Full Time Practice

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Annette Jarvis Gives Some Great Advice

Annette Jarvis was the first chair of the International JRCLS Women in Law Committee.  She is remarkable in so very many ways.  She is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, a member of the firm's management committee, and the Salt Lake City office head. She has practiced business bankruptcy and restructuring law for more than 30 years.

Recently she answered several intriguing questions posed by Law 360.  The answer she gave to one of the questions is listed below along with all of the questions posed.

Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring female attorney?
  • Concentrate first on developing your legal skills. Become an attorney that clients and senior partners seek out to work on their most important cases. You can build a different path for yourself (like I did in working part-time for many years, including in a home office for a time), but only from a base of competence.
  • Understand your clients’ business and find creative solutions. 
  • Try to make legal dilemma faced by your clients more understandable and less stressful. 
  • Learning to attract, service well and retain clients is essential to success. Rainmaking is not just for men.
  • Be courageous and stay true to your principles. We as women can never change this profession unless we are willing to stand up for ourselves, for others, and for principles we believe in, even if it puts our careers at risk.
  • Have a life outside the law. My family provided a solid foundation for my success. Raising five children while practicing law meant following a long and unchartered path for career success, but it kept my head and my heart in the right place for a happy and fulfilling life.
  • Become involved in community service. There are so many nonprofit organizations that need the assistance of our legal skills and in turn, provide us with invaluable leadership opportunities.
  • Have a sense of humor. While humiliating at the time, I now enjoy telling the story of when I was working from home and my 3-year-old daughter picked up the phone extension and called my opposing counsel in a contentious case “Daddy.” Talk about an ice breaker!

The other questions were:

How did you break into what many consider to be an old boys’ network?

What are the challenges of being a woman at a senior level within a law firm?

Describe a time you encountered sexism in your career and tell us how you
handled it.

What advice would you give to a law firm looking to increase the number of
women in its partner ranks?

Outside your firm, name an attorney you admire and tell us why.

To read Law 360's Q & A in its entirety, go to http://www.law360.com/articles/499071/female-powerbrokers-q-a-dorsey-s-annette-jarvis. (You will need to register for a free trial period in order to access the entire article.)

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