In celebration of Women's History Month, Chartwell Law’s women attorneys share their views on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their personal and professional lives. This week, Megan Dougherty, Abbey Lacheen and Hema Mehta discuss how they view their roles as leaders among women.
Megan Dougherty (Valley Forge, PA): I was named partner at Chartwell Law right before I went on maternity leave. As a mom and the first female to be named a non-equity partner at the firm, I make every effort to be a role model for the next generation of female attorneys. I value my professional and family lives and constantly strive to maintain my own work/life balance – hopefully showing younger women that it's possible, and fulfilling, to succeed in both.
Abbey Lacheen (Moorestown, NJ): I began my career as a young female associate attorney right out of law school in a field of mainly older men. Walking into court or depositions, it was often assumed that I was the court reporter. I recall sitting in court in a room full of older, male attorneys fighting for my clients and having to be as aggressive as possible to ensure that my arguments were heard. I learned that I had to be strong and forceful to get my point across and be taken seriously by the other attorneys and judges.
I quickly took an active role in marketing and developing relationships with other women in the industry. I also got involved in management and one of the most fulfilling duties continues to be supervising other young women and teaching them what it means to be a strong woman in the industry. I have continued to grow and develop into an equity partner and member of the administrative committee. Not only am I supporting my clients and getting the best results possible for them, but I am also expanding Chartwell’s business and reputation. I consider myself not only an attorney but also a businesswoman.
From a very early age, I knew that I wanted to be an attorney. I watched my mother go through a divorce when I was young. Throughout the entire process, I never once saw her cry. She was a single mother raising a young daughter on her own while working full time in a demanding profession. Her strength carried us and has stayed with me even to this day as one of my best mentors and biggest supporters. As a full-time working mother of two daughters, I am trying to teach them that women can have it all!
We have the power to change people’s perceptions of our abilities. We are not just doing the job – we are excelling, exceeding expectations, and earning respect. I love to walk in the shoes of my own mentors and to inspire female associates to follow their own paths to leadership.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
Hema Mehta (Philadelphia, PA): As a shareholder, woman, and minority, I feel that I can be and should be a voice for empowerment of women. Although women have made tremendous strides, broken down barriers to reach positions of leadership and power, and overcome substantial obstacles, there is so much more work to be done and I strive on a daily basis to drive junior attorneys through mentoring, support and networking. Women in leadership roles can bring diverse perspectives and have been at the forefront in advocating changes in gender equality and women’s rights. In order to further their roles and encourage women to take leadership roles, I work to create leadership opportunity and advancement roles for women, including through my position as Chair of the Insurance Coverage Practice Group. Additionally, my mission, which is enhanced by the launch of the Womens' and DEI committees, is to empower women both personally and professionally to excel in the legal profession. Women can be a powerful force if they work together as a collective whole, and we need to continue to ensure that women have equal opportunities to lead and succeed in the legal profession.