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Fearless not reckless: South Africa

I met Mogoeng Mogoeng, South African Supreme Court Justice since 2011 following his closing speech for the International Association of Law Schools at the University of Cape Town with my husband Thomas McGill, Jr.

This Spring I spent a month in South Africa lecturing at the University of Cape Town, meeting with students and faculty, learning and living. It was a special treat to share the time with my husband Thomas McGill Jr. and visit my dear friend Penelope (Penny) Andrews, Dean of The Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT). It was a timely trip, Penny has since accepted a fellowship at the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia University School of Law. I attended the International Association of Law Schools conference at UCT and spoke on a panel regarding preparing students for careers post-law school in a global economy. I had a chance to meet members of the International legal community, including the Chief Justice of the South African Supreme Court and Supreme Court Justices and Law School Deans from other African countries and the United States.

Throughout my career, I have dedicated time in my schedule to meeting and talking with students. As a student activist and civil rights advocate, I understand what it’s like to want to change and improve society. I also know that it’s possible to be passionate about civil rights and navigate through corporate, law firms and government with a hard work ethic and the guidance and support of mentors and sponsors.

In today’s political climate, people across the world are organizing to address their challenges by understanding the systems and how to create new pathways. Many are realizing how communications and the law can change the world. Everyday, we have a unique example of opportunities to be a positive example of advocacy by sharing the lessons from our profession as lawyers and leaders. It was a pleasure to meet and speak with the students at UCT and share my advice on the opportunities and challenges they are facing as they enter the legal profession. I also had the opportunity to meet with UCT faculty members to discuss U.S. Law and the South African legal profession.

During my lecture “The Playing Field, Pitfalls and Pathways to Progress” I discussed the research regarding the increasing number of women entering the legal profession while the number of women in leadership remains relatively low. It’s my hope that by lecturing and writing, I will help more talented people of all ages and backgrounds contribute to our profession and bring greater diversity to leadership, particularly in government, law firms and corporations. As I find my new balance leading CRL Consulting LLC and taking care of my family, I am grateful for the advice of my mentors and sponsors, who taught me how to make decisions for my career that were in line with my values and my goals for my life.

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to every student who didn’t have time to ask me a question. I hope you’ll read my salute to Linda Spradley Dunn, CEO and founder of Odyssey Media and click the logo below to subscribe for my monthly newsletter and send me a fearless question for an upcoming article.

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