LATINO LEADERS Worth Watching
Education: JD, Harvard Law School; AB, Harvard College Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith, Chairperson Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 1750+ Your Location (if different from above): New York, New York Words you live by: “Remember where you came from.” The words may be cliché, but they remind me (1) to work hard, (2) of my parents who sacrificed so much to make my current life possible, and (3) of how much upward change can happen in just one generation. Who is your personal hero? My mother What book are you reading? Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism by Laura E. Gomez; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (with my son) What was your first job: As a freshman in high school, I worked for a solo legal practitioner. Favorite charity: The Bronx Defenders, a holistic public defense firm that serves the South Bronx Interests: Dancing; spending time with my family Family: Allon (husband); Nicolas (son); Sofia (daughter)
Like many children of immigrants, I learned to navigate two worlds early on—one foot in one culture, one foot in the other, sometimes hopping from side to side in one day.
Navigating Two Cultures Helped Make Me an Advocate Like many children of immigrants, I learned to navigate two worlds early on—one foot in one culture, one foot in the other, sometimes hopping from side to side in one day. I remember translating at stores, doctor’s offices, and at school, from a very young age. I filled out forms and made phone calls on my parents’ behalf. Without knowing it, these experiences were my first foray into being an advocate: using a skill, in this case the English language, to obtain
2021 First Quarter
something for someone who could not get it for him- or herself. While other experiences went into the stew that led me to law school and, finally, to a thirteen-year career as a “BigLaw” partner, I still think of those childhood acts as my first lawyering moments. I am a litigation partner who focuses on white collar and regulatory investigations on behalf of boards, companies, and universities. The personal and professional satisfaction I get from
my challenging and demanding job is considerable. But even greater is the satisfaction I get from seeing an increased number of Latinx candidates navigating the BigLaw recruiting season (delayed this year due to the pandemic). They give me hope that, soon, Latinx BigLaw partners will no longer be unicorns. I know that some of these candidates also navigated different worlds from an early age, and that those skills will ultimately lead to their success in the legal field.