coil Foundation in order to help more people find the courage to pursue their dreams. Jill Coil has been on Good Morning Utah, and in Attorney at Law Magazine. Jill also understands the power of motivational speaking; she’s spoken at events such as Provo Women’s Day in 2021, and she continues to look for speaking opportunities that would empower more women.
What inspired you to start working for yourself?
I was working for a large, male-dominated firm and was pregnant with my third child. My husband was finishing medical school. It was a stressful time and a seemingly crazy time to go out on my own. But I realized I was more valuable and working harder than a lot of my counterparts. My female supervisor felt the need to compete with me instead of supporting me. And I realized that I was currently building my business within someone else’s business. Why not start my own family law firm, where I could hire and support other attorneys, give my clients the time and energy I wanted to, work my own schedule, and reap the all the rewards of my own hard work? My husband was nothing but supportive and helped instill the courage in me to do it, and I started CoilLaw in December 2014.
What can you share about your book ‘No One Dies From Divorce’? Who’s it for?
I wrote this book because I find that I tell a lot of my clients the same information and I wanted to be able to share that knowledge with an even wider audience than just the one person in my office. I wrote it for anyone who is contemplating divorce, in the middle of divorce, or has gone through a divorce. It’s for you whether you wanted the divorce or were forced into it; it’s for you if your spouse has a personality disorder or is amicable. It’s for you if you want to hire an attorney or do it yourself. It’s for you—whether you have kids, a long marriage, assets, or not.
I want people to know that, as grim as things look right now, you will survive through the divorce and even thrive because of it if you have the right mindset and are willing to do the work on yourself. Going through a divorce breaks you down. But it doesn’t mean you are a failure. You can use your divorce as a platform to become the version of yourself you are worthy of becoming. You will not die from divorce and, in fact, can use it as the exact trial you need to pivot your life and begin to dream again.
Share a few tips from your book.
The first two chapters serve to help you feel confident in your decision to get divorced. I talk about when you can save your marriage and when it’s time to get divorced. While only you can make this decision, I’ve seen a lot of patterns and trends and seek to help you not have doubts or second-guessing in whatever your decision is. If you’ve decided to go ahead with a divorce, I outline when you need an attorney and how to hire them, and what to ask an attorney in an initial consultation so you can get the most out of it.
I have some really helpful tips on co-parenting and parental alienation. I try to remind people that if you have kids, your ex will be in your life forever as the parent of your kids, and people can be terrible spouses but a great parent.
And then I go into depth about what to do and how to respond to your ex if they are a narcissist or have some type of high-conflict personality traits or disorder, both from a legal perspective and with knowing how to communicate with and not be triggered by them personally.
Lastly, I help you through the grieving process. After all, you have to mourn the death of a marriage and feel all the feelings that come along with that. I share advice on how to build yourself back up and find true happiness, hope, and vivaciousness, and how to make all your own dreams come true, happily ever after. I use my personal and professional experience to help you not only survive divorce but thrive through it.
How do you manage to practice as a lawyer and run the family law firm, be owner of a tech company, and run a personal injury firm?
There are some late nights and burnout moments for sure, but one thing I always preach and exemplify to my empoyees is to work hard AND play hard. I go on vacations with my family and spouse as much as possible. It’s a chance for me to disconnect from work and focus on making memories with my 4 kids while they’re young. This only works because I have such a great team of employees, including my assistant, lawyers, paralegals, office manager, COO, software developers, marketer, and social media and content creators. They keep things running smooth and support me. I feel lucky and proud of the tribe I’ve built.
Who are your clients?
My clients at CoilLaw tend to be in high-conflict divorces. I’m the first to say to say to some potential clients at an initial consultation that they may not need my firm. I’m expensive because I’m giving exceptional service that is needed in very litigious or high-asset divorces. When your spouse has high-conflict personality traits or a personality disorder, you need an attorney that listens and empathizes with you, and that understands how narcissist and BPD opposing parties work; they don’t fight fair, so I’m there to make sure you can protect yourself and your future in a way that doesn’t provoke nor reward your ex’s behavior.
Another frequent type of client I have are people who are a couple of years post-divorce, but need to fix or update their decree. Maybe they had an incompetent attorney, or they tried to do DIY divorce forms they wrote themselves—not understanding or using legal language, so the court doesn’t know how to interpret or rule on it—or maybe they just weren’t ready emotionally or financially at the initial time of divorce to fight for more parent-time and thought they should just settle. These cases are hard because when you first get divorced, you are both on the same playing field. After your decree has been finalized, the burden of proving a substantial change in circumstance exists falls on the petitioning party, so you’re no longer on equal footing. Though these cases are often difficult and time-and- energy consuming, I’ve had great success amending these decrees at court and helping my clients get the equal or majority parent time they deserve.
Because not all divorcing couples are in these high-conflict situations, the majority of people should be able to work through their divorce on their own or without hiring an attorney, especially if you and your spouse are still amicable and able to communicate, don’t have a lot of assets, or if you haven’t been married long. But the DIY and online divorce tools that currently exist are lackluster at best. As I mentioned, if you have to change your decree down the road, it will end up being far more expensive than doing it right the first time. It was the realization in this particular access to justice gap that the idea for SimpleEnding was born. How could I help people get an attorney-quality divorce decree that is fair and holds up in court for a lifetime without the clients having to pay for an expensive attorney if they didn’t need that? This is what the SimpleEnding technology seeks to solve. The parties answer simply phrased questions, and the technology interprets that data into which legal text is needed for the divorce decree. The client doesn’t have to use or understand any legal jargon or write anything up themselves, but the output is legal language that can be upheld in court and anticipates future issues that may arise, benefitting from that attorney experience. This can be down without retaining an attorney, and just paying around $1,000 total instead of over $10,000 per party who has an attorney.
To what do you attribute your success?
A LOT of hard work; the self-confidence my parents instilled in me to do and be whatever I wanted; the empathy and experiences and understanding I have BECAUSE I’m a woman, mother, expert, bussiness owner, human being; the stamina to get back up when I have been knocked down; my ability to create my own opportunities and to take risks and push myself; and the support from my husband, family, and employees.
What sacrifices have you had to make during life?
There’s definitely those moments as a mom that stab at my heartstrings. Like my 12-year old daughter the other day said to me, “Mom, do you have to go back to work?” when I was on my way out the door again one evening to finish some trial prep. I can tell her, “It will be worth it someday,” but the truth is, I hate missing out on some of those everyday moments with my kids growing up. We have a wonderful nanny, and I wouldn’t trade my 4 kids for anything, but some days are hard when I feel like I’m making a choice that isn’t really a choice because of the nature of my business—these court dates wait for no one, and I’m the one in charge. It’s my clients’ lives, my employees’ livelihood, my business’s reputation, and my bar license all on the line. Sometimes my free time with my family is what is sacrificed for that. But in the end, I’m doing something I love and that I’m good at, and I’m grateful I get to exemplify that to my kids. They know I love them, and they know that I’m seeking self-fulfilment, and that I want the same for them.
How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?
Make time for you, and communicate your needs! Most marriages don’t end because one day you wake up and your marriage is suddenly terrible. It’s the daily cracks that expand over time if not addressed. Work on your inner happiness and fulfillment. Work toward your education and career goals. Make time for self care—and I’m not just talking about a pedicure but creating meaningful connections in your relationships and healing personal trauma and insecurities through therapy and self-work. These all require vulnerability and feeling hard feelings. It requires prioritizing what is meaningful in life. It requires committing to personal growth and improvement and not escaping or coping or numbing for too long. Finding what makes you fulfilled in life is the hardest and most important thing you will do in your life, and it’s worth doing.
What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?
Finding happiness within yourself (that’s not dependent on your partner). Because I see so many divorces and was almost divorced myself, I’ve identified the reality of the “hedonic adaptation.” This means that people who win the lottery or get in a car accident tend to return to the same level or happiness or unhappiness soon after these seemingly life-altering events. While some people need to get out of bad or abusive marriages to find safety and their internal happiness, most people getting divorced are not substantially happier once they get divorced. They may be equally unhappy if they have not addressed the real, root issue inside themselves. This tells me that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of divorce, and while I’m a divorce pro, I’m not pro divorce. I think couples should try everything they reasonably can to make their marriage work, and a lot of times, this means addressing your own insecurities and flaws and becoming the best version of yourself. Some people need to be free of their partner to do this, but I think plenty of people could do this within the marriage. In the end, I just want people to find happiness, and your marriage should complement that happiness, but it can’t depend totally on the marriage or partner itself. I do think women especially are guilty of thinking that their happiness should stem from their marriage or have unrealistic expectations about love and romance.
Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?
I believe you have a lot of control over your own fate! While white male privilege is a reality, I do believe women and minorities can create their own destinies. I think women and minorities have a hard time acting with courage because we still have a lot of self doubt rooted in the social and cultural traditions of our world. Something that white men have a lot of times is just the confidence to be who they are. I read a statistic that men will apply to jobs even if they only meet 60% of the requirements listed for a given job. Women, on the other hand, will only apply if they meet 100% of those listed requirements. As women, we need to learn the ability to locate and seize opportunies, or create our own opportunities when we can’t find any, which all starts with self-confidence. Creating opportunity starts with courage. It can be scary to stand up for what you are worthy of, but once you let fear move aside, and you strive to move forward, amazing opportunities can open up for you. Always work to continue to be teachable and growing. The key to being able to create opportunity is the ability to always be learning, always be growing.
I agree that destiny sometimes is involved with just the color of your skin (white privilege) and I realize that others will not have as easy of a path in creating their own opportunity. But I do know that if we as women stand up together and support other women around us, we can do great things. It starts with you believing you are worthy.