March is Women’s History Month and we are pleased to celebrate the achievements of all the women in our firm. Recently we interviewed one of our female partners and also sent out a round of applause to all the talented members of the Dunnington team.
Meet: Olivera Medenica, Partner
Olivera Medenica is an equity partner and serves on the Executive Committee and the Diversity Committee. She chairs the Trademark Practice Group and Privacy Practice Group. Her areas of expertise include intellectual property, privacy, advertising, art and fashion law, international, litigation and arbitration.
Question: What brought you to Dunnington, a firm over 100 years old?
Answer: I wanted to expand my practice and service major corporate clients with the backing of a deep bench. Since joining Dunnington, I have worked on a trademark matter before the United States Supreme Court, landed major corporate clients, and have been able to tap into our litigation team’s broad appellate experience. We truly have a great team at the firm with many people I respect and whose input I value tremendously. I am proud to be part of a New York institution that has been around for so long and fortunate to work with such a group of talented attorneys.
Q: What unique perspective do you bring to the firm?
A: I started my own practice very early out of law school and had to figure things out early, on my own. As a result, all of my matters have been first chair experience and I am often the only woman in the room. For these reasons, it is important that my team be diverse and represent different viewpoints and perspectives on any legal matter. By bringing Dunnington’s diverse team to the table, I believe we are able to provide superior client service and effectively address our client’s biggest challenges.
Q: What support do you get from your team members?
A: While I strategically lead the team, my partners provide critical insight, my associates relentless research and investigation, and our paralegals keep us all on track. My success would not be possible without each and every member of our team. I am so grateful for their support.
Q: Okay, any challenges, then – that you can mention?
A: As a woman lawyer it is important to always value yourself without discounting your services. There should be more visibility and recognition for women-led teams. This is a missed opportunity to validate the work of women in the law. Just one positive comment can inspire anyone to work harder, to push for more and this is so important to hear in an industry that has overwhelmingly and historically been led by white men.
Q: Fair enough! Do you feel you have any competitive edges against larger firms?
A: I really do. We strive to understand a client’s priorities and to examine every problem individually. As a jurist, we have statutes and precedent that we must follow. As an advisor, we listen to our clients and craft a unique solution that works best for them. As an advocate, we blend both to achieve a desired solution. We do not bring a cookie cutter approach to any client or any problem. This gives us a competitive advantage.
Q: Great answer. Can we talk about being a woman in a male-dominated field?
A: Supporting women in the law goes beyond the office and requires a holistic approach to personal and professional life. For example, if a woman bears the brunt of child caring responsibilities, it can be a challenge to compete with a man who can focus exclusively on his career. These are very real, pragmatic issues. However, in a room full of men, I do not feel shy or insecure in the least. I’m not sure I even notice it at this point.
Q: Well said. What’s the latest book you’ve read? How does it relate to your clients or your career approach?
A: The Great Catapult, by Zeeger Vink. It has been on my reading list for a while and I am enjoying it so far. It addresses how businesses can capitalize on their intellectual property assets for competitive advantage… critical issues for my clients.
Q: Finally, what advice would you give women entering the legal field today?
A: I say, focus on being a good attorney! Be nice to people, don’t cut corners or burn bridges. Don’t treat any task as too small or too big for you. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Many thanks, Olivera. Yes, I can see that you are really making a difference at Dunnington.
Thanks for your time and comments!