WLALA Profile –WLALA’s Incoming President, Amy Brantly
by Andrea Schoor
Congratulations on being elected WLALA’s next president! Thank you, on behalf of WLALA’s members, for all the hard work, time and dedication you have devoted to WLALA since you first joined WLALA nine years ago. What has being a member of WLALA meant to you?
I joined WLALA because I had three kids under the age of 5 and was struggling to balance motherhood and working at a premier litigation firm. My kids and I were always sick and I was feeling like a failure at both my job and as a mother. I needed some support from peers who were going through the same thing. Stacy Horth-Neubert, who I met at a Fordham Law alumni event and is WLALA’s Immediate Past-President, suggested that I join WLALA. So, I did. It really changed me in so many ways. Being around so many amazing women who juggle so many things made me realize that I could do it too, that I could do it on my own terms, and that I could have both a rich family life and a fulfilling career (without guilt!).
What does being elected president of WLALA mean to you?
It means that I am a very lucky woman. I get to preside over two amazing Boards and work towards WLALA’s mission. I am confident that we can do great things this year!
What are some of your goals for WLALA this year?
These are interesting times and many feel that women’s rights are under attack. I am hoping that WLALA can shine a light on injustice and work toward positive change in the areas of legislation, reproductive rights, criminal justice, pay equity, partnership equity, and career development.
What inspired you to found a law firm?
First, I found the most amazing people to start a firm with – meaning people who I loved working with and who had a similar vision of what a firm should look like and be like. I also always wanted to be my own boss. Finally, I wanted to build a respected litigation boutique with a friendly, casual atmosphere. Litigation can be such a stressful job with long hours – I want to work with people who I like, admire and who inspire me to be a better lawyer every day.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your legal career?
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge was having small children and working as a litigator. It was exhausting and I can certainly see why many women choose to leave the legal profession when they have young kids. I never had the financial ability to stop practicing and, looking back, I am very glad that I didn’t, because I likely would have quit. Now that my kids are older (ages 15, 12 and 9) I feel blessed to have both a rich career and family life. But, I’ll be the first to admit that my 30’s were a difficult time.
What are some of the biggest issues you see facing women attorneys today?
Pay equity and promotion to partnership are top among the list. Work-life balance is also always of concern to many women who are torn in many directions and spread incredibly thin. I’d also add discrimination (both overt and implicit) that denies many competent, women attorneys opportunities that their male counterparts often get.
What advice do you like to give to new female attorneys?
Speak up in meetings, make sure you get credit for your work, and always act confident (even if you're not).
What are some of the things you do when you aren’t working or giving your time to WLALA?
I have two kids in club soccer, so if I am not working, I am probably watching soccer or driving to some tournament 40 miles away. Any time I get “me time,” I spend it shopping, working-out, reading or sleeping.
When you think about the future of women in the legal profession, what gives you the most hope?
In-house counsel are increasingly sensitive to making sure that they hire firms with diverse teams and many are committed to making sure that the women they work with get origination credit (or a portion of it). This is tremendously helpful in making women partners and improving their compensation. I am also inspired by several judges who now require in their standing orders that junior attorneys have opportunities to appear before them for oral argument. These people are making a difference.
Andrea Schoor is the WLALA Business Development Committee Co-Chair. Ms. Schoor is Senior Counsel at Allen Matkins.