Attorneys Across America: Featuring Cyndie Chang

From a tiny office in rural Alaska to a skyscraper in Manhattan, from The Sunshine State to The Prairie State, this new series seeks to capture snapshots of successful women attorneys practicing law from sea to shining sea. Cyndie M. Chang is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Duane Morris LLP.

Where do you practice law?

I’m the managing partner of Duane Morris LLP in Los Angeles, California.

Describe your legal market. What is the size of the market? How would you describe the culture?

I’m in large urban market, Los Angeles, California.  There are a significant number of lawyers in California, which is a diverse market. 

What are the industries that produce work for lawyers in your area?

Being from Los Angeles, we have almost every industry that has a need for legal services.        

Describe your practice area.

I practice complex business litigation, involving contracts, unfair competition, trademark, trade secrets, products liability, insurance coverage, entertainment and real estate law.

How did you get started in this practice area?

Since the beginning of my career, I was open to a variety of general litigation matters.  I therefore developed my skills into being a general litigator.

Do you think your practice is different because of where you live? If so, in what way(s)?

Yes.  I practice in a large metropolitan city, with a very diverse population.  With so many lawyers, I often litigate matters with new judges and new counsel every year.  However, that doesn’t mean that your reputation does not follow you despite the size of the market. 

What are good resources for women attorneys in your area?

I find that the mentors and resources in bar associations have helped with my professional development, due to workshops, networking, friendships, and information about opportunities.  

What has been your hardest day on the job?

The hardest day are either the ones with long hours due to being in trial or a big deadline the following day, or dealing with a difficult political situation at work.

What has been your best day on the job?

The day I won my first jury trial as lead counsel.  I felt my hard work and dedication paid off and justice was accomplished for my client. 

What advice do you have for women attorneys following in your footsteps?

I would encourage woman to not only be excellent in their work product, but also to value your reputation  in the community where you treat others with respect. 

Any additional stories, anecdotes, or thoughts on practicing in your practice area or location?

My law practice and my general philosophy embrace and encourage pro bono work.  I encourage my professional colleagues inside and outside my firm to do such work, including in my roles as president of a local bar association and an executive officer of a national bar association.  In those leadership positions, I always endeavor to lead by example. 

I understand that you are a new mother. Any thoughts on balancing being a mother with being a partner in a firm?

On balance, it is important to take time for yourself and family.  Without such balance, I do not think I could be successful at work. 

It is also important to work at a place that values your contribution to the organization. I was promoted to Managing Partner of my law firm office when I was pregnant.  My firm had faith in me and my leadership, and it was important to me that they were so progressive on women’s issues such as pregnancy.  Therefore, I was excited to accept the promotion because I was proud to lead such a great organization.

To read more about Ms. Chang, please click here. Thank you, Cyndie! 

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