September 22, 2022

In honor of American Businesswomen’s Day, Much is shining a spotlight on the leaders of our firm’s Women’s Initiative. We’re proud to recognize this annual celebration of women of diverse backgrounds and occupations all over the country, including the incredible women professionals at our firm.

We sat down with the co-chairs of the Much Women’s Initiative, Ursha Magajne and Kathy Shaw. Ursha is a principal in our Corporate & Finance group, and Kathy is a principal in our Labor & Employment group. They explored questions about being a woman in today’s professional world and shared stories and insights on what they’ve learned throughout their careers.

 

As a co-chair of the Much Women’s Initiative, what are your biggest priorities through the end of the year? As we look ahead to 2023?

Ursha: The biggest priority for 2022 was to reconnect internally with the members of our Women's Initiative. We are a fun group of very active women who are engaged in many activities and like to just catch up and learn from each other. For 2023, I am hoping to re-energize our programming and organize a few exciting events that would enhance our business development efforts, our community engagement, and social networks.

Kathy: As we have settled in to the “return to office” post-pandemic, my priority is to re-establish the face-to-face connections between women colleagues. This work will continue into 2023, as we identify the challenges in the new world of hybrid work environments and build upon technology to develop new ways of working and marketing.

 

What is one piece of advice you’d give to your younger, post-law-school self upon entering the professional world as a woman?

Ursha: Stay curious and open to new ideas. Some of the most amazing opportunities are those that you did not plan and could not prepare for. Also, work hard but step outside of the office to meet people and experience life.

Kathy: I would encourage my younger self to maintain contact with my law school classmates and to stay involved in alumni activities. There is no better network of professionals to draw upon for advice and opportunities.

 

In terms of gender equality, what positive change have you seen in the legal industry since you started your career?

Ursha: Many positive changes have already occurred: Law firms and other employers in the legal industry are becoming increasingly flexible and open to new employment models. As a result, more women are staying in the field. However, it is an ongoing process and will only be successful if women are involved in the management and decision-making process.

Kathy: With respect to law firms in particular, there has been greater acceptance of alternative work schedules and the need for flexibility. This has benefitted women greatly. I believe that the hybrid office/home-work environment post-pandemic will be a game changer for women attorneys and their desire for work-life balance. In addition, the fact that clients are looking at firm demographics when retaining legal counsel has made it a priority to hire and retain women attorneys.

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