This month, we highlight John Jeffries, a litigation attorney located in the firm’s Charlotte office and committee member of WIN @ MGC.
John Jeffries sees legal industry challenges through the eyes of his wife, a full-time practicing attorney. “The demands of attorneys continue to increase [making] it difficult for anyone to balance work, family and other personal or civic commitments,” says Jeffries. “I have watched my wife wrestle with these demands for years.” As a leading mentor, what’s his solution? “Make yourself indispensable by consistently providing excellent work and good customer service,” and “don’t be afraid to let clients know that life outside of work is as important to you as it is to them.”
As a practicing attorney for the last 25 years, John Jeffries has watched MGC grow from a firm of five to over 200, and has made the commitment to mentoring the next generation of leadership, women included. “To me, MGC embodies the concept of ‘equality of opportunity’,” Jeffries says.
“Rewarding and nurturing those attorneys who embrace our culture and excel in it has propelled us to the top of this industry – this is true regardless of gender…”
Data shows that women in associate positions continue to make strides. According to NALP’s 2018 Report on Diversity in US Law Firms “…representation of women associates has finally rebounded and surpassed pre-recession highs for the first time,” says James Leipold, their Executive Director. But, that’s not necessarily true for partner roles; in 2018, women associates stood at 45.91% of law firms in the US, while women partners stood at 23.36%. “Female lawyers (associates and partners) are critically important to the economic and professional success of the firm,” says John Jeffries.
“If the WIN initiative can provide an added layer of mentorship, and a clearer path to leadership opportunities and success, then we will support it at all levels.”
What’s the one piece of advice that John Jeffries would give women in the legal industry? “It is your world. Go out there and own it,” he says. “You have the capacity and the ability to be as tenacious, as successful and as accomplished as any of your male counterparts.”