Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11

FEATURE
defied the odds, braving the day-to-day microaggressions, digging deep,
and staying put. To make it possible to maintain a successful, long-term
career in Big Law, these women cite key factors in the work environment,
including a safe and supportive space within the firm, an active and
engaged mentor, and an abundance of quality opportunities.

A SPACE TO THRIVE
Attorney Monya M. Bunch was involved in policy work related to child
welfare and advocacy before attending Howard University School of
Law. After gaining experience as an intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office for
the Southern District of New York following her first year of law school,
as a summer associate at a Big Law firm in New York City after her second
year, and as editor in chief of the Howard Law Journal,
Journal, Bunch began her
legal career as a litigation associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
Door LLC.
" I didn't go to law school thinking I would be a litigator. I thought that
because many of the senior administrators and policy makers in the child
welfare field had a legal background, this would be a helpful skill set to
have to excel and make an impact, " says Bunch. However, Bunch caught
the litigation bug during a civil procedure class field trip to the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia. " It was in Judge Emmet
Sullivan's courtroom. It was my first time in a federal courtroom and
witnessing an assistant U.S. attorney's oral argument. After watching
her I remember thinking, Oh, I can do that! "
Bunch was the first attorney WilmerHale hired through its on-campus
interview process at Howard. " There is elitism in many law firms, particularly Big Law. I was very intentional about choosing to attend Howard,
but ... there was a presumption by some that people go to Howard
because they couldn't go to a 'better' law school, " says Bunch.
Fortunately, Ronald Machen, then a newly elevated Black partner at
WilmerHale who interviewed candidates at Howard, recognized the
school as a high-quality institution, Bunch says. " I remember my first year
feeling like I had to prove myself because of the elitism, in addition to
being a Black person in a predominantly white space, " she says.
But Bunch also felt supported, particularly by senior Black attorneys at
the firm. " I remember John Payton, a legal giant who was a mentor at the
firm, and that made a huge difference. If I felt isolated and 'othered,' there
was a safe space for that. . . . I felt like I had a safe space in which to grow. "
After three and a half years at WilmerHale, Bunch secured a clerkship
with U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Damon J. Keith,
after which she practiced for seven years at a class-action plaintiffs litigation firm in Washington, D.C. She later served in in-house and legal
academic roles. With a wealth of legal experience, Bunch had a bevy
of career choices, but, ultimately, she chose to return to WilmerHale.
Currently, Bunch is the firmwide diversity, equity, and inclusion manager
at WilmerHale. " Throughout my career I have always been an advocate
for diversity, equity, and inclusion in these spaces. For me, being in Big
Law has been pivotal - a game changer. The resources to which I have
access, the decisions that I have been able to make on behalf of myself
and my family, and the people with whom I have been able to connect,
who are now in my circle, have been impactful. "
Bunch believes it is her duty to support and advocate for other Black
attorneys, just as others had done for her. During her clerkship, Bunch

Law firms are
challenging
places for most,
but you have
to understand
the rules.
SHARIE BROWN
Troutman Pepper Hamilton
Sanders LLP

Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP

says Judge Keith challenged her to always help those following in
her footsteps. " Advocacy within Big Law is critically important for diverse
attorneys. Whether they plan to be there for a year or two, or pursue
partnership, I am there to help them succeed. My responsibilities include
engaging leaders in Big Law about the importance of equitable and
inclusive opportunities for diverse attorneys and maintaining an environment where attorneys of color can thrive and not feel suffocated, " she
says.

CAREER GUIDANCE BY MENTORS
" My grandfather used to say a lawyer can do anything - run for president or be the head of a company - and I remember thinking that
lawyers have a lot of options, " recalls attorney Sharie Brown. Her grandfather's words propelled her to attend an after-school legal program in
junior high school, which set Brown on a path to a rich legal career. " My
story is a lateral story. It's not a straight progression from being a summer
associate to becoming an associate to being elected to partnership, " says
Brown.
At present, Brown is an equity partner at Troutman Pepper Hamilton
Sanders LLP specializing in government investigations and international
compliance matters. " I have had mentors all along the way, " Brown says.
" I had a mentor in [Georgetown] law school, Professor Bill Greenhalgh,
who I was a research assistant for. He recommended me for a federal
clerkship. Then that judge became a mentor. "
The importance of receiving guidance from an active and engaged
mentor cannot be overstated when thinking about a long career in Big
Law. Mentorship helped shape Brown's pathway. " After my clerkship,
I took a position in a firm where I met Charles T. Duncan, a senior partner
who became a mentor and a champion for me, " she says.
continued on page 13

MARCH/APRIL 2021

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

11



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Digital Extras
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Staying Put in Big Law feature
A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Worth Reading
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
ABA Delegates Corner
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effecy
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 5
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Staying Put in Big Law feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Pro Bono Effecy
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover4
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