Q: How did you break into what many consider to be an old boys’ network?
A: Hard work, an ability and desire to work with all types of people, and an unwillingness to accept the status quo. I think that professionalism, integrity and a commitment to being the best attorney one can be is gender-blind, and following those goals has always served me well. So, although I am extremely sensitive and dedicated to women’s issues in the legal profession, I never considered myself a woman before being the best attorney I could be. Working in a firm that is a meritocracy, I was able to succeed based on my work, dedication and attitude.
I also attribute my accomplishments to being proactive in asking my firm for what I needed to be successful. Soon after I had my first child in 1999, I asked for “flex-time.” Although my firm had part-time attorneys previously, I was the first person in my firm to request flex-time. Now, such arrangements are commonplace in my firm and many others, but this was many years ago. I recall being very fearful about making the request, and yet I knew I needed some flexibility to make my career and life work. When Cole Schotz readily agreed to the proposed arrangement, I felt valued and was able to tackle the demands of work and family in a more personally fulfilling way. I still recall one of my senior male partners referring to a legal career as a “marathon” and acknowledging that attorneys (male and female) will have different needs along the way.
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