What brought you to your specific practice area?
An open mind, curiosity about complicated things, and good fortune. I split my practice between IP litigation and major commercial contract disputes. When I first started practicing law, I would not have predicted that particular combination. But when I arrived at my firm, I was open to working on any case that was interesting. And I quickly found that I loved digging into complicated patents and contracts and the technology underlying them. There’s no more magic to it than that. I truly enjoy the trickiest legal puzzles, and I was fortunate enough to find myself at a firm where I could regularly tackle those puzzles.
What is one of your proudest moments, inside or outside your career?
One of my proudest moments was in many ways a simple moment that simply felt momentous. A few years ago, I was eight months pregnant with my daughter and I did a multi-hour summary judgment argument in federal court. I sat down for the final time at the end of the argument with nothing on my mind but whether I had made every point as well as I could. And then it occurred to me that my ability to be there that day had come on the shoulders of many determined, ambitious women lawyers before me, including many who were not given the same opportunity I was. Perhaps in some courtrooms, I might have still gotten a strange look or two. And certainly a couple decades earlier, few corporate clients would have been so unconcerned about the courtroom performance abilities of a pregnant woman. But on the day of my argument, in my mind, in my clients’ minds, in the court’s mind, I was just a lawyer. So in some small way, I was part of the path of progress for women lawyers and quite a positive step. I’m still thrilled by that (and because my client got a nice result as well).
By what standards do you measure success?
Many years ago, I had to make one of those big life choices. I ultimately made the decision by picking the option that required me to believe in my own potential the most. And it turned out wonderfully. So now, I have a personal philosophy that I like to call “bet on yourself.” If I’m unsure of whether I can do something challenging, if I’m unsure whether to tackle something new, then I remind myself that the best decision is to bet on myself. Because of that, I think I tend to measure my success by whether I’ve done more than I once believed myself capable of doing. It motivates me to keep taking risks, to learn from imperfect outcomes rather than get defeated, and to appreciate that the most rewarding tasks are often the ones that don’t come easily from the beginning. And success is really just my past self, smiling into the future at what I’ve been able to do.