Dallas Commercial Finance partner Erin England was featured in The Glass Hammer's "Voices of Experience" about her career path and supporting fellow women attorneys.
Erin talked about what it means to be successful, her own background and how she started her legal career, what she has learned throughout her career, and how she has, and will continue in the future, to support other women attorneys.
Erin said her initial view of success was in terms of financial success, but that view has since evolved.
"I know what it's like to struggle financially — my family did when I was young — so in the beginning I set my sights on academic and professional achievement and the financial stability that comes with it," she explained.
The youngest of three children raised by a single mother, Erin was the first person in her family to graduate from college. After graduating, she spent several years working in banking and then pursued a law degree, starting her legal career at another law firm in Dallas, where she worked for 12 years and became a partner. Erin later joined Katten as the first Commercial Finance partner in the Dallas office.
As a young attorney, Erin talked about feeling, initially, like she didn't belong because of her background, but she later learned how to become more confident in expressing herself, recognizing the importance of having people of diverse backgrounds at a firm.
"I was hesitant to speak up and was afraid to be myself because I didn't want to say the wrong thing. My perception was that I did not grow up like other lawyers in the firm, which may have not been true, but my sphere of influence was so different than my colleagues at the time," Erin said.
Erin looks forward to becoming involved with Katten's Women's Leadership Forum and believes that women need to support each other. Among the barriers to women in the legal industry, Erin said the lack of women in leadership positions makes it more difficult for women to succeed because "it's tough to be what you can't see."
Today, Erin's definition of success has changed as she's grown and succeeded in her own career. She now defines success as having the opportunity to pay it forward by helping others to achieve their professional or personal goals. Erin gives back in many ways, serving on the boards of her local YMCA and the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. She also recently joined the board of the Bold Women Society, a for-profit company that features women with courageous stories.
Read, "Erin England, Partner, Katten: Voices of Experience," in its entirety.