In July, I attended the New York Women’s Bar Association and New York City Bar Association’s 16th annual “What It’s Really Like to Practice Law as a Woman” event.
This year’s program included a panel discussion that addressed a range of topics, including unexpected turns in career paths, informational interviews, the potential pitfalls of self-promotion, work-life balance, mentors versus sponsors, and the perennial issue of dressing for the workplace. The panelists, several of whom are mothers, encouraged women lawyers to fully explore the costs and benefits of demanding career paths before foreclosing opportunities because of work-life balance concerns. Panelists advised women to build relationships with more senior practitioners who are in a position to serve as advocates, which they noted sometimes means seeking out sponsors who are men rather than women. The group also emphasized that women tend to be excellent advocates for others, but need to focus on advocating for themselves, as well, in pursuing career opportunities.
The moderator, Brande Stellings, an HLS alum, is vice president at Catalyst, Inc., a strategic consulting practice where Brande leads efforts to advance women in the legal profession. The panelists were Jane E. Booth, general counsel of Columbia Law School; Camille Chin-Kee-Fatt, director of Career Services at Brooklyn Law School; Shalini R. Deo, court attorney to the Honorable Rita Mella of the New York City Criminal Court; and Lynn K. Neuner, a partner at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP. Barbara Berger Opotowsky, executive director of the New York City Bar Association, and Patricia A. Grant, president of the New York Women’s Bar Association, made opening remarks, and Stephanie Adduci, the program co-chair, introduced the program participants. Many thanks to each of these inspiring women for taking the time to share their advice!
- Narissa Lyngen, Rising 2L, International Committee Chair