Susan L. Pollet
Chair of the Archive and Historian Committee
Q: When did you join the
WWBA, and why did you join it?
A: Although Welby, Brady & Greenblatt
were members before I became an associate, I joined the WWBA in June 2017,
immediately after taking up my current position as Construction Attorney at the
firm. During my first week at WB&G, I attended the WWBA Annual Dinner and I
felt that joining the organization would be an excellent way to get to know
colleagues in the local area. I became more involved in the WWBA after meeting
with Lisa Denig, Esq., the organization’s then President, who encouraged me to
take part in the formation of a Construction Law Committee for the WWBA.
Q: You are on the Board of
Directors and Leadership Committee of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association
Foundation. How have you contributed to
the Board’s efforts, and are you involved in other WWBA activities?
A: I try to attend most of the Board’s
quarterly meetings and, if I cannot attend in person, I always make myself
available by telephone to vote on any pertinent issues. I assist with the
Board’s fundraising efforts during their annual “Mocktail” fundraiser. Reaching
out to people during this time is not the easiest task for members of the
Board, but, thanks to the enormous efforts of Chairperson Susan Brown, Esq.,
and the other members, the fundraiser is always an amazing success, helping out
so many individuals and groups throughout Westchester.
addition to participating on the Foundation Board, I recently hosted a “Pink
and Teal” seminar at the offices of Welby Brady and Greenblatt, LLP, with the
assistance of our former President Kim Berg, Esq. and members of the WWBA
Wellness Committee. This was an extremely informative event with discussions
and information about cancers affecting women daily, with a particular focus on
the area of ovarian cancer.
part of my work on the Construction Law Committee, I organized a talk in 2018
in relation to the new tax laws. The presentation was provided by New York City
based accountancy firm, Anchin Block and Anchin, and the event which we held at
Sterling National Bank in Tuckahoe was well attended by both lawyers and
construction company representatives/owners alike.
Construction Law Committee hopes to organize and host another event in the near
future and we have a few ideas in the pipeline.
Q: Please tell our members
about your legal career.
A: I began my legal career in Dublin,
Ireland, where I completed my legal apprenticeship in a medium size commercial
law firm. Upon qualification as a Solicitor in 2014, I remained there for some
time practicing commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on commercial
landlord and tenant matters. I then worked in a general practice in my local
town in Ireland, where I dealt with all sorts of legal issues – property
transfers, wills and estates, employment law, personal injury litigation - the
list goes on!!
that point I decided to move to New York. While I waited for the results of the
bar exam, I worked in a large construction management company in New York City,
dealing with contracts and insurance issues. I remained there for a number of
months after passing the bar as my interest in NYC construction had well and
truly been born! I then decided it was time to go back to the law firm
environment and I really wanted to stay in the construction field. Through a
friend, I came across Welby Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, where I secured a job
and, thankfully, I have never looked back!
Q: In your experience, how
has the landscape changed over the course of your legal career, if at all, for
women lawyers in Westchester County.
A: I’m not sure how qualified I am to
answer this question given that I have not been in Westchester County for very
long. I will say though that, in my experience, I have found women lawyers to
be treated quite well in both Westchester County and New York in general.
Thankfully, I have not yet had a bad experience where I have been made feel any
“different” by virtue of the fact that I am a woman. I believe that, in
general, a lot more women are entering the profession than before. However, the
problem is not related to how many women enter the profession, the problem lies
with women lawyers staying in the profession. It is difficult for women to
remain in their highly stressful, fast paced, and demanding jobs while trying
to balance work and family commitments. Hopefully law firms will continue their
efforts to make the job more “family friendly” and provide flexible working
arrangements where possible. Generally speaking, I feel that law firms have
come a long way in this regard in recent years, but for many firms, there is
still a long way to go! Thankfully, Welby, Brady & Greenblatt places an
emphasis on family and work balance and has afforded me all the accommodations
I’ve needed through my recent pregnancy.
Q: What are your other
community activities when you are not practicing law or contributing to the
like to participate in various clubs and associations relating to my
local area back in Ireland. I believe it is important to keep in touch with
“home” and get to know other people from the local area who live in New York. I
try to attend lots of these events and help out where I can.
my work, I am a part of many construction related groups and love to attend
numerous events held throughout the year all over the city and surrounding
areas. I am an active member of the New York City WBC (Women Builder’s
Council); Professional Women in Construction; and the New York Building
Congress’ Council of Industry Women. All of these organizations host amazing
events and it is an excellent way of getting to know people.
Q: How have you balanced
your legal career with your family responsibilities over the years.
A: I am currently out of the office on
maternity leave as I have just had my first baby! So, the task of balancing my
legal career with my family responsibilities is just about to start! However, I
am very lucky in that we have a family member who is going to look after our
son when I return to work, so I am hoping it won’t be too difficult to balance
career and family. I’m sure I will learn fast that this may not be the case!
Q: What advice would you
like to give to women lawyers entering the legal profession.
A: Generally, I think my number one piece of advice to young
lawyers would be to always ask questions. In my opinion, there is no such thing
as a stupid question. If you don’t know how to do something, or don’t
understand a task which you have been assigned, don’t just sit there for hours
or days trying to figure it out yourself. Go and ask somebody for help.
Everyone had to start somewhere and there is no shame in asking for assistance!
Nobody can be expected to know everything at the outset of their career, so
take advantage of that time. Ask all the questions you need and learn as much
as you can from experienced lawyers around you.
In terms of women lawyers in
particular, my advice would be to always stand up and be heard when necessary.
Don’t shy away from a conversation or argument just because the person on the
other side of the debate is a male. It goes without saying that we need to
respectful of our male colleagues etc. but we should never be made feel
inferior or less well respected than a male counterpart and I would say to all
new women lawyers, that if they ever feel like this is happening, they should
talk to someone about it immediately.