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Advice to my younger self
Miami partner Angela Daker

April 2024: Angela Daker has just started a new role as Pro Bono Partner, based in our Miami office. She previously was a partner in the Americas Commercial Litigation group. She looks back at her career and shares what she wishes she had known.

Don't stay in your lane
When you're starting out, you can feel pressure to excel at the task in front of you. But it's really important to make time to stay curious and connected with others in the Firm. Have a coffee with someone who works in a totally different area or office. Attend events or seminars that are outside of your immediate field. You'll pick up knowledge and contacts that will make you a better and more well-rounded lawyer.

You can pivot your experience to new areas
When I first joined the Firm, I worked in white collar litigation. When the partner I worked primarily with left, there was no longer any partners who did white collar work in Miami. But I stayed and adapted my skills to commercial litigation.

I was able to transfer my skills to a new area and present my background as a positive; I'd actually been in the courtroom, done complex investigations and been in front of a judge already. Later, as a new partner, I was able to jump in to work with the Antitrust team when they were busy. Again, it was a new area, but I had relevant experience and adaptable.

Know when to ask for help
I don't like to ask people for help or to say I don't know something. But as I've gotten older, it's easier. Now I have no problem sitting in on an important call, asking the other party to explain what they're talking about. When I was younger, I thought everybody else knew everything. I would spend too much time trying to fill in the gaps.

Now I tell my team that I don't expect them to know everything, and they should ask questions. An associate who's a year or two ahead of you will probably have the answer.

Broaden your fan base
The more people you get to know, the more enjoyable and productive your career will be. Find out what they do and make sure they know what you do too. Then when opportunities to collaborate come up, whether it's for a pitch or on a matter, you're someone they know already. It creates more opportunities for you, and it means you bring more to the table as you get more senior and start thinking about partnership.

Diversity means getting people in the door – inclusion is what happens next
As chair of the US Diversity Committee, I can't emphasize enough the importance of feeling included. We can look at the data and see exactly how things are changing in terms of who we hire, and we will keep making progress in terms of the diversity of our people. But it's as important, once we get people through the door, that they feel welcome, supported and empowered and thrive and advance.

Affinity networks drive change and empowerment
They're a key forum for people who share an identity to meet up, to socialize and make contacts, and to share any concerns or challenges. I strongly encourage allies to join too, as appropriate. It's the best way to understand how to support what the network is trying to accomplish. It can be exhausting, to always be the person who is not in the majority who has to be the person advocating for themselves. Allies can help take on that responsibility.

Networking starts with people at your own level
There's often a mistaken belief that "networking" means getting in front of the most important people in the room. And of course, making connections with senior people is important. But your peers from law school or your first firm, they're going to be your opposing counsel, co-counsel or clients in the future. So, invest time in your friendships too.