A commercial litigator with eight years in practice, Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria said she “felt really incredible” when she was told that she had made partner at Cooley in November after a months-long process.

Soon after, she heard from former classmates, friends and family — and even got a congratulatory letter from the dean of Stanford Law School, where she earned her J.D. The title causes some people to treat her a little differently, she says, but it’s subtle. Less subtle is the weight she feels on her shoulders. “It’s now my responsibility to maintain the Cooley culture,” a challenge, she’s quick to add, that she welcomes. “It’s also nice,” she adds, “to not have someone approve every decision I make.”

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