Chrysta Castañeda, partner at The Castañeda Firm in Dallas.

What’s the best lesson you learned practicing law?

Nurturing a practice takes time, and the time invested today multiplies into future opportunities. The time and attention that I have given my career always returns benefits, even if it is unclear at the time how the investment will pay off.

What’s the biggest challenge women lawyers face and how have you surmounted that challenge?

When I graduated from law school in 1991, approximately 15% of partners at big law firms were women and that number hasn’t really changed. It takes courage to disregard that lack of progress and to stay focused on the future. My best tip for surmounting the challenge is to support the careers of other women. If I have a chance to refer work to another woman, I make that choice.

How would your peers describe your impact on the profession?

I hope they think would say that I am making a difference in the profession by finding novel approaches to complex cases and expanding the understanding of the legal principles that govern my practice area, which is primarily commercial energy litigation. I hope they benefit from the opportunities that I try to share with others, including women professionals. Finally, I hope they think that I am a good leader and that they benefit from working with me. The energy industry is, obviously, male-dominated, and, more often than not, I’m the only woman in any case I’m working on. So, I’m playing a long-game and trying to make the ground a little softer for those women who come after me.