Member Spotlight

Nora Devine

Associate Attorney // Steven B. Pearlman & Associates

Description of your practice:
Steven B. Pearlman & Associates represents dozens of commercial, industrial, multi-family, incentive and special use properties in Cook County and the Collar Counties, using our knowledge and experience to provide expertise and value to our clients.

Our practice handles real estate assessment issues for a wide variety of properties including, but not limited to: downtown high-rise buildings, commercial buildings, auto dealerships, restaurants, hotels, national big box retailers, landmarked properties, manufacturing facilities, residential buildings and incentive properties.

Why are you a member of the WBAI?  
I joined the WBAI because of the gender bias in the larger bar associations and the legal profession in general.  I found it very difficult to ‘break in’ to the ‘room where it happens’ in bar and other voluntary associations that are only comprised of 30% women or less.  In my own practice area, which has always been dominated by male-owned firms with very few female partners, I have found that the women in the field are more collaborative, less likely to view colleagues in other firms as competitors, and more likely to share information with one another for the benefit of the entire field. At this point, I join every women-specific voluntary association and committee I can find.  Associations with female leadership are just better at serving female professionals. Which is not to say we should be opting out of other associations.  Not at all, we need to do both.

What do you think is the best way to empower women in law?
The legal profession has a huge burnout rate for women.  Many female attorneys don’t make it through those difficult early years of motherhood.  If they try to rejoin after they drop out, their earnings never recover.  Even taking basic maternity leave can leave our skill sets and client relationships trailing behind our male contemporaries who aren’t taking similar amounts of time for their families.  Firms should consider forced parental leave for all parents after the birth of a child. Firms should get much more flexible and creative about keeping women in the work force. This may include better expectations and infrastructure around working remotely, creative plans for reduced schedules, and more support for lactating lawyers.  Most of all, clients hold the major key to empowering women in the law: No female partners?  No women working on your case?  Take your business elsewhere.

What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
In October of 2019, I announced my candidacy to be the next president of the Illinois Bar Association.  I have been energized by support from attorneys who appreciate my work on combating the unlicensed practice of law and defending the practice from illegal attacks from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. I have enjoyed traveling the state talking to members and non-members alike about what our lawyers need from their voluntary associations.  The ballots were emailed to members March 26th and the voting continues through the end of April.

Tell us something interesting about you.
My husband and I have a blended family – it’s a Brady Bunch plus one sort of situation. Between the two of us, we have seven children ranging from ages 16 to 2. The family logistics are a lot to balance with two legal careers, and we love living a full professional and home life.

Interested in being featured by WBAI? Members may submit an application to be considered for a feature.