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, Chelsea Bishop, Isis Davidson, Ellen King and Hilary Wright tell us what inspired them to pursue a career in law.
Chelsea Bishop (Boston, MA): I first considered becoming a lawyer when my dad raised the question, “have you ever thought about becoming a lawyer?” during one of our long car rides. At the time, I was completing a year-long AmeriCorps service program where I was serving as an algebra teacher, MCAS tutor, and mentor at an alternative charter high school and considering a future career in social work. I worked with incredible, resilient students there, some of whom would put their best foot forward in school despite dealing with extremely challenging circumstances including homelessness, food insecurity, gang pressure/violence, etc. I did my best to make a positive impact, but I felt limited in my role as a volunteer. I also worried that becoming a social worker would put me in a role where I was reacting to problematic policies and practices, rather than being proactive. After my dad raised the idea of becoming a lawyer, I realized that in that role I would be best able to advocate for others. I started doing my research and I eventually got a job working as a paralegal and went to law school at night, where I learned that a law career was a great fit for me. It’s been about 8 years since my AmeriCorps service and I’m still involved in many of my former students’ lives and volunteer as a legal advocate with the ACLU where I assist with creating, promoting, and defending policies that protect and enhance civil rights. All while working with the incredible people at Chartwell and cutting my teeth as new lawyer.
Isis Davidson (New York, NY): I’ve always been told that I have the power to interpret for those but don’t have the words or the tools to advocate on their own behalf. Listening and being a proponent for those individuals/groups comes easily to me. Having a career in law felt like a natural use of my talent. I turned to the law as a career after I became a parent. It was important to me to give my son a tangible example of how perseverance and determination can result in positive outcomes.
Ellen King (Boston, MA): No one single event inspired me to pursue a legal career – a series of events and multiple mentors led me to where I am today. I started working as a paralegal after finishing undergrad and felt limited in how I could help clients achieve the outcome they were looking for. While I enjoyed working on a team behind the scenes, I wanted to be in the courtroom. I wanted to become an attorney but did not have the financial means to attend law school full-time. I decided to go to law school at night and continued working full-time as a paralegal. As time consuming and exhausting as it was, it allowed me work with some great attorneys who were kind enough to foster my curiosity, teach me what law school never did and challenge me like I was already an associate. Working with and learning from the people around me is really what inspires me most.
Hilary Wright (New York, NY): My family loves to remind me that from the ripe old age of 3 and onward I used to tell anyone and everyone I met that I was going to be a lawyer. It was always “Hi I’m Hilary and I’m going to be a lawyer.” Being a female lawyer in such a prestigious male dominated industry made me even more determined. And 25 years later, it became reality. I’d like to think that there was this one lightbulb moment that started me down this path. Maybe there was. However, the reality is that the more I learned about the law, the more inspired I became. The more I understood that being a lawyer isn’t about just arguing or being right - it’s about effectively advocating for your client and yourself and giving a voice to a viewpoint or position that might otherwise would be overlooked.