"Leaving a Legacy"
It’s been a while since I have written anything from the heart. Today, I’m writing my thoughts on the practice of law and what type of legacy I want to leave. Over the past two months, I realized how proud I am of what I have accomplished over the past 18 + years as an attorney and business professional. The practice of law is a privilege. I cherish the privilege to help clients move their businesses forward, I value the right to counsel and advise clients, and I appreciate the privilege to teach others and mentor future lawyers. Recently, I was privileged to attend the memorial of one of our nation’s greatest jurists, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She paved the way for women’s equality in the right to vote, to equal pay, and to not face discrimination “On The Basis of Sex.” Justice Ginsberg left a legacy we cannot forget.
I learned from Justice Ginsberg and how to leave a mark on the legal profession in small ways. One way I do this is by mentoring and hiring law students and young attorneys. This year, especially, as I relaunched my practice in the middle of a pandemic, I realized I needed help. There were some great women and men who helped me relaunch after serving as in-house counsel over the past couple years. Some of these strong women included my website developer, my female executive clients, other women attorneys, my daughter, and my mom, to name a few. There are also many men in my life that have assisted my progression in the field, and these men are also mentors that taught me to stand up for myself as a female and minority in the legal profession. I thank all of them for being a part of my life to encourage me, help me succeed, and mentor me on how to move forward ethically in my chosen profession.
How can I pay it forward? No one taught me to how to practice law, to be an entrepreneur, or to become an expert in a specific area of the law. After I graduated from law school, a judge before whom I practiced told me, “law school does not teach you how to practice the law.” This is true and I have learned this over the past 18 + years. My way of paying it forward is to hire great young attorneys and law students, mentor them, teach them, and let them actually do real legal work and practice the law under my direction. I teach them how to practice in the 21st century virtually while still being present and advocating for our clients. I give them credit where credit is due and although I may have something to teach the younger generation entering the legal field, I still learn from them as well. My best advice to law students is to work a government job or small law firm where you learn how to run a business, hustle, and become advocates for your clients on day one. Recently, I was appointed to the Missouri Bar’s Chair of the Innovation and Technology Committee and hope to bring joint programming from other industries like healthcare and financial services, show “how to” lawyer with rapid change in the legal profession and to effectively use technology solutions to provide efficient representation and limit lawyer burnout. My firm uses technology and virtual assistants to create efficiencies for our clients’ representation, as well as limit the redundancy of communication and keep tasks on point. Like Justice Ginsberg, my contribution to the law and the legacy I hope to leave is leaving a mark on teaching my students and young attorneys to become effective advocates for their clients and to make the law better by use of technology solutions.