Mentors, because No One Can Do it Alone
In the (almost) decade since I graduated from law school, women attorneys still continue to be underrepresented at the partner level at law firms, in general counsel C-suite roles at companies, and in high-level roles at government agencies, as well as at other entities. And, as women, we unfortunately still have to prove ourselves in certain spaces, even if we are lead attorney on a case and the person who has the most knowledge about the legal issues in the case.
I was recently promoted to partner at my law firm. While I am extremely proud of my accomplishment, it is not lost on me that I am fortunate to work at a law firm that values women, routinely promotes women to partnership, and one that seeks out women for leadership roles. I know a number of talented women lawyers who are not as fortunate as I am.
The key, in part, to my success is that I have sponsors and mentors—both women and men—who are firmly invested in my professional and personal growth. They want to see me win. They have taken me under their respective wings, encouraging me to stretch myself by taking on more challenging and high-profile matters, to share my insights and analysis during case strategy meetings, and to seek out high-level leadership roles on the cases I am working on. They have also been invaluable sounding boards. And, more important, they have fiercely advocated for me in rooms I am not even in.
The women attorneys I have met throughout my career have taught me the importance of having mentors from all walks of life, including men. Admittedly, some conversations have been easier to have with other women, given that we have had to deal with some of the same issues, but my male mentors and sponsors have also been some of my biggest champions and have supported me immensely throughout my legal career, including on my path to partnership.
You cannot achieve anything in life without hard work and determination, but no one can do it alone. Having mentors and sponsors in your corner who are invested in your growth and will fiercely advocate for you, will make your pathway to success a bit smoother.