Molly Boast (Courtesy photo)
Q: What are some of your proudest achievements?
A: Aside from my wonderful family, I am most proud of the strong relationships I have forged with the many clients who consider me a trusted advisor, of my tours of duty in Washington, D.C. at the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice working with superb colleagues in service to the United States, and of the mentoring and support I have provided younger lawyers, both women and men.
Q: What does it mean to be a leader?
A: A leader demonstrates command of the facts and law, delegates responsibly, inspires confidence and enthusiasm, is mindful of being a role model, and does not blame others for her own shortcomings.
Q: Name a lawyer or mentor whose leadership inspired you.
A: There are many, but a few warrant special mention here: now-Judge Kimba Wood, for her quiet but tireless advocacy on behalf of women lawyers and her faith in me; the late Dick Wachtel, for teaching me how to make constructive use of criticism; the late Frederick B. Lacey, for the breadth of opportunities he offered me; and former FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky, for his unending intellectual curiosity.
Q: How are the business and profession of law changing, and how should lawyers adapt for the future?
A: Increasing specialization in the profession threatens attorneys’ breadth of vision that can provide enormous value to clients, and increasing time pressures threaten our pro bono and public service responsibilities at a time when they are more important than ever. To protect against that narrowing of focus, lawyers should try to find lessons in everything they do and learn from everyone they observe. Across practices, attorneys must take the time to educate one another, seeking to become more well-rounded practitioners of the law.
In addition, making a commitment to pro bono or public service early in one’s career will help instill those values for a lifetime. Firms and lawyers also should look to set specific goals and hold themselves accountable to ensure they don’t waiver in their dedication.
Q: What is the best advice for someone considering a career in law, or someone in the profession who is seeking to make a greater impact?
A: Don’t be afraid to take risks. I took a risk when I moved to Washington, D.C. and joined the FTC in 1999 after working for years to become the first woman to chair LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae’s litigation department and to serve on its management committee. But my career was all the better for it. You’ll never regret betting on yourself.