The Women in the Law Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) in association with the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) honored Attorney Tanya A. Bovée of Jackson Lewis PC as the 2016 recipient of the Ladder Award. She was presented with the award at the Women in the Law Committee program “Pathways to Leadership for Women Lawyers,” by program coordinators Carmina K. Tessitore and Alaine C. Doolan, held on March 24 at Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange.
The Ladder Award was created by the YLS Women in the Law Committee in 2007 to honor a woman attorney who has “left the ladder down” for those women who follow in her footsteps. The award is aimed at recognizing the efforts of women in the profession who have recognized the importance of mentoring and supporting more junior lawyers in their own journeys to success in the profession. Past recipients of this award include The Honorable Anne C. Dranginis and Rosemary E. Giuliano.
CBA Women in the Law Section Chair Carmina Tessitore welcomed attendees to the inspiring event. She noted that, despite efforts of women to advance the gender, such as with the right to vote, “the ABA Journal shows the staggering statistic that the median pay for full time female lawyers is 77.4 percent that of their male counterparts….That means our mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, friends are earning less for the same work.”
Keynote speaker Catherine Bailey, legal and public policy director at Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), relayed her passion for advocacy and noted all that has been accomplished as well as all that still needs to be accomplished. Judge Nina F. Elgo introduced Attorney Bovée. The pair share a special bond as Judge Elgo officiated the award winner’s wedding.
Attorney Bovée shared her experiences as a female attorney of color and the lessons she learned along the way that have most impacted her career. She admonished that “Connecticut is a small community where everyone knows everyone. It becomes all the more critical to avoid burning bridges. Your adversary today may become a potential client five years from now.” She also stressed the importance of mentorship. She noted that “Your mentors and advocates most likely will not look like you,” as the majority of equity partners are white males. It is more importance to find, “…a true mentor, someone who you absolutely trust who will help you think through decisions and determine what is best for you even if it does not benefit him or her.”
Reflecting on her move to Jackson Lewis 12 years prior, she stated that it was a former colleague who suggested the positon. “If Carlton [Chen] had not sent me the job opening and then strongly encouraged me to apply, I would not have applied. So the lesson? Listen to your friends. Be brave. Say yes. Try different things.” In her overall message of the night, Attorney Bovée relayed, “The ladder represents a symbol of opportunity. It is a reminder of how far we can go and how much a helping hand or even a word of encouragement can make a difference in whether we reach for opportunity. I am so honored to receive this award.”