You Don’t Need to Save the Day, Every Day

Women in law tend to have thick skin. Over the course of my career, however, I’ve really had to wrestle with whether that’s always a good thing. It often means taking on too great a burden, and tolerating more than we should. If thick skin becomes expected at all times, then those who offer a more sensitive perspective can get left behind.

I remember the year before I made partner in BigLaw. I had a toddler, was nursing an infant at home and working full time, and decided to take on a teaching position at the University of Texas School of Law. My memories of that year are a blur; I just knew that I could handle it. Since then, I have learned that having the ability to bear the load does not always mean it’s a good idea. I will be forever grateful to the first woman colleague to tell me that I didn’t need to save the day, every day.

Since then, I have learned to set boundaries and manage my energy—all part of being a working mom. I have also seen the good that a law firm can do in supporting women who are in the middle of a heavy lift.

It’s hard to know when to reach out to a colleague, and when to respect her privacy. Offering help at a crucial moment could be the key to keeping more women in the game, progressing toward partner. What does she need? It might be more than just time off or help at work. Personally, I relied on a family concierge called Enriched Family that arranged summer camps for my kids, planned my meals, outsourced my errands, and bought and shipped birthday gifts all over the country. Bless that company, truly.

I’ve also had wonderful mentors, both women and men, whose faith in me has inspired me to fight on, but also to slow down when that was the right answer. Now, as a partner at Redgrave LLP, I find myself once again at a firm that is supportive of all its employees, of all genders, parents and nonparents alike. I am so lucky.