Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Kristen Del Sole

Kristen Del Sole is a partner in the firm's Pittsburgh office. She focuses her practice on probate, estate and trust litigation. She has more than 20 years of experience in federal and state courts, and has extensive general litigation experience including both product liability and toxic tort. 

What made you want to focus in your practice area?

I have had the opportunity to participate on a variety of litigation matters that include insurance coverage, breach of contract, mass tort litigation and antitrust matters. These diverse experiences allowed me to develop my litigation skills, and I always enjoy working with new attorneys and developing new litigation strategies. As for probate litigation, I have been interested in Estates and Trusts from my first class at law school. I think that my genuine interest in the area and the amazing attorneys that I am able to work with, including our partner Chuck Pegher, helped me to focus and develop my practice. 

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

I am fortunate that I have an amazing role model, my father, who taught me that the practice of law is a profession and, as such, to be successful it was imperative to act like a professional. At its core, this means work hard, be truthful, be kind, guard your integrity, and remember that that your word is your bond. Lawyers talk and so do judges, how you conduct yourself in your practice and the reputation you gain are vital to a successful practice. Also, never send an email out of anger and only hit the send button after taking a breath to consider all the angles.

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

Realize that learning the practice of law takes time. You will need to ask questions, speak up, work hard and become invaluable on the team. I also think it is important to observe other lawyers in order to learn what you think is effective and ineffective, but maintaining your own identity is crucial. Find a good mentor who is someone that can help you develop your practice, set goals and give you feedback. I have found that good mentoring and having a solid network of female attorneys, which have evolved from colleagues to true friends, has proved invaluable to my professional growth.

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

There are two amazing charities that I have been involved with- Every Child and KidsVoice.

I have served on the Board and as the prior Board Chair for Every Child. Every Child is a local nonprofit that provides foster care, adoption services and in-home family preservation services for families facing serious emotional or behavioral disturbances, and medically related wraparound services. Every Child provides services to over 1,500 children and family members with the goal of providing every child the opportunity to grow up in a safe and nurturing home. If anyone is interested in learning more about Every Child or how to volunteer, additional information about can be found at www.everychildinc.org

I am also involved with KidsVoice, which is a non-profit agency that advocates in court and in the community to ensure a safe and permanent home for abused, neglected and at-risk children. Each year, KidsVoice represents nearly 3,000 children involved in the child-welfare system in Allegheny County’s Juvenile Court. These children range in age from birth to twenty-one and are of every ethnicity, race, gender and socioeconomic status, the majority being from families with incomes below the federal poverty guidelines.

I am so proud that Porter Wright has allowed me to start a pro bono program in the Pittsburgh office focused on helping represent KidsVoice clients in court. This is a great opportunity for to get involved in the community and truly make a difference in someone’s life. Information on KidsVoice can be found at www.kidsvoice.org

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

Hands down, my favorite thing to do outside of work is spend time with family. I am blessed that my family and extended family all live close and we get together often, usually at my house for dinner!