Empowered: Investing in Women Lawyers

McAfee & Taft is proud to partner with The University of Tulsa College of Law to encourage, support and empower its women law students.

Our annual signature event, “Off the Record,” offers students a networking experience like no other with successful women lawyers from the bench, private practice, nonprofits and industry.

Christy Caves, director of professional development, University of Tulsa College of Law: “TU Law is currently ranked first in Oklahoma and 15th in the nation in employment statistics. We attribute that to many things. We attribute that to the wonderful opportunities that our alumni, like Ms. Blue and McAfee & Taft have provided today. Networking is a huge part of obtaining positions. In fact, 80% of positions are obtained through networking. So having a venue like this where our law students can not only learn to network, but also network, provides them with tools that they can use now, and throughout their legal career. There are over 800 things that you can do with a law degree. For the students to come in and be exploring careers, and wanting to learn what’s out there, this is a great venue for them to learn from esteemed women who have successful careers in many different areas of practice, from non-profit, to government, to private practice, to in-house counsel positions.”

Julia Forrester-Sellers, assistant general counsel, SemGroup Corporation: “Well, I think that the title kind of speaks for what it really is about, it being off the record. And it really, it opens up everyone to feel comfortable to ask those questions that you may not, you may not have a family member that’s a lawyer, you may not have anyone that’s a friend, or ever even met a practicing lawyer before you decide to go to law school, necessarily, and it gives them a safe space to ask what they want to ask.”

Kelly Greenough, district judge, 14th Judicial District: “Law students with opportunities and access to practitioners is critical, because in my opinion, that’s where mentorship relationships can develop. I strongly believe in the power of mentors to affect your career. They absolutely have affected mine, and they need, in the best environment, they develop organically, and this is exactly where that seed gets sown. You meet people here, or maybe you wind up working with them at some point in the future, or maybe you’re in an Inns of Court group with them, but you learn to develop relationships in groups like this, that can lead to mentorship, and so that is an important aspect of this event, in my opinion.”

Rachel Blue, McAfee & Taft attorney and shareholder: “I’ve certainly participated in mentoring programs, and I think that they can be really valuable. I think they’re more valuable when they’re personal in nature, where that relationship’s developed in an organic way. What I love about this event, is that you have an opportunity to meet lots of different women who might become good mentors for you, and who are willing to share their stories with you. And that’s the real value in mentoring. I think it’s difficult to just try to match people up in some kind of matrix, and hope that somehow they’re going to have an effective relationship. I think this event fits into mentoring, because it offers you opportunities to see lots of different people, and find out where they came from and how their stories match up with yours and what value they can bring to you.”

Lyn Entzeroth, dean and professor of law, University of Tulsa College of Law: “What I get out of it, ’cause I get to see a lot of people that I know, and I really enjoy catching up with if I haven’t seen them in a while. I’m hoping my students get to meet new people and get to ask the questions that they feel that they can’t ask in a job interview. One of the things I like too, is helping steer my students to have those conversations. So, if a student have never done anything like this before, helping them get a glass of water or a glass of wine, walk over and start that conversation, and then I step back and the student takes over. And that’s a great feeling. I love watching our students grow and blossom.”

Valeria Rivera, law student, University of Tulsa College of Law: “So, what attracted me to this event was the fact that so many women attorneys were going to be here. And usually we get lots of input from male attorneys, and so I thought it would be a great idea to network with women in the Tulsa area, and see what their experience has been in the law.”

Janay Clougherty, assistant public defender, Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office: “I think the most helpful program available at TU Law, is the externship program, which I actually found out about at this event, if I remember correctly. I interned with Judge Keen through that program, and made a lot of connections and networked with female attorneys that I then knew when I would come to this event. Being surrounded by women in leadership roles throughout your entire education in law absolutely changes your perspective, and I think for the better.”

Julie Torralba, law student, University of Tulsa College of Law: “I mean the message is, you see her, and when you see her, you will be her. I really do take pride in TU, in that they do have a large amount of people that are women in those high roles, as deans, and they show that they can run things, and they’re doing a great job.”


March 8, 2019