Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Tami Kirby

Tami practices in the areas of creditors' rights, real estate, and commercial and business transactions. She routinely represents financial institutions and businesses in all aspects of creditors' rights, including the rights and remedies available under the Uniform Commercial Code, the Bankruptcy Code, and applicable state law. 

What are the biggest issues women lawyers face?

I think that one of the biggest issues that women lawyers face is the juggling act of trying to balance family commitments with the practice of law. I don’t believe that this is a unique issue to women lawyers, but rather is something that all working women (and working men) have to balance and find the path that works best for them. The other issue that women lawyers sometimes face is the fact that the practice of law remains a male dominated field. As such, a women lawyer may have to learn to be more vocal and aggressive than she may otherwise be in order to make certain that her voice is heard.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

My older brother has always had special needs that have required extra medical care and assistance. Through the years, I have watched my mom tirelessly advocate on my brother’s behalf to ensure that he received the services and programs that he needed in order to improve his quality of life. I believe that seeing my mom as such a staunch and fierce advocate for my brother has provided me with the gumption and wherewithal to be more assertive myself and has helped me to evolve into the leader that I am today.

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

If I could have dinner with anyone it would be my grandma. Hopefully, she would make me my favorite dish for dinner and we could sit and catch up about all that has happened over the last 19 years or so since her passing. My grandma was a true blessing and a pioneer for the generations of women that came after her. I would love to sit down and discuss with her how the world has further evolved and changed since her passing.

What is one must-read book for female business leaders?

I enjoyed, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg. For a different perspective, I also enjoyed the article published in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” by Anne-Marie Slaughter.

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

For myself, I spent many years solely focused on my career to the unfortunate detriment of some personal relationships. If I could give my younger self some advice, it would be to remember that life, both professionally and personally, is all about the relationships that we have with those around us and not to take those relationships for granted.