Was there a defining moment or event where you realized that you wanted to be an attorney?
I wouldn’t say there was a defining moment. I really knew early on that I really enjoyed solving problems and as I matured I became interested in TV and different films and I really gravitated toward “Matlock” and I just loved the way that he had a smart approach, but relatable approach, to solving problems and bringing results for his clients. So through that, early on I developed a desire to learn about the law and criminal aspects in that way. That’s how it first started.
Who are some of your idols or influences?
Okay, I would have to first start with my mother. She is an extremely hard worker. She migrated to this country from Jamaica and really had nothing. She came here and pursued her dream of becoming a nurse – she works hard, she takes care of our family and she’s just someone that I admire and hope to aspire to be. I think if I would go into the professional world, I think Barbara Jordan who was the first African-American female elected into the senate. Also Shirley Chisholm. I have to include Oprah, she’s just a mogul, a visionary and there so many other people but those are the names that stick out of my mind.
What obstacles or hurdles do you feel you face due to being a woman in the legal field?
The obstacles vary day to day. I think as a young new attorney, my biggest obstacle is credibility and I think being a woman sometimes other attorneys use my age and my gender as a weapon rather than working in a collaborative effort so I think for me, one of the biggest obstacles is really working with – even though we’re adversaries to certain extent – we’re all working collectively to come to a resolution, so I think that’s an issue that I had – Being credible, coming across aggressive and forceful and powerful but not rude or dismissive.
Do you feel your experience as an attorney would be different as a man? If so, how?
Certain things will be the same obviously – it’s the practice of law – there are certain fundamentals that would be the same regardless – but I think if I were a man and I came into the room, I’m sure they wouldn’t think I was a court reporter or a sales rep. I would automatically be the attorney so I think that’s one thing, just starting off, you’re automatically given some credibility regardless of your training, education or experience.
What message would you send to younger girls with aspirations to become an attorney?
I would say to really think about it, and if that’s something you’re really passionate about and you’re really interested in the law you want to help people, that you should pursue it. I think you should definitely find mentors and people who are already doing the work who can be a resource to you and help you in any way that you need. I would definitely say it’s important to work at something, so find something you enjoy in a non-professional way, and that will be a good tool to help develop your self-esteem and self-worth and I think that will translates well into your professional life.
Hi, My name is Evon Williams. I’m one of the attorneys at the Cochran Firm in Atlanta and we specialized premises liability, medical malpractice – anything related to personal injury if you have been in a car accident, a tracking accident, a motorcycle accident – we are the attorneys for you.