Ask the Women of White and Williams
We asked women lawyers to share significant moments in their careers and advice for young women lawyers.
Who Helped You the Most on Your Career Path?
My mom works for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which means I spent a lot of time with women attorneys while growing up. We went on vacation with a woman coworker’s family every summer; I would attend office events; many of my mom’s coworkers would come to my family’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving party. Being surrounded by so many women attorneys made women in the legal profession seem like a given. They were all very intelligent, thoughtful women who enjoyed their jobs and spoke positively about the challenges they faced at work. It taught me that my interests in reading and writing could be applied to the law in a rewarding way, and that I could expect to find a supportive community of smart women once I became a lawyer (I have not been disappointed).
My supervising partner at my past firm from 1990 to 1993. He always listened and provided great suggestions. As I got older, the listening and advice has gone both ways.
In the 1980s and early 90’s when I was just coming into my own as an accomplished lawyer (from the standpoint of having developed strong skills), the partners I worked for were always willing to praise the quality of my work but rarely gave me the opportunity to shine (or outshine them) by stepping back and letting me “first chair” a deal. It was a client who told a senior partner that they saw me as their go to lawyer and going forward they wanted me leading their deals. Once I did this with one client, I realized that I could take a leadership role and confidently take a seat at the table. This led to me being more confident and assertive which in turn led to more opportunities to attract my own clients and lead client teams.
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