Page 11 - Katten Annual Diversity Review
P. 11

the firm and offering guidance and assistance. In         creating relationships with others in the firm—get
addition, Leslie Minier, who was a new Corporate          out of your office a bit and meet others, even at other
partner when I joined the firm, was an invaluable         firms or companies. After that, you’ve got to decide
mentor to me. As an African-American woman                what you want. Do you want to be a partner? If you
who did what I was setting out to do, she helped me       do, then you should start creating relationships with
assess my career goals and path. She connected me         the people at your level within clients’ organizations.
with Vince Sergi, who offered his support and really
opened some doors for me, including the opportunity       What are your views on diversity in the
to work in the LA office for a month when I was a         legal environment?
junior associate to see if I wanted to transfer there to
work in the Entertainment and Media group. I was          It’s nowhere near where it needs to be or where it
incredibly fortunate to have all of these firm leaders    should be. It seems as if the industry keeps having
in my corner.                                             the same conversations about increasing diversity
                                                          in the legal profession. I was fortunate at Katten to
At the same time that I made partner at Katten, the       have several key mentors who specifically sought
GC opportunity with the Warriors opened up and I          out diverse attorneys to help empower them. If all
was excited to join their organization, given that I’d    law firms implemented this practice, and made it a
been handling work for the team and already knew          structural component of the firm, I think it would
the organization and some of its key leaders.             help increase diversity throughout the legal industry.
                                                          For instance, while I was at Katten, Leslie connected
What advice do you have for attorneys                     me with a diverse attorney—Paul Fenstermaker—
just beginning their careers?                             while he was still in law school because she knew
                                                          he was interested in sports law. I met with him and
Whenever I get asked this question I think about          gave him an overview of the kinds of work we do, and
advice that Leslie gave me when I was first starting      Katten ended up hiring him as a summer associate.
out, which is to divide your career planning into         His summer program started around the time I was
segments. First, as a new associate, you should           leaving to go to the Warriors and I knew that I would
keep your head down, stay focused on the work             need to hire some legal help once I was there, so I
and on excelling as an attorney—thinking of the           asked Leslie if Katten would be willing to split Paul’s
partners for whom you work as a client. Then after        summer with me—half at the firm in Chicago and half
two or three years, you should raise your gaze to         with me at the Warriors in Oakland—which is what
understand more about how your piece of work fits         we did. Paul worked for Katten for a year after law
together in the larger scope of the matter and begin      school and then I hired him to join me at the Warriors.

                                                          As a busy father of three children, how
                                                          do you manage a work-life balance?

                                                          Family always comes first. One of the benefits of
                                                          my job is that I get to bring my kids to games and
                                                          they get to be around the team. I feel that my job
                                                          enhances my family life rather than detracts from it.
                                                          I also balance work and family with music. Music is
                                                          a great outlet for me and it’s nice to be able to release
                                                          and get away from the job in order to dive into music
                                                          for an hour or so and then feel refreshed to come
                                                          right back to work—the real work.

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