New York Private Wealth partner Ronni Davidowitz spoke to The Glass Hammer about her career experiences and success as a Private Wealth attorney and shares the wisdom she has gained with younger associates. Beginning her career in 1979, Ronni worked at a small boutique law firm focused on trusts and estates before moving to New York City-based Rosenman & Colin LLP in 1985, which eventually merged with a Chicago firm in 2002 to become Katten. Ronni has worked at Katten for 35 years.
"Given the amount of time, it feels like that [Katten] has been my only home," said Ronni. "It is a terrific group of people that I admire and respect, and I think it is mutual. I am just very fortunate to work with smart, capable, good and truly nice people. It makes a big difference."
When asked what she loves about working in private wealth, Ronni said it is the balance between her personal interactions with clients and the intellectual challenges of advising them on their estate planning and wealth management needs, which includes devising cutting-edge tax strategies to help her clients save. She often develops close relationships with generations of the same family, enjoys the uniqueness of each case and client she represents, and is grateful to work with colleagues in other practices across Katten.
"The challenge in my area is that although money is what it translates to in terms of property and assets, the undercurrent is the emotional charge," Ronni explained. "Intellectually, it is stimulating. You really need to be mindful of what's important to the individual — that is why there is no off-the-shelf answer."
Ronni values increasing diversity in the legal field, remembering when there were as few as 10 women in her own law school class. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, a first-generation, US-born citizen, and the first in her family to attend college and graduate from law school. She also appreciates Katten's commitment to fostering an inclusive culture and joined the firm's Women's Leadership Forum when it was first created to support the growth and retention of women attorneys.
"I know the firm's leadership management has openly and often articulated its policy of diversity, inclusion and sensitivity to it," Ronni said.
When it comes to career success, Ronni stresses the importance of investing in relationships that are mutually beneficial and prides herself on being a good judge of character and guiding attorneys on achieving their goals. She advises associates to be true to themselves and set reasonable goals that they can achieve.
Thanks to the relationships she has cultivated and the goals she has set for herself, Ronni has had tremendous career success and been fortunate to serve in various leadership positions, where she is able to give back. Ronni was elected as a fellow to, and state chair of, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and chair of the New York City Bar's Estate and Gift Taxation Committee. She has also served as chair of the Trusts & Estates Committee of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York and was honored for her civic contributions to the organization.
While she is very proud of her leadership and giving back, Ronni said she is most devoted to her family.
"I have told anyone that the best club to be in is the grandparent's club," she said.
Read, "Voices of Experience: Ronni G. Davidowitz; Partner, Head of New York Private Wealth, Katten," in its entirety.