Janet Petrillo manages the U.S. business development and marketing functions of global law firm Kennedys. Learn more about her and her career path in this installment of Women Who Wow.
What do you love most about what you do?
Having worked in the legal profession for more than 25 years, the one constant (and what keeps me energized) is the challenge of working with the lawyers. They’re smart, talented, autonomous, successful, critical thinkers. I simply love being around them! Every day my job is to move the needle on building the business – on almost any front I can. Though I am not a fee earner, I am a valued business advisor. And as a former partner in a consulting firm, this is a role I cherish.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
There are so many factors to success working in a law firm, but I would say first and foremost is being authentic. In being my authentic self, I am able to establish relationships with the attorneys and my business service colleagues that are based on trust and honesty. I have a strong desire to have an impact, and this is the only way I know how. Fortunately, it resonates in the professional service partnership environment. Ask anyone who knows me, I am a terrible liar!
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
It’s so important to understand from where a lawyer is coming and anticipate his/her/their response. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at the outset. I think sometimes women are hesitant to let their voice or opinions be heard. Truly understanding the lawyer’s needs will limit the number of times you might need to go back and forth on something. And putting yourself in their shoes also instills trust that you know the high standards they set for themselves and those set by their clients. So, bottom line is, while it’s essential to excel at the task, appreciate that there is so much else that is less tangible which can catapult your career if you take the time to see it.