AUSTIN, TX March 19, 2019 – When Mollie Duckworth graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. in Communications, she wasn’t sure what career path she should follow. Her dad had been in the military when she was growing up, so her family traveled extensively, living in five different places before she was six years old, including Okinawa, Japan. While working toward her undergraduate degree at UT, she had tried everything from architecture to interior design to speech pathology but hadn’t thought about pursuing a career in law. After graduation, Mollie wanted to find an intellectually challenging career.
She tried her hand at several different jobs, including a broker representative for a mutual fund company and a recruiter for an enterprise software company, but none of them were the right fit. Several of her friends suggested that she consider law school, but she wasn’t interested at first. As she began to do more research into graduate programs, she realized that a law degree would open the door to so many possible careers that she had never considered. She applied to the University of Texas School of Law, was accepted, and dove head first into the classes. “When I got to law school, I found a match to the way my brain worked and how I thought,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed law school. I was excited to become a transactional lawyer and help businesses grow, and that excitement hasn’t stopped since – 14 years later.”
Mollie joined Baker Botts’ Austin office as a corporate associate in 2005, and she quickly became immersed in the practice. As a fifth-year associate, she was the lead attorney on her first IPO (initial public offering). “This was an incredible learning experience,” she says. “The partner I was working with was willing to give me a lot of responsibility and I led all the drafting sessions with the client. It gave me a lot of confidence, and the ability to learn on the fly.”
That experience was one of many that fueled Mollie’s success at Baker Botts, particularly in building trust with others at the firm and with her clients. Little did she know that those childhood years of traveling the world with her military dad would have such a profound impact on her life today, giving her the confidence to dive into situations outside her comfort zone and thrive.
In addition to being given responsibility early on, Mollie learned that having a positive attitude is critical to success, and that’s the kind of advice she often shares with younger attorneys. Additionally, she realized that to be successful, you have to do more than just your job. Mollie understands that success requires a willingness to dive in to help others and go above and beyond what is expected of you.
Mollie says her mother is one of her greatest inspirations, as someone who has always advocated for the people around her, never judging them. At Baker Botts, she drew her inspiration from many lawyers, but she was inspired by two of the firm’s former women partners who helped guide her in her early years. Laura Tyson, now the General Counsel at The Energy & Minerals Group, taught her to be fearless, to never take ‘no’ for an answer and to always be a fierce advocate for her clients and her colleagues. Mollie was always impressed with how Tyson wasn’t afraid to break down barriers or question the way things have always been done. Another former partner, Kelly Rose, who now serves as the General Counsel of ConocoPhillips, was a calm and business-savvy lawyer who always had practical advice about life and work, and never seemed to get too caught up in the stress of practicing law. Mollie was also inspired by Rose’s incredible ability to advocate for her clients in high stakes business transactions.
Tyson and Rose both affirmed Mollie’s reasons for working at Baker Botts. She knew she wanted to stay in Austin and work in transactional law. As a law student, she clerked at two firms in Austin, but especially loved the Baker Botts culture, in part, because of the number of women working in its corporate department, which was not the case at the other firm. “It’s hard to recruit women when there were no women there,” she explains, “and it can sometimes make you feel like an outsider.” At Baker Botts, she could also tell early on that the lawyers she worked with supported her and were advocates for her long-term career.
Mollie says she believes that the essence of Baker Botts’s culture is team work and collegiality. She is at that stage of her career where she has developed strong relationships with her clients who seek out her counsel because they trust her knowledge and ability to provide answers to difficult questions, or work through issues together. Overall, she says the word that epitomizes the firm is “team work.” “Our lawyers are dedicated to producing excellent work for their clients but aren’t competing with each other. The people I work with genuinely care about my well-being and getting the best result for our clients. There has always been a sense that we’re all in this together.”
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