The Power of Perseverance and Grit

Right out of law school, I was hired at a white shoe boutique law firm in Manhattan as a first-year litigation associate in 2006. Then the financial crisis of 2008 struck the nation. I lost my job along with the safety net that came with it. I either had to find a new job or leave New York; I had no family in the New York area having been born and raised in Hawaii.

Being just two years out of law school, I couldn’t fathom leaving New York yet. Not like this. I decided I wasn’t done with New York. I tirelessly searched for a new job, but the economy had been hit hard and the legal field was no exception. I quickly realized that I had to start making concessions about my next “dream job” if I was going to survive here in the big city. I worked on document review/temp projects until I secured a litigation associate position at a solo law practice in Queens, New York. It didn’t pay well, there were no employee benefits, and my supervisor was very challenging to work for.

The experience demanded a high degree of self-sufficiency and efficiency, which ended up serving me well in my next position, when I eventually transitioned to a slightly bigger firm in Manhattan.

At my next firm, I was looking for opportunities for upward mobility. A mentor advised me that it was not enough to be good at what I did; I had to start bringing in business if I ever hoped to ascend to partnership.

Through creative thinking, dedication, and capitalizing on the right opportunities, I developed my own niche practice in Title IX and college discipline. I then parlayed my experience and practice into a partnership position with my current firm, where my practice has continued to develop and grow. It took grit and perseverance to overcome the challenges I faced in 2008 and it has paid dividends.