As a sponsor of Working Mother Media’s Best Law Firms for Women event, Parker + Lynch Legal is proud to support these firms and the women who dedicate themselves to both their legal profession and their families. To help honor these incredible women, we interviewed female attorneys with some of the 2018 winners to get their perspective on being a working mother. This week, we’re featuring:
Why did you decide to become an attorney?
Since I was young, I liked the challenge of trying to persuade those around me. I was an athlete and played a lot of sports growing up. I think the competitive mentality I developed with athletics is what sparked my interest in litigation; this mentality of winning or losing has also rolled over into my career.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in the legal field?
As a young lawyer, I think I have faced the same challenges in the legal field that most young attorneys face. I generally consider myself gender blind, and to the extent that I faced setbacks, I did not attribute them to my gender. It is true that when I started practicing law almost twenty-five years ago, there were not many senior women litigators. Not having a supply of mentors and role models the way young men did was negative for sure. But I also recognized that where there is an absence or void, there is also an opportunity and this is what I chose to focus on.
What has been your greatest success, or what accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?
I always wanted to be a trial lawyer. Getting to fill that role in complex high exposure cases for some of the world’s largest companies makes me very proud.
Why do you love working for Shook, Hardy & Bacon? How do they support women and their goals?
I assume that all AmLaw 100 firms have diversity initiatives geared towards supporting women. However, what sets Shook, Hardy & Bacon apart is its delivery on this promise. The best example I can provide is to point out that our newly elected chair of the firm is a woman. I am a member of the firm’s Executive Committee that recommended Madeline McDonough to be Shook’s new Chair, and that is something that is both personally and professionally very satisfying.
Shook also has a Women’s Management Council that serves as a catalyst for programs focused on women. This Council assists the firm’s women lawyers in developing legal skills, mentoring relationships and business development opportunities that will support their promotion into the partnership. I also, of course, enjoy mentoring women associates and young partners. I routinely seek out opportunities where I can assist them with client relationships, public speaking and trial work.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to women struggling to balance their home life and their careers?
I would advise women to follow their own hearts and their own paths to do what is right individually for them and their family. At the end of the day, when you lay your head on your pillow, if you feel good about yourself, your family and the choices you have made, then it was a good day. If you don’t have that feeling, then you know you need to make some changes. And finally, women need to do a better job of taking care of themselves. As working women, we take care of our clients, our kids, our partners or husbands and then we are often last on the list. I have learned that you need to do things to make yourself happy because if you are unhappy it will have a very negative impact on those around you.