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Heels of Justice

Mar 20, 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.

Today, the Heels of Justice interview Andrea (Andie) S. Kramer, author and Partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, which was just listed as one of the “10 Best Big Law Firms for Female Attorneys.” Andie is head of the firm’s Financial Products, Trading, and Derivatives Group, and is the founding chair of the firm’s Gender Diversity Committee and currently serves as its co-chair. She has served on both her firm’s Management Committee and Compensation Committee. In these roles, she became deeply concerned about the disparities in the pace and extent of women’s and men’s career achievements.

Key Takeaways

[:29] Katherine welcomes Andie Kramer, lawyer and author to the Heels of Justice podcast.

[1:12] How did Andie end up writing her first book on gender dynamics in law firms?

[3:19] What was the response Andie got to the Self-evaluation do’s and Don’ts a piece she wrote about 12 years ago?

[4:29] Were there any changes in self-evaluations by women after the training was initially offered at her firm?

[6:23] Once women start talking about themselves as rockstars, is there anything else that needs to be done to ensure that message is received positively?

[8:35] What is the Goldilocks dilemma?

[9:20] Katherine asks for some very pragmatic advice on how to navigate a boardroom interruption (we also learn there was a necessity to create a tip sheet for this specific issue!).

[11:45] Doesn’t this whole “tips and advice for women” just generate more work for women just to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers?

[14:08] Katherine asks Andie to describe benevolent sexism, as it was an issue she always knew about but never managed to express clearly.

[16:50] How are women to respond to benevolent sexism?

[18:07] Andie shares an outrageous anecdote from her book.

[20:34] What led Andie to become a lawyer?

[24:11] Katherine asks Andie to share a moment when she advocated for herself.

[27:33] How about a time when Andie experienced failure? And what about the recovery from such a failure?

[32:30] Katherine asks if Andie has advice for women just out of law schools, in terms of picking a firm. Alternatively, what can law firms do to ensure a higher rate of senior women within their ranks?

[33:55] What about advice Andie would have for her younger self?

[35:05] Katherine asks Andie what the biggest risk she took was.

[36:30] And finally, what motivates Andie to write when she could be spending this time just being the awesome lawyer that she is?

[37:15] Katherine thanks Andie for participating on the Heels of Justice podcast, and she signs 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.

You can also follow us on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

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)

McDermott Will & Emery

Book: Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work, by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris

The Goldilocks Dilemma

Tip sheet on interruptions

Impression management

Benevolent sexism

Title IX

Book: It’s Not You It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built It,
by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris


More about the Heels of Justice, Sarita Venkat, and Katherine Minarik

Heels of Justice on the Web

Heels of Justice on Twitter

Heels of Justice on Instagram

Heels of Justice on Facebook


Sarita Venkat on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on Twitter

Katherine Minarik at cleverbridge


Andie’s personal stories (edited)

“I was on our compensation committee and what I found was that the women would write their self-evaluations very modestly: ‘I was on the ABC team and I worked with Katherine, and so, and so, and so, and so, and so, and so, and so, and so, and so…’ but the men would write their self-evaluations ‘I’m a total rock star and I saved the world for democracy, and I’m everything!’ It struck me because who do you think is going to make more money? The very first piece that I wrote was about self-evaluation do’s and don’ts as to what women need to do in order to advocate for themselves.”

“I was probably 13 years old and my social studies class went to the criminal court building and we saw the defense putting on a murder trial and seeing a piece of a murder trial from the defense side obviously makes you think the person is innocent. So I was going to find a way to save the world. I told my parents I was going to be a lawyer, and they knew a lawyer, so they asked him if he would take me to lunch and give me career advice — this is before women were really admitted to law school in any numbers (the ’60s) — so this man takes me to lunch and proceeds to spend the entire time telling me that I did not want to be a lawyer because nobody likes lady lawyers. ‘Lady lawyers are lonely, they don’t have any friends; I would never have a family, I would never get married; no one would ever love me!’ and that was his lunch. … When he assured me that it was a terrible thing, I concluded that I was going to do it, and I could manage those things.”


More about Andrea S. Kramer

Andrea S. Kramer at McDermott Will & Emery

Andrea S. Kramer on LinkedIn

Andrea S. Kramer (Andie & Al) Mentoring