Mary Prendergast is a litigation partner in MoFo’s Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on litigating patent and trade secrets cases in district courts across the country and at the International Trade Commission. She frequently oversees the day-to-day strategy and management of complex litigation, from pre-suit investigation through trial and appeal.
What does the International Women’s Day theme “Each for Equal” mean to you?
Each for Equal asks each of us what we can do to help create a gender-balanced world. It reminds all of us to think about how we can create more opportunities for women, make ourselves heard, and help others understand the unique experiences and perspectives women can bring to any problem. As a member of the Women’s Strategy Committee at MoFo, I try to keep this in mind on a daily basis.
Tell us about the woman who most influenced your career and how she motivated you.
As a young associate, I got the chance to work with Rachel Krevans on a high profile case involving multiple trials, which was a springboard for my career as a trial lawyer. Rachel continued to create opportunities for me, which exposed me to other great trial lawyers at the firm and in the IP litigation space as a whole. She taught me to be fearless, but also to be the best-prepared person in the courtroom. Rachel passed away in 2017, but I think of her often, especially when facing a particularly hard problem – I find myself asking “what would Rachel do?”
What are some of the biggest opportunities for women in the workforce today? What changes have you seen over the course of your career that paved the way for women’s advancement?
When I began practicing law, no woman had ever chaired an AmLaw 100 firm. Since then, over a dozen have gotten that chance. The number isn’t nearly high enough, but I hope this trend will continue as firms and companies alike realize that having women in positions of power is not just something to highlight in your brochure – it is vital to any successful business.