Focusing on Reality to Achieve Success
As the Global Co-Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Real Estate Practice in the firm’s New York office, I focus on what is real: real properties, real deals, real clients. In order to navigate what is typically a high-powered, male-dominated field, I focus on the real behaviors that have led to my success: delivering platinum-level work product to clients, bridging differences by finding commonalities, and assuming the best in others. I’ve been a lawyer with Latham for 18 years, and I’ve learned to navigate around the intangible behaviors that can sometimes undermine diverse attorneys, such as assuming your diverse attributes are a weakness, or second-guessing the actions or statements of others based on your differences.
I regularly handle high-value and complex transactions for high-profile clients, such as the transfer in lieu of foreclosure of a portfolio of 148 hotels for Colony Capital. I try to understand my clients’ needs and the best way to facilitate a deal among parties with differing demands. When clients meet me in person and remark that they thought I would be taller, I assume the best: my work ethic and no-nonsense getthe- job-done personality are the behaviors that define my stature in my clients’ eyes. I have never felt that I was at a disadvantage because I am a woman. I believe that doing my job and doing it well are more important than paying attention to the gender divide. Instead, I pay attention to what I have in common with my clients: professional interests, food, wine, popular culture, children. For me, commonalities between people matter the most.
During my years at Latham, I have invested in supporting up-and-coming women lawyers. Clients are often pleasantly surprised when I bring an all-female deal team to the table. Of course, I also mentor and support up-and-coming male lawyers. I apply the same standards to my team — regardless of gender — as I apply to myself: deliver the best work in order to be a success.