Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Emily Cunningham

Emily Cunningham is an associate in the firm's Columbus office. She focuses her practice on technology as well as business growth and operation. Emily has gained valuable experience identifying issues that may impede corporate growth and has worked with clients to quickly resolve them.

Describe a pivotal moment that influenced your career path.

I decided to go to law school in college after I took a couple classes discussing legal concepts and interned at the Columbus Museum of Art. I found the subject matter in my classes fascinating and wanted to continue to learn about the law. However, I was interested in the arts, specifically museum curation and administration, so I interned for CMA, where I was introduced to different legal areas, including intellectual property, and realized that practicing law opened the door to many different topics and experiences in ways that few other careers offered.

What is the best advice you’ve received about how to be a successful attorney?

You have to determine your priorities and values before you begin practice and always track your time.

What are the biggest issues women lawyers face?

I think many of us, particularly young women lawyers, have strong cases of imposter syndrome. Many of us struggle to believe that we can succeed in the spaces in which we exist, and thus we don’t stand up for ourselves or display our authentic selves.

How has your previous experience helped you in your current role at Porter Wright?

As hard as law school was at times, it was also a wonderful place where I grew so much as a person. I gained knowledge, experience, and confidence that helped me feel more prepared than I otherwise would have been and more willing to challenge myself with difficult projects. I learned to take initiative over my projects, demonstrate leadership, and cultivate a circle of people who will challenge and encourage me. My fellow editors on Law Review were incredible people. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a year with smart, encouraging women and men who believed that we were better as a group than any one of us could be alone. My team experience there taught me about the value of working on a team of capable, dependable individuals.

What is the last book you read?

My last fiction read was This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber, and my last non-fiction read was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.