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Securing Success as a Woman in BigLaw: Advice from Weil’s Women Leaders

Published: Dec 12, 2023

 Diversity       Law       Workplace Issues       
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Women at Weil embody a wide range of leadership styles, backgrounds and experiences, proving that there is no one way to succeed. Too often, we see these leaders as they are now, not recognizing the challenges they have learned from or the time they spent overcoming fear and self-doubt.

We asked seven Weil leaders – across practices and offices – what advice they h­­ave for the next generation of women attorneys.

By sharing their responses with you, we hope to inspire and reassure women starting their legal careers or at key transition points with the advice and perspective from those who have blazed the trail before them.

Luna Barrington, Partner in Weil’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice:

“It is important for people to learn how to speak up, especially women. Own your decisions. You have to be confident in the decisions that you make, especially when you are counseling and clients are looking to you for advice.”

Britta Grauke, Co-Managing Partner of Weil’s German offices, Head of the German Litigation practice and a member of Weil’s Management Committee:

“Do not listen to those that tell you what you cannot do. Listen to those that tell you what you can do! But I would not sit and wait for them to come to you. You can actively search for the supporters of your professional journey. My experience from day one at Weil has been that the people I reached out to have been very open to support me. And sometimes it will be the unexpected mentors or sponsors who help you the most.”

Courtney Marcus, Managing Partner of Weil’s Dallas office, Co-Head of the Banking & Finance practice and a member of Weil’s Management Committee:

“First, spend your time wisely. The most important thing is to have a recognized level of expertise in your area of practice, which takes hard work. There is no substitute. Second, find a professional or community activity within or outside the firm that you enjoy and can commit to. It will provide perspective and opportunities for leadership. Third, don’t be afraid to be feminine or be yourself. Fourth, create a network. Keeping up with your peers is the beginning of business development. Lastly, take time to refresh. Downtime is important, whether it’s a hobby, 48-hour staycation or something else that gives you joy.”

Ramona Nee, Managing Partner of Weil’s Boston office, Co-Head of Weil’s U.S. Private Equity practice and a member of Weil’s Management Committee:

“You can’t do it alone! It’s easy to convince yourself that you are the only one who can do it right. When I was a senior associate, one of my mentors reminded me of all the colleagues that were available to bounce ideas off of. Taking advantage of the collective brain trust –  within our practice group, and more broadly across the Firm – whether for tough questions or new ideas, is a game changer. We can’t do it alone, and we don’t need to.”

Vynessa Nemunaitis, Partner in Weil’s Banking and Finance practice:

“Learn to be comfortable asking questions. Earlier on in my career, I was reticent to ask questions for fear of someone thinking that I was not smart enough to be working on the deal, but ‘smart’ does not mean you have all the answers. Knowing what you know and what you do not know is incredibly important to practicing law.”

Charan Sandhu, Co-Head of Weil’s Technology & IP Transactions practice and a member of the Firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity group:

“Your potential is limitless but remember to live life one day at a time. My family (both at home and at Weil) always believed in me, and that allowed me to feel a deep sense of belonging in the legal profession. That conviction and sense of belonging can be key to building a strong career. Enjoy each day, boldly seize opportunities and run with an open mind and heart into challenges. That’s a mantra I live by.”

Elizabeth S. Weiswasser, Co-Chair of Weil’s Global Litigation department and a member of Weil’s Management Committee:

“Be an active listener.  Be responsive, even if the response is that you have the request and are on it.  Ensure alignment on deadlines and expectations for your projects.  Be kind to yourself and to others.  Be humble but confident.  One of the most rewarding aspects of our profession is the teamwork, and those who thrive in this profession will put the needs of the team ahead of the individual.”

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