Vice-chair Labor & Employment Department // Cozen O’Connor
Description of your practice:
I represent (and lead teams representing) employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor relations matters before state and federal courts across the country and administrative agencies including EEOC, Department of Labor, and National Labor Relations Board. I have also established a nationally-recognized practice representing colleges and universities in faculty, staff, and student litigation.
Why are you a member of the WBAI?
The WBAI was instrumental in supporting my legal studies. In 1998 I was selected by the Women’s Bar Foundation to receive one of its selective scholarships to use toward my tuition at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. As a “returning” student (having been in the post-graduate workforce for 5 years before enrolling in law school) and funding my own legal education, the scholarship was a much-welcomed gift that helped ease the financial burden of law school loan debt. It was this support for emerging female talent that prompted me to join!
What are the qualities you have seen and admired in a senior female attorney you know?
My first mentor out of law school was a female intellectual heavyweight, one to whom I am forever grateful for taking a chance on me. Despite her legal prowess, she always treated me as a peer – as someone who had ideas, opinions, and contributions worthy of consideration. Not only did she treat me with that level of respect, but I saw her treat all of the many lawyers with whom she interacted with the same gracious baseline assumption that everyone deserves to be heard. While I could extol her many laudable attributes, that one gave me the voice that I have continued to exercise in the 20 years since meeting her.
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
Professionally speaking, I am excited to engage with the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (CLEL), having recently been elected as a Fellow. The organization is chartered to helping labor and employment attorneys from across the country set standards of professionalism and civility, through collective shared experience.
On a personal level, my oldest daughter, who was born just ten days before I graduated from law school, will be graduating with a fine arts degree in May of 2021. It has been the most fulfilling experience of my life to be the mother of two incredible daughters – both now young women. To have the opportunity to watch my oldest on the precipice of her own new journey through life brings me the most fulsome gratitude!
Tell us something interesting about you.
I have always been surrounded by strong, loving, whip-smart women. I am one of five female siblings; my sisters are my rocks. As children, we shared bedrooms and clothes, laughs and secrets. As adults, we support each other through career successes (and some failures), parenting joys and sadness, and a love for politics and humor. I would not trade my sisters for anything.