Managing Partner, Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
Years in current role: 2
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The most gratifying part of my law practice has always been helping clients solve their business and personal challenges. Over years of advising others, I have learned countless lessons that I have applied in the business of practicing law. A few years ago, I took on the role of managing partner at Woods Oviatt. It has been remarkable to me how those past experiences have impacted my ability to respond to current challenges faced by the firm. I am fortunate that I can continue supporting my clients while at the same time helping guide the firm in its own strategic planning and operations.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
The pandemic has created challenges unlike any I have seen in my 30-plus years of practice. It created fear and uncertainty for everyone and most of us had little direct experience to draw upon for guidance. As lawyers, we were helping clients navigate unprecedented challenges, while at the same time worrying about the impact on our firm and our employees. While not out of the woods yet, I think we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Reflecting on the past year, I am thankful to our whole team at Woods Oviatt for their personal sacrifices and for sticking together throughout this difficult period.
What advice would you give law students who are graduating this year?
First of all, follow your heart. The practice of law is an extremely demanding profession but if you find an area in which you are truly interested, you will have a more rewarding career. Secondly, look for mentors. Early in my career, I was lucky to have mentors who cared about me and invested time and energy to help me succeed. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, be sure to treat each client as the most important client — because they are. If you care about your clients and internalize their needs and worries, you will be a more effective advocate. And in most cases, you will be rewarded with a loyal client base and greater job satisfaction.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
I most look forward to spending quality time with friends and family again. Zoom calls have been a godsend during this past year, but will never replace in person contact. I will certainly appreciate dinner out with friends more than ever before.