Megan Hottman on Running with the Bulls
Hottman “The Cyclist Lawyer” wrote this wonderful review for CTLA, where it can originally be found.
Hottman “The Cyclist Lawyer” wrote this wonderful review for CTLA, where it can originally be found.
I spent last Saturday at “In Goop Health,” the wellness conference hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop empire.
This was the third year I’ve attended the Los Angeles event, and it was the best yet. The conference seems to be moving away from woo-woo wellness-Coachella and toward a useful series of seminars and workshops. Sure, there were still ladies pulling down their leggings for B12 shots and I attended two sessions with intuitive mediums—it’s Goop, after all—but I got some practical takeaways too.
Argue effectively by finding your “true north”
I sat in a “confident communication” workshop with two trial lawyers, Courtney Rowley and Teresa Bowen Hatch. Rowley opened the session by saying, “we sue the shit out of insurance companies all the time” and adding that they only get paid if they win. (She was wearing a gold Rolex.) Here is an exercise that left me feeling empowered and another woman crying behind her sunglasses—I think in a good way.
First, buddy up. (This will work best if you only read/do one of the three steps at a time. I can’t stop you from cheating and looking ahead; just know I’d be disappointed.) Now think of a tough conversation that you’ve been avoiding or struggling with—maybe it’s with your partner, a boss, or a loved one:
1. Have your buddy set a timer for one minute and 20 seconds, and describe the situation.
2. Have your buddy set a timer for 30 seconds, and describe the situation.
3. Describe the situation in a single word.
Bam! I found this to be very profound, and like I said, at least one person cried. Afterward, Hatch said that distilling a situation down to a single word can give you a “true north” when it comes to a tough conversation. It leaves room for discussion, spontaneity, even tears, but you know where you’re headed and the single thing that you need to communicate. (My one word was “unrecognized,” but we can unpack that another day.)
From the day I announced I wanted to be a lawyer, the advice started pouring in. Many wonderful and well-intentioned mentors and colleagues said: “You should watch [insert male lawyer name here], he is the perfect trial attorney, tall and with a loud and authoritative voice that carries effortlessly through any room. He is the perfect lawyer. Be like him.” I have no doubt that many of us have heard similar advice at one time or another. If you want a book that will tell you how to be that “ideal” trial attorney, this is not that book. At the outset, Trial by Woman is not a book just for women. Certainly there is discussion of sexual harassment, balancing parenting and lawyering, and mental health. But let’s not pretend that these are just women’s issues. These are issues affecting all lawyers.
Nothing about reading this book felt like hard work; I couldn’t put it down. It is a blend between an overview of Rowley and Bowen Hatch’s “Trial Perspective” approach to a case and a pleasantly drawn out talk with your very cool, but blunt, mentors over a few beers. Trial by Woman is broken into five primary parts, each with a different concept. Parts 1-3 are rich with empowerment, and rooted in the core concept that women in the law are inherently valuable, as female litigators bring a unique skillset to the courtroom. This notion is what sets Trial by Woman apart from the rest. Rowley and Bowen Hatch’s thesis is that women are more adept at human connection – a skill all trial attorneys should embrace and emulate. Whether or not you agree that women excel at connection, it is irrefutable that an ability to connect with jurors and clients makes for a better lawyer.
In Part 4, Trial by Woman transitions into a discussion of the discrete parts of a trial and introduces Rowley and Bowen Hatch’s preparation- heavy and detail-orientated method of working up a case. Their approach is to focus on the facts that are important and meaningful to a jury – not to lawyers. Rowley and Bowen Hatch cover significant ground in this part of the book, but their approach to voir dire and opening statements resonated with me the most.
There, Trial by Woman delves into building connection in voir dire, capitalizing on the opportunity to have an open and genuine conversation with the jury. A successful voir dire develops a true understanding of the jurors that will be deciding the outcome for your client. An open courtroom filled with strangers is obviously an uninviting and intimidating environment, yet Rowley and Bowen Hatch suggest strategically breaking down the inherent formality of the courtroom by asking the jurors for brutal honestly and letting go of the fear that a juror will say something that will taint the entire panel. Bowen Hatch recollects telling a jury that she would be asking for “millions and millions of dollars.” This quickly became the defense’s punch line for the rest of the day. Instead of hurting the case, Bowen Hatch’s honesty, combined with steadfast politeness in the face of hostility, built lasting rapport with the jurors.
The focal point of this part of the book is the chapter on opening statements, which of course includes advice on building your connection with the jurors through opening statements. Rowley and Bowen Hatch offer a wide spectrum of advice – most salient of which is to undersell your case to build credibility; editing of your opening statement to only what you can confidently prove, and then editing it a little further, saving some of your hard-hitting points for the trial itself. They theorize through this reasonable approach (and meticulous preparation), you own the case and the jury will follow your authority.
The final two sections of the book have the same tone: honest advice that will help you go to war with your self-doubt. The authors offer a practical approach to very real problems female attorneys face on a regular basis – from what to wear, to how to balance your family and career. I’ll concede men are not the primary beneficiaries of Rowley and Bowen Hatch’s advice on how to deal with pregnancy during trial, but law is a business of human capital, and learning how to support your female partners and associates goes a long way. The message of Trial by Woman is straightforward and clear. To female trial attorneys: you are uniquely talented and suited to be a trial attorney, not in spite of the fact that you are a woman, but because you are. To the law firms who are not doing enough to recruit and retain women: your loss. That is a message I can get behind.
-Rachel E. Potter
Posted by Jessica Wolfe on April 16, 2019
By Isabel A. M. Cole
Originally published in the February 2019 issue of Trial News, the monthly newspaper of the Washington State Association for Justice.
Having been in three different careers that were dominated by men, I was interested to read this book to find out if it would tell me anything that I didn’t think I already knew. And when I was reading the very beginning of the book, I was thinking, “Nope, I already know this stuff.” But after the basic introductory information (which a lot of women who didn’t live through the sixties and seventies might find new and different) I was drawn in. I began to see bits of myself in the recitation of the mistakes that we make as young lawyers. One of the things that really resonated with me was them talking about the tendency to ask every question in the book in a deposition or during testimony, just so we wouldn’t miss anything because we’re not really certain, at that point, about what’s important and what isn’t. Guilty as charged. And I thought I was the only person who was doing that. And therein lies the beauty of this book.
How I wish I’d had this book in the year and a half between graduating law school and getting my first lawyer job. I incorporated my firm, but I never actually did anything under that name because I had no idea what to do. In Trial by Woman these veterans of the gender wars lay it out in straightforward directions. First of all, embrace what makes a woman different than a man; don’t try to change it. Many of us in trying to fit into a male-dominated field such as the law, try to change ourselves to fit the mold, rather than being who we are and trying to create a firm that fits us. This is so true on so many levels. And maybe the women who first had to fit in didn’t feel like they had that luxury. But the world is changing. And Ms. Rowley and Ms. Hatch show you just how to embrace that change and shape your firm to fit yourself, rather than the other way around. I refer to them by their last names out of respect, however, throughout the book they refer to themselves by their given names and recount so many personal experiences that you can’t help but get to feel that you know them.
And that IS our strength as women. We connect, we talk, we empathize, we feel things, and understand things, and create bonds, sometimes almost effortlessly. There is great power in that ability when you need to connect with a jury; when you need to get the jury to understand just how your plaintiff’s life has changed, how they have been forever altered by the event that the jury is now being asked to render judgment upon. What these women explain should be common sense, that our connection is a powerful tool. But many of us have to relearn that because we have been tamping that part down for a long time in order to fit into the legal world that existed up until it recently, slowly, started to change as more and more women came into the field. So, when I read it in the book, that we should embrace our strength, it was like a light bulb going on. Not one that was completely out, but one that had shorted out for a while and suddenly came on blazing again.
If Courtney and Theresa had stopped there (okay, yes now I’m calling them by their first names because as I talk more about this I am feeling that connection that makes using their first names seem appropriate rather than impertinent), then the book would be an interesting reflection on what it is to be a female in a field that has been traditionally male-dominated. But this book is so much more than that. They go into detail about the how-to of actually being a lawyer. They give instructions on how to do the things that all of us struggle with as young lawyers. What’s important in a direct examination? How do you get the most out of a cross-examination? How to breathe properly so you don’t sound nervous. How to take command of a situation. How to shut down inappropriate behavior from others. What things you need to do when you first open your own firm.
The advice doesn’t stop at tips and tricks for doing a good job as a lawyer. They also talk about putting your health and wellbeing front and center. This is something that I, along with a lot of other lawyers I’m sure, struggle with. I end up chained to the desk for hours on end. I never move despite my Fitbit screaming at me. They talk about how important it is to nourish ourselves, not just our bodies but our souls, while citing the statistics on abuse of alcohol and suicide in the legal field. They also talk frankly about having children and trying to meld being a mother with being a lawyer.
Despite the fact that much of this book can be used by men or women who are entering the law, the beginning of Part Six is directed at women. Although I think it would be helpful for men to read it as well, to know just how many everyday things men do, without a second thought, that women roll over and over in their minds trying to figure out if it will help or hinder their performance. They know they are being held to a different standard. The second part of Part Six asks men to join women in making the world a different place, not just in the law, but in everyday life.
But there is so much to this book, and it is broken down in segments where you can take what will help you and leave the rest. There are even forms such as a sample fee sharing agreement, a motion to request adequate time for voir dire, and a juror questionnaire. I’m sure later when I need the information, I will skip to parts as they become helpful in what I’m doing at the current moment. But I would recommend that you read the entire thing through, as it will possibly show you a world that you never knew existed. Or it might remind you to use the gifts that you’d forgotten you had after so many years of doubting their value. Definitely worth the read.
Take any woman whose career you admire—Serena, Mary Barra, RBG. There is a 100 percent chance that around her, there is a small army of people who support her, who have buoyed her along her path. In fact, a personal community that you can count on, that encourages you, is one of the markers of a great career. As Courtney Rowley and Theresa Bowen Hatch write in Trial by Woman, “When we make an effort to promote ourselves and one another, we foster our success and others’ success.”
It’s a solid reminder to prioritize the people in our lives, both in and out of the office—and it’s also a theme that runs through these six brilliant books. (Spoiler alert: Turns out that the most effective way to get ahead in your professional trajectory is also the way to get ahead in your life—nurture your relationships.)
In 2010, Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, friends from their days at the University of Chicago, launched Of a Kind, a site that sells limited-edition clothing, art, and accessories. Visiting the site feels like shopping at a really cool West Village boutique, where everything is thoughtful and different and you kind of want to buy it all. Of a Kind took off, and next thing Cerulo and Mazur knew, they were being called tastemakers. Since then, they’ve launched a roundup newsletter, produced a thoughtful podcast, and most recently released this book. In it, the cofounders write about how their business was born out of friendship and how their evolving “work wife” relationship with each other became their greatest currency for building a successful company. It’s insightful and fun, which is on par with everything these women do. The topics are varied and important—setting boundaries, managing expectations, exposing vulnerability. And Cerulo and Mazur complement their stories with anecdotes from other successful “work wife” partners—Lizzie Fortunato founders Kathryn and Elizabeth Fortunato and Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52. Cerulo and Mazur told us that they hope the book awakens readers to the power of women’s work relationships. “There is so much that can be leveraged from them,” says Cerulo.
“Pivot” is a popular word. It’s used in the same sentence with “entrepreneurs” and “burned-out corporate leaders.” It’s become the modern answer to having more money, freedom, and happiness. But it’s also elusive. What does it mean to pivot? How does one go about a career pivot? And when should all this pivoting take place? Writer and journalist Sara Bliss breaks it down in Take the Leap. She interviews more than sixty professionals who made turns—huge, huge—turns to shake up their working lives. One went from administrator of a trust to safari ranger. Another from Wall Street trader to vintner. goop favorite Angie Banicki tells her story of going from publicist to tarot card reader. The stories are honest. No one claims change was easy or quick. And each story is wildly different. But the connecting thread is simple: The pivot is always worth it. And putting great relationships first is key. Take the Leapis a series of first- and third-person essays peppered with quick, digestible takeaways—an inspiring read for anyone who might be ready to move to Sayulita and open a fish taco place.
Anyone who has ever had a direct report knows one of life’s truths: Managing is hard. There’s no guide to becoming a manager. At least, there wasn’t for Julie Zhuo, which is why she wrote The Making of a Manager. A product design executive, Zhuo started managing her team when she was only twenty-five—and she really didn’t know how to handle the role. She figured it out—and lucky for us, she took notes along the way. Those notes became a series of articles—and eventually this book. It’s full of thoughtful advice on how to build trust, boost morale, and lead in an admirable way. Zhuo is generous. She gives raw examples of her mistakes and triumphs and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. We particularly enjoyed her take on imposter syndrome: “It’s so common that instead of pretending like we are all ducks gliding effortlessly on the surface of the water, we should own up to the furious paddling that is happening beneath.”
“The secret, dear sister, is that it isn’t a man’s world unless you believe it is.” And if that’s not enough to get your attention: “It’s a woman’s world.” Lawyers Courtney Rowley and Theresa Bowen Hatch say that Trial by Woman is a guide to women in the legal profession—but even if you never took the LSAT, there are real, valuable takeaways from their work. The book actually reveals a wider truth: The working world is not the clichéd old men’s club it used to be. We—all women—can own it. The book is meant to lead by example. Like so many of us, Rowley and Bowen Hatch learned some valuable lessons the hard way—whether by messing up an opening statement or taking on an abusive client. Some chapters are heavy on litigation specifics. If you’re not a lawyer, you might want to skip to the end of those chapters to the moral takeaways—they’re universal: Women need to honor their intuition, lean in to their emotions, and take time for themselves and their family. We also need to always be for one another because this “creates an abundance.” Our favorite one: “The power to be more, to do more, to give more, is all within you.” That is something we can all benefit from reading and hearing more often.
Who among us hasn’t wasted time obsessing over the small things in our career? What did that email really mean? Why wasn’t I invited to that lunch? We’d wager: not many. Marketing consultant Liz Fosslien and organizational designer Mollie West Duffy (she studies companies’ workflows) dissect the emotions wrapped up in our jobs and how they impact everything from our communication to our motivation to our health. Fosslien and West Duffy show us how to handle the emotions of it all by unpacking biases, work relationships, and, when necessary, burnout. One of our favorite segments dives into how emotions can spread through an office like a bad flu. “We can catch another’s feelings through an automatic process called emotional contagion,” they write. “Whether you’re chatting with a coworker in the elevator or reading an email she sent you from halfway across the world….” This book isn’t a panacea that purports to cure every negative thing—because really, “each workplace is different, and every person brings unique contexts and experiences to the office.” But it is a useful guide on how to be less stressed, more productive, and simply happier on the job. And who among us wouldn’t want that?
The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris
It was 1988. Kamala Harris and nine other clerks were arriving at the courthouse in Oakland for orientation for a summer internship before her last year of law school. Harris was one of two women. “In that male-dominated world, it was refreshing to have at least one female colleague,” she writes, telling us that the two became close friends. This theme of female camaraderie is fitting: Harris has been navigating male-dominated waters her entire career, during her tenure as the district attorney of San Francisco, then as the attorney general of California, and currently as a US senator. But she never tells her story as a fight against a dominating male energy (or racial biases, or corporate control, or systemic injustice). In Harris’s eyes and words, hers is a battle for something: a society that is just, safe, inclusive. Her vulnerability and honesty come through on every page, as does her connection with the women in her life—her constants, her rocks—who made her who she is.
We are so excited to share the news that we will be speaking at In goop Health in downtown LA in May. goop says, “In both cities, GP and our chief content officer, Elise, will host panels and chats with cutting-edge doctors and scientists, thought leaders, and some of the women (and men) who inspire us the most. There’ll be restorative workshops and classes—for the spirit, for the body, for the mind, and for beauty—plus our signature retail hall, food, and drinks.”
Don’t miss out on this incredible experience in Southern California. Learn and experience new knowledge and information from top professionals in a multitude of fields. We’re looking forward to networking and enjoying all that the classes and workshops have to offer.
In Partnership With Goop - Original Article Here
It’s not easy to ask for a raise. But it may be marginally easier when you know every man around you (with equitable experience and skill) is making more than you. Still, there’s that moment when you have to look someone in the eye—someone who could take away your health insurance and retirement plan and entire income in the blink of an eye—and say: I believe I am worth more.
Effectively communicating your worth is a pillar of what Theresa Bowen Hatch and Courtney Rowley practice. They’re lawyers who specialize in basically balancing an imbalanced world. And when they’re not fighting for their clients, they’re teaching confidence communication to women of all professions via workshops, speaking engagements, and mentorship. Because it touches “all aspects of women’s professional and personal lives,” says Rowley—whether it is communicating about love, friendship, justice, respect, or in the case of our conversation, fair pay.
Bowen Hatch and Rowley want all women to be able to communicate confidently and consciously. Which is why they founded Trial by Woman, a network of female lawyers, “to encourage women to seek out mentors and partners, to communicate openly about money and workload allocation, and to jointly set expectations.” There’s a lot more than money at play here. Speaking up about fair compensation is another way of fighting for justice and fighting for what’s right—for ourselves, our daughters, our fellow women, and our future.
(If you want more of Bowen Hatch and Rowley’s outlook, check out their book, Trial by Woman, which we’ve written about here.)
You’ve both said that when someone is underpaid—hourly, daily, weekly, or yearly—that is an injustice. What’s behind that?
Rowley: There is nothing more valuable than a person’s time. It is irreplaceable. Once time is gone, you can never get it back. Corporations, businesses, employers that pay less because they can get away with it are inflicting injustice and damage on our society and economy. It’s cheap and wrong. When we don’t stand up against it, we are part of the problem and we are participating in lowering the bar and allowing other people to be treated the same.
What we are seeing now is how powerful one person’s actions, the courage of one person, can be—and how that can impact and help so many. Knowing that standing up for ourselves means we are making the world a better place for other humans is a big motivator that gives some people the courage to insist on full, fair compensation and justice for themselves—because sometimes it is easier to stand up for others than it is to stand up for ourselves.
Bowen Hatch: What makes me sad is that despite the world knowing about this injustice, in most places and professions, women are still making eighty cents on the dollar compared to men. And a more horrible injustice exists, which is the fact that the figure is a lot less than eighty cents on the dollar for women of color. Even that isn’t the end of the story. There’s ample research that tells us that mothers are hired less frequently, promoted less frequently, and not given the schedule flexibility they need to raise their children. And make no mistake: Those practices—all of them—are discriminatory and illegal. But because we’ve lived with these conditions ourselves and have heard stories passed down for so many generations, they inevitably affect our view of our own self-worth.
There is so much good work that still needs to be done in our country, and fixing the problems here is just the beginning—because this is a worldwide problem that is much worse in other countries. What we have to do is commit to insisting on nothing less than the full value of what a person is worth, beginning with ourselves and those close to us. Otherwise, we are contributing to and allowing the indignity of humanity as a whole.
But sometimes it’s hard to find the courage. Asking for more can be scary. What if the answer is no? What if you have to walk away from a job? What’s your advice for people faced with this dilemma?
Rowley: Fear of rejection is one of the worst fears. And yes, for some people, walking away from compensation, employment, negotiation can be very scary.
Believing in ourselves is the first step. Next, we must—absolutely must—understand and believe that it’s not greedy to insist upon and to tell others that we should be compensated for nothing less than 100 percent of what our time is worth. Anything less is an injustice. Big companies, insurance companies, corporations, the government, those in power are used to getting away with paying less. It’s often connected with greed. But it continues because we allow it to. And oftentimes we don’t even say a word and instead accept and go along with it. When we do this, we are part of the problem.
We need to reverse the fear by getting the source of the injustice to realize the consequences. They need to realize that if they continue to treat people cheaply, they will be exposed.
Bowen Hatch: We have to be committed to whatever we do. When we walk in the door or sit down to negotiate, we need to be confident. One way to do that is to have a backup plan in place that gives us the power to walk out. That will affect how we hold ourselves, what we say, and how we say it. Confidence is such an important part of effective communication—and so much of that is driven by your belief in yourself. That’s communicated by your energetic field, your aura, your vibe, whatever you want to call it. If you ask for something you don’t think you deserve, you won’t get it no matter what you say because the nonverbal communication—the energetic communication—is stronger and trumps the words.
Shame or embarrassment often surrounds the topic of money. How can we start to shift this conversation?
Rowley: There is such stigma around women talking about money, and it doesn’t serve us. Maybe that’s because when we talk about money, we talk about desire, and a lot of us (not just women) have been taught not to talk about our desires. Every time I made money, I would become afraid of it: I’d be afraid it would stop coming in, afraid it would disappear, afraid it wouldn’t be enough. And then I would feel guilty for having made it.
When women are intentional about money—the value of irreplaceable time, the fact that anything less than full value is an injustice—they reframe the conversation. We need to stop asking for money and reframe the issue in our minds and the way we communicate. “Don’t ask, do tell” has become our motto as trial lawyers. When we ask, we are not in a position of strength and confidence. And we give whoever it is we are asking the permission to say no. This is an irony for many women because historically women haven’t gotten to tell, and many times, others have not asked from them; they’ve just taken.
Bowen Hatch: Money has always been about status in our country. The idea of the haves and the have-nots is deeply woven into the fabric of our nation. All families have certain narratives about money, and those influence how their children relate to money. We all have that ingrained in us. (If you reflect, it’s likely easy for you to identify the narratives around money that came from your family of origin and to trace how those beliefs influence your relationship to money today.) Identifying those themes and tracking how your family’s beliefs have influenced you are the first steps toward making shifts for yourself.
Another way we have found to shift our core beliefs about money is the way we look at it in our own lives. I see money as a way that I can make positive change on the planet. I control my money just as I control my time. Intention goes a long way. No one else has a say unless I allow them to.
And what about greed?
Bowen Hatch: We have heard the words “greed” and “greedy” used in conjunction with what we do as trial lawyers countless times. What’s interesting is that our experience is actually the reverse. We see greed coming from big business, corporations, the government, and insurance companies—the ones with the most power, money, and control. This greed—the willingness to do whatever it takes to pay people less than what they are truly worth—is what gives us our purpose as trial lawyers. The moment that insurance company, big business, and corporate greed ceases to exist is the time we get to take a break. We don’t see our early retirement coming anytime soon.
What is the best approach for negotiating a raise?
Bowen Hatch: Take our “Don’t ask, do tell” approach. Think: I’m worth this much. I’d love to stay here, I’d love to take this job, I’d love to continue working here, but I can’t. I owe it to myself. And I owe it to other women to not work for less than what I’m truly worth. And if I’m ever in a position where I get to decide how to compensate people, I will make sure to pay them what they are truly worth.
Rowley: When you walk into a supervisor’s, manager’s, or owner’s office, reframe how you talk about the issue. Be very clear about the purpose of your communication. Start by saying something kind and true about how much you appreciate the opportunities you have and how you envision the future, but that in order to continue doing the job or take the contract, you need to be paid X amount. Kindly explain the reasons why. Cite the statistics that women are getting paid 80 percent of what men get paid in our country, if that fits as an evidence-based justification for what you deserve. Or maybe it has nothing to do with what men get paid, and what you are entitled to is based purely upon who you are, what your time is truly worth, and what a badass you truly are. It could be that in order to do the work and have the lifestyle you want, you need to make more money or charge a certain amount to have that lifestyle.
Bowen Hatch: By being up front about what you’re asking for, you’re giving the person you’re talking to a framework to help them really hear you and consider what you’re asking for. If you come in and beat around the bush, your audience is not paying attention. She’s trying to figure out what you’re talking about and what you want. “Good morning, I’m here to talk to you about increasing my compensation package” gets you right to the point—and the person is now listening for the information that will move her.
You both are business owners. What has this experience taught you about being an employer? And an employee?
Bowen Hatch: At every level up the chain of a business or corporation there are people making the decisions. Working for an employer and dealing with an organization often requires an evidence-based approach and insisting on fair pay in writing. But what also helps move the needle and make change is enlisting help, having others advocate on your behalf. This is how we effect change and have a greater impact than simply helping the individual making the case. A great example of this on a much larger scale is the 2018 movement in Hollywood demanding equal pay for female actresses. The women demanded it, and the men supported them. Joined voices—no matter the gender—are powerful.
Rowley: We both had employers for many years before we had our own businesses. As lawyers for serious injury victims and families, the burden is on us, which means it’s on us to show why the humans we represent deserve a certain amount of civil justice and money. We decided years ago that this conversation doesn’t need to be harsh or confrontational. It can be quite the opposite.
The most successful approach is a collaborative one: “Good morning, here’s what this is all worth. Let us show you why, based on the evidence and the law, we have an opportunity to do something great together.” This is called civil justice. Be confident, civil, and kind, and let others know that accepting anything less will make you a part of an injustice that you cannot be a part of as a self-respecting, confident woman.
Bowen Hatch: Through our experience litigating cases, we have spent a lot of time talking to jurors, voters—Americans. What we’ve learned is that most people inherently want to do what’s right. What we’ve seen is that even in our current political climate, people from different states, different religious beliefs, different economic backgrounds all have something in common: They want to make the world a better place, and they are offended by the notion of people being treated cheaply. Most people want to do the right thing if their eyes are opened to the injustice.
What’s a barometer for knowing what you deserve to be paid?
Bowen Hatch: We have to start with the basics. There are plenty of resources out there about pay ranges in a given field. But where the real work comes is doing an honest assessment of how you are showing up in this job, in this position; what your true commitment is to what you’re doing; and the true value of what you’re bringing to the table. We all have moments when we’re not fully present—maybe we’re really phoning it in—but looking at the norm for you, how much energy and presence and value and spirit are you bringing to what you do day in and day out? Let’s acknowledge that and be honest with ourselves about how much value we’re really bringing to the table. The pay ranges in a field are guidelines and customs and starting points for information, yes. Your heart and your true, authentic presence in what you’re doing and the presence and awareness and energy you bring are what will ultimately determine how your value is perceived and understood and recognized by others.
How does broaching this topic impact other women—and society?
Rowley: How we think and talk about compensation and money significantly impacts all women and our society as a whole. If we don’t start to think and talk differently about it, we are remaining silent, which is fuel for more injustice. Silence is a tool of oppression. It stops women, minorities, and less-advantaged humans from being treated equally.
This is an incredible time. We are experiencing a shift in consciousness that has the potential to be a massive shift that can effect great change. People are speaking up. The wind is in our sails, but it’s up to us to navigate and keep our ships pointed in the right direction. How we value ourselves and others right now will define the future of civilization, its systems, its people. We need to work hard now, refuse to remain silent and be part of the oppression—not for us, but for our children and our children’s children.
Bowen Hatch: As we grow and move toward the highest and best versions of ourselves, something in us lights up and we stand as an example to the people around us. We lift other people up just by being present and being examples of growth and courage. Sometimes that growth and courage are as simple as being willing to talk about something.
You’ve talked about women amplifying other women. What does this mean?
Rowley: We all have such great power and courage within us. When women have one another’s backs, when we set examples for one another, we become unstoppable. Amplification is a strategy that is attributed to women working in the Obama White House. As the story goes, some women found that it was tough to exert influence in certain meetings. They didn’t feel their voices were being heard. They developed an amplification strategy. If a woman made a point and it wasn’t acknowledged, another woman would make the point again and give the first woman credit. When a reporter was trying to track down the source of this story and was sharing the story with other women around Washington, women across the D.C. metro area started adopting the strategy, and it took off.
Bowen Hatch: Amplification is something we can do in public and in the workplace. Commit to amplifying as many women as you can. Repeat their ideas. Give them credit. Compliment their work, their lives. This is something that all of us have the power to do on a daily basis: Make a conscious effort to talk about women and their achievements. It’s time to shift the collective conversation and consciousness.
Rowley: By standing together with dignity, transparency, and—importantly—civility and respect, we can change our country, the world, and our future. I love this quote by Dr. Cornel West: “Love is what justice looks like in public.”