As part of MoFo’s Leaders of Influence campaign, Christine Wong, Global Co-Chair of Morrison Foerster’s Litigation Department, discusses being a woman attorney of color in a leadership role, what motivated her to become a leader, and how she supports diverse women associates beginning their legal careers.
Christine focuses her practice on investigations, white-collar criminal defense, and cross-border compliance matters. She draws on her unique background as an internal advisor and as a federal prosecutor when advising companies, boards, and executives on a variety of matters that present significant legal and reputational risk – including regulatory enforcement, internal investigations, and related civil litigation. She also provides ongoing compliance advice (for example, on antitrust, anti-bribery and corruption, and conflicts of interest) to corporate clients.
Describe your leadership style how you lead others. Is it different from your male counterparts?
I think it’s really important to listen to the team and work together to formulate a plan. Not only do other people improve my ideas (and hopefully vice versa!) but I also want to make sure that each team member feels that their contributions are important and valued.
What motivated you to step up and become a leader at the firm?
I have been fortunate enough to be offered a series of leadership opportunities with increasing responsibilities. While I have felt a bit out of my comfort zone with each new leadership role, the personal growth opportunities have been too important to turn down and each leadership experience has prepared me for the next challenge.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? What have you seen hinder a women leaders’ career?
Being afraid of new challenges. Thinking that you really have to be 100% in your comfort zone before taking on additional responsibilities.
As a leader, how do you stay mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing?
One of the most important tasks I have is answering questions about who would be best to handle specific types of matters or who would be best suited for particular clients. I make sure that I scroll through all potential candidates before offering names, and I make a conscious effort to not go back to the same people over and over.
In what ways do you support diverse women associates who are beginning their careers?
I make sure that my matters are staffed with diverse women associates and provide enough support to them so that they can succeed. My door is open and I’m happy to discuss anything—substantive work questions, work/life balance, book recommendations, hobbies, etc.!