Feb 15, 2019
Welcome to Heels of Justice; these are the stories of women lawyers who are trailblazers in their field and paved the way for the rest of us.
In this episode, Sarita talks to Katherine Minarik — her friend and co-host for the Heels of Justice.
Katherine Minarik is Group General Counsel for cleverbridge. Prior to cleverbridge, she was a partner and experienced trial lawyer at Bartlit Beck. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Katherine is a past-President of the Coalition for Women’s Initiatives in Law.
[:34] For this very first episode of Heels of Justice, Sarita introduces the friend and co-host Katherine Minarik to her own podcast!
[2:40] Why did Katherine want to start a podcast? The difference between what you see and what you hear in terms of men’s and women’s accomplishments… To explain this phenomenon, she shares a story from her law firm days.
[5:42] Katherine gives a quick take on the different ways success stories affect men and women: he’s good now v.s. she’s got great potential.
[9:18] Sarita asks why Katherine chose to go into law? Hold on to your hats: from Social Psychology in London to New York, to Tampa, Florida — during the election recount of 2000, no less! — to Law in Chicago.
[16:30] Clerking for Judge Wood and why Katherine became a trial lawyer. (Hint: it may involve comedy!)
[21:55] Katherine gives an overview of some of the cases she has tried as well as how her Social Psychology degree serves her career in law.
[24:45] What is ‘untricking’ the fact finder?
[26:45] How storytelling can help reduce the primacy bias; Katherine discusses her interest in gender bias research and how it ties into the practice of law in a very real way.
[33:33] Why Katherine left litigation to become an in-house counsel.
[36:30] Katherine’s advice to her younger self, and all young women!
[41:35] How to get through the first moments — and all of the second-guessing — after a failure.
[43:44] Sarita asks Katherine what drives her to be so involved in not-for-profit organizations in her community.
[45:36] Katherine remembers advocating for herself in the form asking for a raise — and ponders the reasons why advocating for oneself seems so much easier for men.
[48:35] Sarita thanks Katherine for participating in their first Heels of Justice episode, and they both sign off until next time.
That’s it for this episode of Heels of Justice, if you like the stories we’re telling, please visit our website. You can join our mailing list, learn more about our guests and see what we have planned for the future.
Disclaimer: The opinions you have heard are ours or our guest’s alone. They’re not the opinions of our employers, or our clients, or our bosses, and not our husbands, kids or pets or anyone else’s.
Mentioned in this episode (chronological order)
2000 Presidential Election Florida Recount
Penn’s Improv Troupe: Without a Net
More about the Heels of Justice, Sarita Venkat and Katherine Minarik
Sarita Venkat on LinkedIn
Katherine Minarik on LinkedIn
Katherine Minarik on Twitter
Katherine Minarik at cleverbridge
Katherine Minarik’s personal stories (edited)
“I was part of a trial team representing an elevator company in a patent case, and we ended up losing our trial. We were devastated because we really felt like we had the right of it in the case. I had been the one who negotiated a bunch of our jury instructions, and I just knew there was something in the jury instructions that was a good hook for an appeal. The Federal Circuit ended up reversing the jury verdict against us, and invalidating the patent as a matter of law, in large part hooked into the jury instructions that the other side had stipulated to!”
“If I look back at my life at the times when I’ve had to make a choice and there’s maybe a safe course or a course where it was more unknown and I’d have to chart my own path and see where it leads, I have never regretted taking the path that required me to make a bigger bet on myself. I’ve always been better off for it.”
“You want to be asked to do the case that is the most difficult to win. That is extremely satisfying when your client comes to you in an extreme crisis and doesn’t know what to do and they trust you to find a way through the morass. I think that’s the best feeling in the world for the litigator. It is what you’re there for. You want to help.”