Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17

SIDEBAR
I am today if it were not for those who have
taken time to help me navigate the legal
field, " says May, senior corporate associate at
Covington & Burling LLP. Her mentors helped
her improve as a lawyer, advocated for her both
inside and outside her firm, and suggested
opportunities to help advance her career.

I sought out individuals
who could provide me
with practical infor-
mation that I would
not get in a book or
class.

" There's so much practice and trial and error
that goes along with the profession itself that
it inherently requires mentors [who] will help
fill in those blanks, how to handle judges,
juries, [and] the practicalities of the practice, "
says Garcia.
Mentorship should begin early in an attorney's
legal education. A 2019 Harvard Business Review
article noted that traditionally underrepresented people may not have the customary
networks available to boost their work or
suggest them for advancement opportunities.
By beginning mentoring during their legal
education, women and minority attorneys
are more able to " catch up " in terms of
making key connections for opportunities
and advancement.
During law school, Garcia developed an informal mentoring relationship with one of the
deans, giving him access to networks and connections that were not otherwise readily visible
or available to him.

ADVOCATES IN THE ROOM
The social structure to develop informal mentoring relationships may not be there for every
woman or minority attorney. To create this
space, many law firms, bar associations, and
other professional organizations have created
formal mentorship programs. A 2017 study
by Heidrick & Struggles, a global leadership
advisory firm, found that 74 percent of minority
respondents had participated in a formal
mentorship program and are more likely
to maintain active relationships with their
mentors.
Garcia says formal mentorship programs may
be just as valuable as informal mentorships
to opening doors to women and minority
candidates.
Mentors outside a field of practice or even the
legal industry also are an often-underutilized
resource for attorneys. Thatcher, founder and

Michael Ventura Photography

Garcia, senior associate with Stein Sperling
Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC, agrees with May,
noting that the legal profession is " not black
and white; there's lots of grey. "

LINDA THATCHER
Thatcher Law Firm

managing partner of the Thatcher Law Firm,
looked for mentors in the business world when
she opened her firm. The practice of law is a
business, Thatcher points out, so who better
to learn from about running a business than
other businesspersons? " I sought out individuals who could provide me with practical information that I would not get in a book or class, "
Thatcher says.
Mentors also can assist women and minority
attorneys by acknowledging the unique challenges they face in the workplace. All of the
attorneys interviewed for this article described
instances in their careers where their actions
or behavior would be considered zealous
advocacy if coming from someone else, but
as a result of their background have been told
that they are being emotional and to tone it
down. Having mentors who have experienced
similar situations or were able to pick up on
the issues helped these attorneys adjust and
change the narrative.
Male attorneys also have been particularly
helpful as mentors and champions for some
of these women attorneys. For example, Bruce,
a partner at Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC and
co-chair of the firm's complex civil and commercial litigation practice, shares that two of
her most influential and significant mentors
have been men.
" I have had two great mentors in my career:
Alan Rifkin and Bruce Marcus. Each was more
interested in an attorney's skill set and talent
than their gender. This mentality allowed me

the opportunities that have led to my professional successes, " says Bruce.
May also has found support in mentors of a
differing gender. She recounted a time when
one of her male mentors noticed that her
opposing counsel, who was male, ignored her
or spoke over her on calls, or only responded
to her communications if the response was
directed to one of her male colleagues. To
combat this attitude, May says her mentor
" would specifically only have me talk on calls,
and if opposing counsel asked questions to my
mentor, he would direct them to me in such a
manner that it would be impossible for me to
be ignored. "
These attorneys found great value in their
mentee-mentor relationships, crediting their
mentors with increasing their job satisfaction,
helping them feel confident in their careers,
and connecting them to important resources
and opportunities for advancement.
For the legal field to continue to evolve for
women and minority attorneys, these attorneys need a place at the table. For them to
get to the table, however, they need mentors
and advocates in the room to support and
encourage them based on their merit, skills,
and talents.
Elizabeth J. McInturff and Isabella C. Demougeot
are partner and senior litigation associate,
respectively, at JDKatz, P.C. Reach them at
elizabeth@jdkatz.com and isabella@jdkatz.com.

MARCH/APRIL 2021

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER

17



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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