May 2017

Matyushevsky Law Group, LLC: Life is Like a Boomerang

Author: Kitty Bartell


Attorney Olesya Matyushevsky with her administrative assistant, Tamara Carlis

Empathy is learned along the path to fulfillment, and attorney Olesya Matyushevsky has honed this trait to a fine point, both personally and professionally. At age 17, moving to the United States with her Belarus-born father, and Russian mother and brother, it was the luck of the draw that paved their way. Her father had entered a green card lottery and won, making it possible for the family to immigrate to the United States.

Arriving in the Lowcountry with a Russian high school diploma, a few Russian college classes on her resume, and no English-language skills, Matyushevsky began her American studies at Hilton Head High School in the eleventh grade. She studied her way into the College of Charleston, where she earned her undergrad, and followed that up with a law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Passing the bar exam on her first attempt, Matyushevsky, founder of Matyushevsky Law Group, LLC, knew she wanted to leverage her career to be of benefit to others.

“I wanted to help,” she said. “I worked hard and people were very helpful throughout my education. I found so many people who were helpful to me, and if I couldn’t give something back to those people, I could do good for others. It all comes back. It’s like a boomerang. My parents always told me, good comes back.”

Having experienced the private practice/billable hours-world of counsel and judiciary during a law school externship, Matyushevsky wanted to take her career in another direction and applied for jobs exclusively at non-profits. Accepting her first post-academia position in the Lowcountry with the non-profit CODA (Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse), she began the practice of family law. Ultimately, during her seven-and-a-half-year tenure, she helped individuals with other family law needs, including, but not limited to, orders of protection, child support and custody, name changes, divorces, and separate maintenance and support actions.
The practice of family law is a tough business. “There is a judge I respect very much who says, there are no winners in family court; both are going to lose something,” Matyushevsky said. Her empathic approach to clients comes with a flinty edge—an edge that is necessary for good outcomes. “I have been told I am very direct. I think that’s a little bit cultural as well. As an attorney, I am put in difficult situations because I do have compassion for the clients, but if I don’t tell them exactly what’s going on, that puts me and the client in a bad situation. I tell the client that information is power. When you’re on the stand, it’s better that you’re prepared. If I sugar-coat it for you, you will be at a disadvantage, so I’m just going to tell you what’s going to happen or what may happen.”

Matyushevsky knows that there is one opportunity for clients who are going through the dissolution of a family—with the concerns of children, and money, property, and safety involved—when they have the most control over outcomes, and that is mediation. “I strongly encourage my clients to be honest with me before we go to court, and I often ask for mediation right away,” she said. “Mediation is the only time they have control. I tell them, this is your time. You’re either going to make decisions for yourself, or you’re going to take your life and hand it to someone else to make the decisions. You have to give a little to get a little; that’s how we dance. It’s a two-way street.”

Leaving CODA in 2015, Matyushevsky joined another law practice that she credits for giving her the courage to go out on her own, establishing her law group in June of 2016. And by late September, she had met Tamara Carlis, her dynamic administrative assistant whom she credits with connecting clients with their young practice, making them feel comfortable during what is often a difficult time in their lives, along with filling up the firm’s appointment calendar. “Before I hired her, I wanted to see how she would interact with clients. A friend was hosting an insurance company open house. I invited Tamara to come out and mingle.” Accepting without hesitation, Carlis proved herself then, and continues to be a go-getter. “Tamara has an intuitive sense of what I need.” Matyushevsky Law Group, LLC specializes in family law, immigration law, estate planning, and cases involving DUIs.

Matyushevsky has found a way to give back personally during what little spare time she finds, teaching twice a week at the Literacy Center, where she talks with pride about her graduates. She is also working with another attorney on a project aimed at exploring and educating others about establishing trusts for special needs children. With a cat, three dogs, and her parents, a niece, and her maternal grandmother living in Bluffton, Matyushevsky has built a somewhat unexpected life. “I’ve been really lucky, or really blessed, by how many good people I’ve met throughout my life and how I ended up here.”

Renowned author, Daniel H. Pink, known for his insights about business, work, and behavior, has said, “Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”

Matyushevsky has become quite excellent at making the world a better place. Like a boomerang, good always comes back. 

?Matyushevsky Law Group, LLC is located at 11 Palmetto Parkway, Suite 104, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 689-2700 or visit om-lawgroup.com.

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