Building a team I can rely on is a critical factor to my success in corporate law. It is also the most valuable thing I can offer to my clients. In antitrust and commercial litigation, the stakes are always high; knowing there is a team—a professional support system—in place to deliver the highest quality work gives clients peace of mind.
I’ve worked with my current core team for approximately ten years. It comprises smart, ambitious lawyers—leaders in their own right—who work collaboratively, so we can all get an excellent job done for our clients and grow professionally. Each person has strengths critical to the team’s success, and we truly complement one another. Not only do we support each other, we look out for one another personally and professionally. As the mother of two, I am able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance because of the team I have with me.
What surprised me about working collaboratively is how rewarding loyalty can be. After ten years, I am proud of the fact that our team works seamlessly and wants to stick together. When we moved to our current firm a few years ago, one key team member was hesitant about the move. I told him if he didn’t want to make the move, our whole team would stay put. We needed to stick together. I promised him the move would provide significant opportunity in the long run and he trusted me that it would. We know now it was the right move, because Willkie has been a great platform for the entire team.
On the Hardest Challenge I’ve Had to Face in My Career
Creating my own blueprint for professional success has been challenging. You learn very quickly that there isn’t necessarily just one path for success, and that it’s up to you to figure out what will make you happy and fulfilled.
Of course, many women came before me who paved the way for women to practice law at the highest levels. They are academics, US Supreme Court justices, and partners at major law firms, who provide legal counsel on complex problems that shape the business world. But as you get to certain levels of the profession, there are fewer role models, and the path to success is less clear-cut.
My practice in private corporate litigation is a busy, challenging environment that can even be lonely at times. I have tried to gather inspiration from people I view as role models, and use these “pieces” to inspire the design of my personal blueprint.
My Advice to Women Just Beginning Their Careers
Talk to and collect wisdom from as many potential mentors as you can. Seek advice from people who have “been there,” whether that means having experience in your field or facing similar challenges. Even if you don’t have a primary role model to emulate in your discipline, find and engage potential mentors that can guide you in other parts of your life. If you start doing this early in your career, the “nuggets” you’ll receive will add up to a lot of collective wisdom that can help you identify and navigate your own path to success.