Spring Business Edition 2017

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L E S L E E When did you first become interested in law?

y parents literally told me that I was going to be a lawyer M from the first day I can remember careers being raised as a topic in my home. They wanted me to have a degree that would allow me not to have to be dependent on a man to feed my children.

How do you think firms/companies can develop environments fertile for success?

each your associates by propping them up for their T good work rather than hammering them down for their mistakes. Take all associates to prospective client pitches and initial client meetings from the first day. Business development suddenly becomes key in the years just before partnership consideration, and most associates have no idea where to start. It should be ingrained in


them by that time. Also, give young associates leadership opportunities within the firm.

What strategies do you employ to win business? I speak and mentor at various startup accelerator and incubator programs around Chicago. I also get very involved in the organizations I commit to, such as the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and the Small Business Advocacy Counsel, through which I run venture pitch sessions. I continue to network and meet people whom my trusted connections believe would be helpful to my career and/or believe I could be helpful to.

By what standards do you measure success?

eadership and influence. Having achieved success to me L means that younger women lawyers look up to me as a mentor and want to learn from my accomplishments.


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Was there anyone along the way who mentored or influenced your work?

I learned a great deal about the kind of lawyer I wanted to be by watching, observing, and listening to other lawyers—both positive role models and others that exhibited behaviors and mannerisms that I did not wish to adopt as my own. While it is critical to develop excellent legal skills and expertise in your practice area, it is more important to have a reputation for honesty, professionalism, civility, and integrity.

What is one of your proudest moments, inside or outside of your career?

A s to professional accomplishments, in 2013, I was honored to receive the Jerold S. Solovy Award from Jenner & Block. This award recognizes attorneys who have demonstrated exceptional service to the organized bar and to the community. The award, named for Jenner & Block’s esteemed late chairman emeritus, honors those attorneys who exemplify Mr. Solovy’s unwavering dedication to the

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organized bar, the public good, and the highest ideals of the legal profession. This award means a great deal to me because it came from my firm and honors Mr. Solovy’s lifelong love of the law and his untiring commitment to give back to those in need through his pro bono work and community involvement.

By what standards do you measure success?

I think how you view or define professional success is a very individual inquiry and no two lawyers probably view it the same way. For me, being successful as a lawyer means being an important part of and contributor to your firm or practice group, earning the role as a trusted business advisor to long-standing clients and knowing that your counsel and advice on critical legal issues matters to them, and having the good fortune to enjoy what you do and who you represent and work with on a regular basis. A very important part of success is finding a place you belong and having the opportunity to make a difference.