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Posted by: Jodie Williams on Sep 12, 2017

Guest Blog: Fear of Flying or Just Say Yes?

In spring 2017, I hosted a podcast for the ABA Section of Antitrust Law entitled, “Women in Antitrust.” I interviewed three outstanding women in the field: Lisa Phelan, Antitrust Division Chief for the Washington Criminal I Section of the Department of Justice; Tianna Russell, a trial attorney working with Ms. Phelan at the Department of Justice; and Kristen Anderson, a partner at Scott + Scott in New York (her firm also has an office in San Diego). 

Antitrust is economics-driven and particularly male-dominated, more so than many other areas of law. In the podcast, my guests discussed a range of topics relevant to women, from how to position yourself better in the workplace, to weathering the administration change (or any change in management, for that matter). While focused on antitrust practice, their words of wisdom transcend the antitrust niche and apply to any area of the law. I thought it was prime for posting here, and fortunately Lawyers Club agreed. (In that vein, I thought that a title with an homage to two famous women – one a great feminist author and the other an iconic first lady – was appropriate.)

One thing that Ms. Phelan said struck me in particular: Don’t be afraid to say yes. She explained that women often don’t say yes because we’re too afraid of failing. As a result, we count ourselves out from the get-go. As I listened to her, I found myself reflecting on several times in my own practice where I did not step up, take on more work within my cases, or participate in extra-curricular programs for fear that I might not have enough time. What if it took away from my kids? What if I took on too much? What if I failed? I was so concerned I would not succeed, that I took myself out of the running before I even got started. So, when Ms. Phelan later asked me to put together a proposal for a Women in Antitrust subcommittee for the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, I took a healthy dose of her advice. I said yes. 

Time will tell if our proposal is accepted, but I will be ready if and (hopefully) when it is. I hope the words of these women similarly inspire you. Please, take a listen

Guest blogger Jodie M. Williams is Counsel at MoginRubin LLP, a boutique antitrust firm in San Diego and Washington, D.C.


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