We All Have a Responsibility to Pay it Forward

I am passionate about meeting the responsibility we have to pay it forward—to make a difference in the lives and careers of others.

What I have achieved in my professional life is due in part to my own hard work. But overwhelmingly, it is due to the kindness and compassion of others willing to mentor me, vouch for me, and allow me a seat at the table. It is also due in great part to my parents—their love, support, and belief that I could do whatever I set my mind to.

A few years into my legal career, the events of September 11, 2001 occurred. At that time, I was a young associate working at a Miami-based firm. The feelings following that tragic day were fear and uncertainty. But I knew that as long as I could take care of myself, I would be okay, and that life in the United States would go on. And, it did.

I became a non-equity partner in seven years. Three years later, I became an equity partner. I had made it. But, I started to look outside myself; it was not just me anymore. I helped support my mother and I had associates who depended on me. I started to focus on mentoring and supporting associates and younger partners.

Then, in March 2020, the pandemic hit. And this time, I had others to consider. What would happen to those I had mentored and to the new attorneys? I knew what we had to do: put one foot in front of the other; go to work each day or work from home; communicate often; and support each other. We banded together even while apart. Just like before, life would go on. And, it has.