To succeed in the legal market, or really in any profession, it is important to be a self-advocate and to establish a personal brand. Yet far too many women fail to do so. Instead of speaking up at a meeting, they remain silent and return to their offices thinking about what they wish they had said.
My advice is to stay strong and step outside your comfort zone. The more you put yourself out there—sharing ideas, asking questions, attending events, or getting involved in projects that you would not normally choose—the more you stand out from the rest. And standing out really does pay off. The person sitting next to you at a conference may have a connection to a business owner you have been trying to get in touch with. Speaking up and standing out can help you get connected.
Also think about what is important to your clients. Showing that you truly have an interest in what is important to them, and what will work best with their initiatives, makes a huge difference when they are looking for someone to work with.
The firm has many initiatives for our women that I am a part of. For example, I’m involved in the firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and Diversity Committee. The more you get involved, both inside and outside your community, the more people you will touch and the faster your professional network will grow.
On Knowing When and How to Make Your Next Leap
As a young associate, I had an opportunity to experience the business side by going into investment banking. Even though I was very happy as a corporate attorney, I thought learning about the business side would make me a better legal advisor. I took the leap and worked in investment banking for a few years before I came back to law. It was a great experience and has made me a better corporate attorney.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
You have to be proactive, both inside and outside your organization. That means seeking, building, and maintaining relationships with all types of individuals. Strong, diverse relationships build trust, create connections, and often turn into business opportunities when you least expect it. If you have deep client relationships because they know you have their backs and are always looking out for them, they will want to keep working with you.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
I have been fortunate to have had several wonderful mentors. Each supported me in a different way and provided a different perspective, but all offered a common theme: Really get to know your clients by establishing meaningful relationships. This simple lesson has shaped my priorities throughout my career. In this age of electronic communications and social media, you cannot forget there is simply no substitute for personal interaction if you want to really understand a client’s concerns, goals, and objectives.