Del Pizzo Interviewed by NJLJ After Women Attorney of the Year AwardNovember 7, 2022
Nancy Del Pizzo was interviewed by the New Jersey Law Journal after being named to the Women Attorneys of the Year list.
The article, “‘My Authentic Self’: Women Attorneys of the Year in Their Own Words,” interviewed all the women who made the list and asked them questions to get to know each woman a little better.
Del Pizzo’s comments are below:
What do you see as your biggest accomplishments over the past two years and why?
I measure legal accomplishments by impact on the client and client satisfaction. This one was particularly special because I had a remarkable outcome in an expedited arbitration where I was able to convince the movant to not only release claims but ultimately assign all intellectual property rights to my clients. The icing on the cake was when the client later asked me to work on another matter (outside my wheelhouse) because he appreciated my responsiveness and wanted to work with me again. On a personal note, convincing a hospital at the height of the pandemic to give my 84-year-old mother plasma was my biggest accomplishment in 2020. Unfortunately, I couldn’t move the needle quick enough, and she passed from COVID on day 11.
What does the legal profession need to do to improve opportunities for women?
Be open to the premise that there is a need for improvement. If the premise is denied, it is not possible for improvement to occur. If the premise is accepted, action is more likely to be taken. I encourage clients to continue seeking diversity in outside counsel spends
as that has fostered a desire to act.
Best advice you ever got…
The best advice I ever got was internal—even if I took too long to implement it. When I decided to change careers after nearly two decades as a writer and editor, I vowed I would no longer hide my authentic self. I wasn’t going to pretend my wife is my husband as I once did when employed in publishing. I wasn’t going to write with male pronouns when referring to everyone or address my letters with “Mr.” and exclude the rest of the world. I wasn’t going to accept watching colleagues coast into greater opportunities because of a “good ole boys” club or accept any of the other stereotypes that plague some in this profession. That’s not an easy vow to keep if you like the work you are doing, have a colleague you love working with, or don’t want to rock the boat. It means developing guts to move when culture does not match instead of trying to fit a square peg into a hole. There is nothing more important than living in one’s own skin. And there is a huge difference when you land at a firm where you can be yourself as I have. Free yourself to be yourself, and you will be better able to do the best legal work you are capable of doing and grow a practice.
A related second—someone once told me you cannot develop business if you don’t ask for it. I was accustomed to the consistent flurry of work coming in as a writer in my former career with seemingly no effort, but had forgotten what it had taken to develop that trust. Look for the opportunities to ask. For instance, make it a point to chat with the CEO, CFO or GC who presented on a panel with you, and use that opportunity to soft pitch yourself. Ask for a meeting to discuss how you might mutually help each other. Some will be put off by the ask, but others will be receptive, and you can develop lasting business and very special personal relationships from that ask. Get comfortable asking. Then, do great work. Keep in mind that being your authentic self makes the ask more comfortable.
- Nancy A. Del Pizzo