Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Melissa Murphy

Melissa Murphy is a partner in the firm's Litigation Department. She assists clients in complex business and commercial litigation, professional liability and contract disputes.

What are the biggest issues women lawyers face?

From my perspective, the greatest issue we face is balancing raising young kids, client needs, court deadlines and the ability to find time to develop a book of business.

What advice would you give to women just starting out at a law firm? What are some important first steps they can take to lay the groundwork for a successful career?

As an associate, your primary role is service the clients by treating the firm partners as your clients. Find a champion/mentor. This is an invaluable relationship. Do not limit yourself to one. Focus on learning to be a lawyer. Do good work, be prepared and be patient. Business development will happen, but you have to learn to be a lawyer first.

What part of your practice are you most passionate about?

My favorite part is working with clients to solve issues. Litigation is incredibly stressful for clients. Clients look to their lawyers for not only legal advice, but counseling and support. As a trial lawyer, I work closely with clients and witnesses to prepare for depositions and provide testimony. Learning what motivates someone and how to bring out the best in them is the best part of this profession for me.

What is most important when it comes to balancing your legal career alongside your interests outside of work?

The term balance in the legal profession is tricky, especially as a trial lawyer. Litigation comes in waves, almost like a rollercoaster. When preparing for trial, the case is the focus. When cases are in a less busy phase, I work hard to be intentional as to how I spend my time. This is a work in progress. I try hard to plan my week in advance to make sure the kids' schedules and activities are accounted for, and I work to find the time to plan workouts and fun activities for myself.