Important decisions I make include making choices that involve some degree of risk, challenge, and growth. For example: leaving a big firm 14 years ago to join an appellate boutique and fulfill my dream of becoming an appellate lawyer. Another: leaving the boutique firm to lead and expand the appellate practice at Snell & Wilmer. Both of these required taking a risk and leap of faith, something we women lawyers tend not to be wholly comfortable with in our careers.
M.C. Sungalia is partner in Snell & Wilmer’s appellate practice group and editor of The Woman Advocate.
The most important choice I made was to make peace with the career I didnt have, and find what worked for me in the career I did have and build on that. I went to law school to practice international law but made several choices early in my career that took me off that path. I struggled on for several years waiting for some kind of career epiphany that never came, only to leave the work force to have my second child with no intention of returning to the practice of law. After my divorce, I went back to a law firm out of necessity to continue practicing commercial litigation after turning down the exciting international arbitration position that required more travel than I could do as the single mother of two small children. Over the next few years, I came to accept that this was my career, whatever its current shape and size, and that the way to make it work was to find on a daily basis what it was that I liked most about my job and focus on that. Now, six years later, I feel like my career is finally headed in the right direction. I've identified an area of specialty—bankruptcy litigation—that works for me and how I like to practice, and I am excited again about practicing law.
Ariadne Montare, AZA Law, Houston, TX