Catherine Chapple is a litigation associate in MoFo’s Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on advising industry-leading companies in high-stakes matters and complex civil litigation. She represents clients in the aerospace, health care, defense, security, and information technology industries.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a day to appreciate the incredible progress women have made. Some of the things women couldn’t do as late as the 1970s are shocking to us now because we’ve assumed the right so completely. Some examples: getting a credit card without a male cosigner, serving on juries in many states, and running in marathons. But, it’s also a great time to ask what’s left to do. How will we tackle the challenges that still remain and effect change for the next generation of women?
What advice would you give to the next generation of women who want to pursue a career in the legal industry?
Sometimes you won’t feel 100% ready when a great opportunity comes along — say yes anyway. Many of the best experiences in my career (and life!) have happened when I’ve stepped up to take on something I wasn’t sure I could do. Find mentors — male or female — who will push and support you (and it doesn’t have to be the same mentor who both pushes and supports). Be confident in your ability to figure it out and ask for the help you need.
How do you try to influence, join the conversation, or take action to build a gender-balanced world?
I have been so fortunate over the years to have fantastic sponsors and mentors, both men and women. In different ways, each has pushed me to take on new challenges and supported me to help me succeed. When you’re a young lawyer and the partner says you’re ready to argue a motion yourself, prepare an important witness, or run all or part of a case, you believe them and then you step up to make it happen. Now that I am more senior, I look for opportunities to give that kind of responsibility and mentorship to younger attorneys.
Read more Q&As from our global community of MoFo Women here.