Foley Podcast to Live Panel Discussion

29 July 2021 Foley Career Perspectives Blog
Authors: Alexis P. Robertson Amy B. Moynihan

Note: Thank you to co-author Joe Mankowski for contributing this post.

Foley’s Legal Talent & Development department recently hosted a Diverse Attorney Panel for law students.

Alexis Robertson, Director of Diversity & Inclusion led a discussion with a panel featuring, Byron McLain, Joanne Molinaro, Von Bryant, and Jessica Gonzalez. The panelists discussed life at Foley, gave advice on how students can navigate law firm interviews, and how to leverage one’s personal experiences to succeed in law.

Regarding the experience of being a diverse attorney, Joanne Molinaro and Jessica Gonzalez touched upon the importance of being proactive:

  • Joanne Molinaro: “Whether it’s the work that you want, or the clients that you want, or the opportunities that you want - the best way to achieve success in your professional career is to not just sit back and wait for things to happen to you. If you want community or diversity in your experience as a lawyer then you got to go out and look for it.”

  • Jessica Gonzalez: “There are more opportunities now then there were before, and I have found that especially at Foley, that I can pick up the phone and call different partners, and people are appreciative of having me do that … a lot of minority lawyers, we’re the first ones in the family to be lawyers, so we don’t have people walking us through and telling us what the ropes are. You have to create opportunities on your own. People are willing to help you, but you have to be proactive.”

When it came to interviewing as a law student and starting ones’ professional career, Von Bryant and Byron McLain expressed the importance of rising to the challenge and learning how to balance one’s confidence:

  • Von Bryant: “I want to get a sense that the person is a team player, and that they work hard, but I also want to hear about overcoming a challenge in a successful way - turning lemons into lemonade.”

  • Byron McLain: “I think a lot of times as a minority attorney we have to balance between being confident and not suffering from Imposter Syndrome. But at the same time, you have to be humble and figure out the right time to express confidence and humility."

Each of these attorneys were previously featured on Foley’s podcast ‘The Path & The Practice’, which explores the professional origin stories of the attorneys at Foley. Each episode of the podcast features a one-on-one conversation exploring an attorney’s unique background, path to law school, and path to Foley & Lardner.

To replicate this up-close experience from the podcast, Foley opened up four breakout rooms after the panel discussion. Law students were encouraged to listen to the podcast episodes in advance and attend these more intimate settings to ask their questions in an unscripted open forum. The four breakout rooms featured:

As one firm, Foley continues to work towards providing diverse and insightful experiences that reflect the world it serves.

If you’re a law student that missed the Diverse Attorney Panel event, or if you’d like to learn more about Foley, check out these links:

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Authors

Alexis P. Robertson

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Amy B. Moynihan

Director of Legal Recruiting

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