Attorneys Across America: Featuring Hua Wang

From a tiny office in rural Alaska to a skyscraper in Manhattan, from The Sunshine State to The Prairie State, Ms. JD seeks to capture snapshots of successful women attorneys practicing law from sea to shining sea. Ms. JD had a few questions for Hua Wang who is a former big law lawyer and entrepreneur based in Washington, DC and Nevada. 

1. Where do you practice law?

I was a private investment funds lawyer in Boston and Washington, DC.  I am now the co-founder of SmartBridge and based in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Chicago’s 1871 incubator.    

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

There are probably more lawyers per capita in DC than any other city in the US.  I love living in DC – the city is very international and welcoming of newcomers.  

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

Securities enforcement and litigation are key practice areas in DC.  

4. Describe your practice area.

After ten years in investment banking, strategy consulting, and private equity law, I recently took the leap into a new career.  

5. How did you get started in this practice area?

Entrepreneurship is part of my DNA.  I always knew I wanted to launch my own company, but I also wanted to work at a global law firm and pay off my student loans.    

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

There are pockets of innovation in the region.  We have been actively networking and attending entrepreneurship events, and we have been impressed by the energy around the startup ecosystem here.

We are grateful to be living in a dynamic and educated city with wonderful opportunities for startup founders.  For example, we took 4th Place in the George Washington University New Venture Rapid Pitch Competition and participated in a National Science Foundation-funded DC I-Corps.  We met our adviser (a former Senior Vice President at Clear Channel Communications) through AccelerateDC.  Many people have given us time and encouragement as we work on becoming the market leader for healthcare expertise on-demand.    

7. What are good resources for women attorneys in your area?

The Impact Center, Ms. JD and the Women in Law Empowerment Forum are all fantastic resources.

8. What has been your hardest day on the job?

As a co-founder, you have to have very thick skin and embrace failures as learning experiences.  

9. What has been your best day on the job?

I recently took 2nd Place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Free Enterprise Hackathon. The award gave me greater confidence in my technical skills.  

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

Be open to the opportunities that come into your path when you’re trying to get something entirely different done.  

Remember that you are the architect of your own life – it is up to you to build and create a life that make you happy.  

Consider yourself worthy of doing exactly what it is that you want to do.  It sounds cliché, but, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.  Self-doubt becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that you are not good enough.  

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

While I ultimately decided that big law wasn’t the right career path for me, I am grateful to have practiced with some of the best investment funds lawyers in the world.  The training and responsibility that comes with big law is very valuable.  

Hua Wang is a former big law lawyer and co-founder of SmartBridge.  SmartBridge is an online platform that connects enterprises with top healthcare experts on a freelance basis. Hua received her BA in Public Policy, Political Science, Markets and Management from Duke University in 2003. She graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 2011.

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