As part of MoFo's Leaders of Influence campaign, Purvi G. Patel, Managing Partner of the firm's Los Angeles Office, discusses her leadership style, her motivation for becoming a leader, and how she supports diverse women associates who are starting their careers.
Purvi G. Patel represents retail, e-commerce, and other consumer-oriented businesses in significant advertising, unfair competition, consumer fraud, and privacy matters. She has built a robust practice advising household names on various compliance issues and defending them in complex and class action litigation in federal and state courts across the country, winning motions to dismiss, defeating class certification, and securing summary disposition in several multimillion dollar lawsuits. Purvi is a strategic and practical thinker who is in tune with her clients’ priorities, which leads to successful outcomes both inside and outside the courthouse.
Describe your leadership style how you “lead” others. Is it different from your male counterparts?
It is very important to me that people know they have a voice and that they can and should use it. I am a consensus builder by nature, but I am also decisive when I need to be. I look for and value input, including, most importantly, from those I know think differently than I do and have different priorities. In the end, I want to make sure that people feel like the decision I made is fair, even if it was not what each of them preferred or would have chosen. I can’t say if this style is different from my male counterparts, as fairness is something I believe MoFo values, but perhaps my process and mindset may differ simply because of who I am.
What motivated you to step up and become a leader at the firm?
I’ve been fortunate to hold both firmwide and office-specific leadership roles, and I was motivated for a number of reasons to take on those roles. Part of it was the stretch opportunity for me personally. Part of it was being able to have some role in making change. And part of it was for the pipeline—it’s important for younger and aspiring lawyers to see a diverse woman in those roles.
In what ways do you support diverse women associates who are beginning their careers?
I believe in the value of honest, authentic relationships that run both ways. I try to be generous not just with my time, but also myself. For example, I speak candidly about the challenges I faced as my career progressed in the hope of helping younger lawyers feel like they are not alone or that what they may be experiencing is not insurmountable. It’s important to me to create “safe spaces” and I treat what I learn through mentoring as sacrosanct, keeping what is shared with me confidential.
What leadership skills are you continuing to work on?
All of them! I am constantly evolving as my work (and the environment where I work) evolves. That means my skills must evolve too, and different challenges require honing different skills. I can’t be a strong leader if I am not continually assessing and working on the skills necessary for effective leadership.
Were there any surprises you faced after becoming a leader at the firm?
I hadn’t realized that I was making a difference simply by being myself in my leadership roles. It’s been so rewarding to hear from staff and attorneys at the firm how much a decision I made meant to them personally or that they simply felt comfortable bringing their challenges to me. Knowing that my colleagues trust me and trust my judgment is incredibly rewarding.