Women in BigLaw Conference

by Laura Householder, Class of 2013

householderOn Friday, September 14, I had the privilege of meeting and hearing from several of our distinguished alumnae at the Women in BigLaw Conference. Knowing that I will be entering a large firm this fall, I thought it would be beneficial to at least see what a few of the speakers had to say. I was blown away, however, by not only the number of alumnae who returned but how candid and friendly they were.

As law students, we live in a small community of continuous learning and it can often be challenging to envision our lives in the “real world” apart from a few months each summer we spend in various internships. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to work in a large law firm and caught a glimpse of what my future in big law will look like. This conference, however, provided me with a new lens through which to view this future. It further demonstrated to me that there is no one way to achieve my goals.

Throughout the day, we listened to these alumnae speak on topics ranging from making partner to obtaining and retaining clients to having children. One theme that perhaps inadvertently but necessarily weaved its way through the day was the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong supporting network. In each panel, the women showed how finding mentors in the firm, keeping close those friends in and out of the law to provide you with guidance and assistance, and maintaining strong ties with your family were the fundamentals in helping us to realize our fullest potential.

No one woman had taken the same path. No one woman dominated the discussion. All day, I heard from women who love their jobs, love their families, and make it work for them everyday. It was without a doubt one of the most valuable experiences I have had at the law school and as a result gained a new level of insight into my career moving forward.

Laura Householder is a 2013 JD/MBA candidate. She graduated from Bucknell University in 2008 with a degree in Women’s Studies and French Literature. Prior to coming to William & Mary, she spent a year in Tours, France, teaching primary school English. This past summer she worked as a law clerk at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia and plans to return as a first year associate next fall.