Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Jill Okun

Jill is a trial lawyer with extensive experience representing clients in matters related to commercial contracts, product liability, litigation management, toxic tort, class actions, bankruptcy litigation, RICO and antitrust. Jill defended and managed the occupant safety product liability litigation throughout the U.S. for a leading global automotive system supplier. 

Describe a pivotal moment that influenced your career path.

Pivotal moments tend not to be self-made, but rather created by the vagaries of circumstance and fortuity. For me, I had a friend and a client working in the automotive sector who needed litigation assistance. Eager to help, I seized the opportunity, worked hard and became an automotive product liability attorney, something I never would have imagined.

What advice do you wish you could give your younger self, just starting out in the legal field?

Have more self-confidence and be more aggressive.

What are the biggest issues women lawyers face?

Although there has been substantial progress for women in the legal field, there remains substantial inequity in both leadership opportunities and compensation, especially in private firms. Female-to-female mentoring is an invaluable tool toward gender equality.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would he/she be and why?

Eliza Hamilton comes to mind. As someone who enjoys history, it would be uniquely interesting to speak with a prominent woman of that era to get her perspectives on gender roles, family and politics.

Complete the sentence: “If I wasn’t an attorney, I would be a…”

If I wasn’t an attorney, I would be a clinical psychologist. What makes people tick and why has always interested me and is something I enjoy exploring.