Monique C. Field-Foster, executive partner of Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
In many professions, African American women are often underrepresented demographically. However, more and more black women are starting to break shape and change their appearance, which is considered the best professions across the spectrum. The law has a small number of black women who have been granted partner status; and an even smaller amount in public affairs. Monique Field-Foster paves the way for other African-American women to rise in the ranks. She was recently named executive partner of the Warner Norcross + Judd LLP Lansing office.
With nearly 20 years of experience in public affairs, Monique Field-Foster had a career full of opportunities. As a child, her perseverance and enthusiasm helped make the first building blocks for a career in law.
“I liked to argue, be right and pursue my own. It was like, you know, you have to consider the law, ”says Field Foster.
Since its founding, Field Foster has followed a legal path, serving the people. Initially wishing to engage in environmental legal practice, her passion soon after law school went in a different direction. He first served as a clerk to a lawyer who became a judge; criminal law was her first step in the profession.
“Then my friend who went to my church worked for the Michigan State House of Representatives, and she said, ‘Hey, the politician is looking for a criminal policy adviser.’ Are you interested? ‘ I thought it was good, ”says Field Foster. “One of the things my dad told me was that success in his career is an attempt at an opportunity and a confrontation with them. I think that’s how my career started. “
Becoming Deputy Director of Legislation under former Gov. Jennifer Grenholm, advancing to Director of Public Affairs of the Department of Management and Budget and engaging in multi-client lobbying, Field-Foster has steadily built a career influencing decisions on behalf of Michigan. Throughout her career, she has served under two governors, the Michigan Legislature, the State of Michigan and the University of Michigan.
“It was one of those things when it was just one opportunity that opened up to another,” Field-Foster says.
During her time at the University of Michigan, she worked with Warner Norcross + partner Judd LLP, who invited her to join the firm.
With an ever-growing career in politics the desire to work in a law firm was not a goal. At the Faculty of Law, the former professor reaffirmed his initial conviction. However, the fate was different.
“I perceived it not so much as that I wasn’t good enough because I got an‘ A ’in his class, but more because my personality just didn’t fit. And yet here I am the executive partner of one of the largest, perhaps the second largest or first largest law firm in Michigan, and they put me in charge of Lansing’s office, ”says Field-Foster.
Despite being announced in February 2022, Field Foster first learned of his appointment as executive partner in 2021. The moment of full circle came into the hands of the man responsible for the first start of his career at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP.
“I found out about it last year and I got a call. The first time I found out about it, I got a call from my current executive partner, who was literally the one who recruited me to Warner, and he talked to the firm’s managing partner, and they decided that, ”says Field-Foster.
For minorities in law, the path to leadership can be difficult and uncertain. According to statistics, minorities make up just over 10 percent of partners in the country’s major law firms. Less than four percent of law firm partners are women of color. Black women make up less than one percent of all partners in the United States. Despite adversity, Field Foster broke down barriers and became a source of inspiration.
For the new executive partner, increasing the number of black and brown lawyers, especially in the public affairs sector, is a top priority. Emphasizing the importance of mentoring, Field Foster hopes to encourage more black and brown women to support novice attorneys along the way.
“As black and brown people, we don’t have these teachers. We have, in general, such families, to which, in principle, you aspire. A lot of us just get into it, and it’s just okay, now that we’re here, what should we do about it, ”Field-Foster says. “Realizing that you have so many eyes looking at you, and that you are now in a position where you have influence, and how do you use that influence? How do you get more people like you for the positions you hold? ”
Hoping to go down and pull up other young women, Field-Foster believes that teaching them the importance of law and guiding them will increase the number of black and brown women professional lawyers.
“One such way is to eventually turn to black and brown girls who are studying law or even junior high school, or right now working for the state, and mostly take those connections and say what I can i help you How can I deliver you, ”says Field Foster.
Looking back, Field-Foster admits that it was the opportunities that prompted her to be able to open the door to others. Appropriate advice for her young personality also applies to those who are committed to their dreams.
“Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know because you’ll learn it, and don’t turn away from the opportunity because someone said you can’t do it because in nine out of ten you can,” Field-Foster says.