CHICAGO, Ill.- (July 16, 2015) - Women attorneys from Perkins Coie and Microsoft Corporation recently teamed up on a new program as part of ongoing gender diversity initiatives to inform and inspire women law students about their future in the legal field. The program included an event in Chicago called “Women in Law: Being Successful and Making an Impact,” and another in Washington, D.C. titled “Women in Law: Navigating the Politics of Success.”
Both events were created by women of Perkins Coie and Microsoft, including Jeanne Cullen, Perkins Coie partner and chair of the firm’s Women’s Forum affinity group, and Nichole Abbotts, an attorney at Microsoft who leads gender diversity initiatives in the U.S. and hosted by the Perkins Coie Diversity team.
As part of these unique events for Perkins Coie and Microsoft, seasoned women lawyers from both organizations offered law students in both cities a glimpse into what lies ahead after law school as well as perspective on various legal career options and tips on how to navigate the changing legal market—whether at a law firm, in-house law department, or in business or government.
“Someday, each one of you are going to be a general counsel or a client or a judge, and you’re going to be fellow partners or co-counsel, especially if you stay in this community,” Jeanne Cullen told the students in Chicago. “It’s very important that you network and get to know each other. The sooner you do that, the better. You can learn a lot from each other and also support each other.”
Both events culminated with a reception where law students talked one-on-one with women lawyers from Perkins Coie and Microsoft and networked with their peers. Presenters at the Chicago program included Jeanne Cullen (host and panelist); Debra Bernard, Perkins Coie partner (moderator); and Jeannil Boji, Perkins Coie counsel; Hillary Kaplan, Microsoft assistant general counsel and Nichole Abbotts, Microsoft attorney (all panelists). Presenters at the D.C. program included Jeanne Cullen (moderator and panelist); and Daphne Forbes, Microsoft attorney; Aria Branch, Perkins Coie associate; and Molly Moynihan, Perkins Coie partner (all panelists).
“No matter what practice area or what route you choose, always treat yourself like a solo practitioner in the sense that you take ownership over your career and building your own practice,” advised Jeannil Boji in Chicago. “While building your reputation starts with doing good work, it’s important that no matter how busy you get with the day-to-day legal work, you still must prioritize self-promotion, building your own practice and really guiding your own career.”
“Establishing mentorship relationships and seeking out internship opportunities early can make a significant impact on your career path,” added Nichole Abbotts. “It can help you identify whether, among other things, pursuing a law firm career or looking at opportunities as an in-house counsel will satisfy your professional pursuits. If there aren’t opportunities for internships available, don’t be afraid to get creative and find ways to develop a new one.”
About Microsoft: Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq MSFT) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
About Perkins Coie: Founded in 1912, Perkins Coie LLP has more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia. The firm provides a full array of corporate, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to a broad range of clients, from FORTUNE 50 corporations to emerging growth startups, as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.
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