Education: JD, George Washington University; MA, University of Chicago; BA, Boston College

First Job: associate at a complex litigation firm in DC

My Philosophy: Be a fierce and zealous advocate but never at the expense of integrity and civility.


Reena Gambhir 

Partner

, award winner

There is no one path to success but there are principles I live by:

First, and I cannot overstate this, be confident, remain true to yourself, and know yourself. As a woman, you may find that people sometimes question your capability to take on new challenges or doubt your intellect. It is up to you whether you buy into that mindset.

Second is mentorship. A good mentor can give you career advice, help you navigate difficult obstacles, introduce you to opportunities, and be a strong advocate for your career. If you cannot find the right mentors within your organization (as women, we often don’t have role models in management positions) look outside—at colleagues, professors, or business contacts. It’s surprising how eager people are to offer assistance.

Third, do it well. There is no better path to success than to let your work speak for itself. Ultimately, that is what others remember. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take on new challenges. Working hard to master something new will earn you respect and, ultimately, open doors for you.

Fourth, be a team player. Cooperate with those around you. Listen to their ideas. Understand their points of view. Support the team. Promote others. Good team players earn respect, which is essential for leadership and success.

Finally, take ownership. This is vital. Don’t finish an assignment and wipe your hands of it. Instead, own the project—follow up and see it through to the end. That may mean staying late to see that a deadline is met, helping a paralegal get a brief filed, or making sure details don’t slip through the cracks. In the end, the more trust you earn in this way, the more respect and responsibility you gain. And isn’t that the goal?

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Do what you love, and do it well. One key to success is to do something you are passionate about.

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
Chairman of my firm and my mentor, Michael Hausfeld, has been instrumental in my career. Even when I was starting out as a junior associate, he allowed me to participate in and contribute to all aspects of legal practice. And no matter who was on the other side of the table, he never doubted or discounted my abilities.

Reena’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Networking can happen anywhere—while attending a major corporate event or getting to know fellow parents at your child’s school. Take an interest in and learn from everyone you meet. Anyone could be a potential business contact, and many will inspire you.