New York-based Litigation partner Paula Anderson was recently featured by the Council of Urban Professionals (“CUP”) in a “Catalyst Spotlight.” CUP is a non-profit organization focused on preparing high-performing professionals of color and women for the rise to senior leadership roles within financial services, legal, media & entertainment, non-profit and public sectors.
In the feature, Anderson reflects on the inception and progression of her career in law. “I first became interested in...high school, after studying West Indian history and seeing how the law operated as a powerful tool for social change during the abolitionist movement,” she says. “Today, as a litigator, I enjoy the thrill and intellectual stimulation that comes from advocating on behalf of my clients, crafting persuasive arguments, challenging my opponents’ arguments, and convincing a judge or jury to rule in my clients’ favor.”
Anderson encourages young people to “find something they’re truly passionate about and pursue it with the utmost tenacity,” an approach she exemplifies in her commitment to social justice. Anderson recounts that as a junior associate, she defended a young man pro bono who faced 33 years in jail for federal drugs and weapons charges. Convinced her client deserved a second chance at being a “productive member of society and a father figure for his young child,” Anderson used her passion and every tool at her disposal as a lawyer, and was ultimately successful in securing a minimum sentence, making her client eligible for release after six years.
In addition, Anderson discusses mentorship, leadership, the challenges of being a lawyer and other topics in this interview.