It’s never a good idea to challenge a litigator without anything more than a preconception. So when an up-and-coming attorney happened to be a woman trying to break into an area of law dominated by men, it was only a matter of time before she shattered that glass ceiling. But it doesn’t mean the fight is over for Burg Simpson shareholder Janet G. Abaray.
“As recently as a month ago, I showed up at a deposition and had people ask if I’m a court reporter,” she told the Ohio & Kentucky 2017 edition of SuperLawyers. “There is an initial acceptability that you have to overcome.”
Janet, who heads up Burg Simpson’s Ohio office, has a history of breaking new ground, dating all the way back to her childhood when she negotiated her first “legal” contract with her older sister over trash duty at age 11. It continued with her fight against nothing less than an NFL franchise, when she represented a group of season ticket holders in a class action suit against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“You know how sports fans are,” Janet recalled in her SuperLawyers interview. “I mean, it was to the point where, honestly, you represent people who get injured … and they’re not as mad as these sports fans.”
Janet features prominently in the latest issue of the industry’s guide to the top attorneys in the country, and if there’s one thing that’s important to her, it’s passing on what she’s learned to younger attorneys while still blazing a trail for them to follow.
“I try to teach the associates working for me [that] when you start the case is the time to do the research, figure what evidence you need, know what elements you have to prove, figure out what defenses [your opponents] have, and plan in advance,” she explained. “A lot of people don’t do that. They kind of slap it down and say, ‘Well, you don’t have to have all that detail in a complaint.’ Which you don’t, but if you haven’t really thought it through in detail, then you may not really know what you need to accomplish. Or how to get there.”
Read Janet’s entire interview here.