Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Carrie Garrison

Carrie is an associate in the firm's litigation group. She focuses her practice in commercial, employment and environmental litigation and intellectual property.

What made you want to focus in your practice area?

My practice focuses on commercial litigation, but I have a particular interest in intellectual property, antitrust, and energy law. My passion for intellectual property law, particularly copyright, stems from my background in classical music, specifically violin and piano. When I started practicing law, I looked for ways to combine my interests and found intellectual property law as an area where I could provide value through my understanding of music and my interest in helping artists, composers and creators. Additionally, I developed an interest in environmental and energy law during law school when I competed in an energy and sustainability moot court competition. I briefed and argued issues relating to the Clean Water Act and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and found that I really enjoyed researching, writing and speaking about these complex and intricate areas of the law. Since starting at the firm, I have found antitrust to be a really interesting area of the law due to the firm’s work in this field and have developed this interest by writing articles for Antitrust Law Source

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

Mentors are a vital part of personal and professional growth and I have been fortunate to have had many mentors throughout my life. Most of my mentors have been my violin and piano teachers, who helped me to critically examine my musical technique and push me to my full potential. I have found that mentors have helped me see other perspectives, give valuable advice, and provide constructive criticism to encourage lifelong learning. 

What advice would you give to women just starting out at a law firm?

Women starting out at a law firm should feel comfortable to take up space and have their voice heard. I think this message is especially important for younger associates who are just starting to practice law. Whether reaching out to a partner in another office to talk about their practice or speaking up about case strategy, young associates should let their voices be heard and take charge of their careers.

Tell us about a charity, philanthropic activity you are involved and why?

I am on the board of directors for SteelTree, a grant organization that advances the local Pittsburgh Jewish community. As a director, I help evaluate applications and decide which projects to fund. I love this organization because the local projects and start-ups that apply for funding are passionate about the work they do and strive to make a difference in the community. It is also really rewarding when I see the grant awardees use the SteelTree funding to further their goals and make an impact within the community.

Tell us about your favorite thing to do outside of work.

During the pandemic, I took out my sewing machine and began learning how to make clothes. I learned how to design patterns and upcycle old clothes. It’s really amazing how many skills you can learn on YouTube! Much like the law, I enjoy that sewing is a lifelong learning process and always presents new challenges!