January 16, 2024

Candid Conversations: Maria Sopoaga on Legal Inclusivity

Enclosed in this file: skepticism about performative diversity efforts, mentorship, advocating for blind spot awareness, addressing diversity and achieving work-life balance in the legal profession.

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Episode Ten

Your host for this episode is Sophie Svenson and Ella Cleary.

Maria Sopoaga

In this episode, we have the pleasure of chatting with Maria, as she shares her inspiring journey navigating the legal landscape.

Join us as Maria candidly shares the reality of inequality and the lack of representation in the legal profession, delving into her isolating law school experience, her transition from in-house to private practice, and the critical importance of mentors and networks.

The heart of our discussion revolves around the significance of mentors in Maria's journey. Maria advocates for the power of starting small with quality mentoring relationships and cherishing multi-industry perspectives from individuals in different life stages.

Maria candidly addresses diversity issues within the legal profession, expressing skepticism about performative efforts focused solely on numbers. She advocates for blind spot awareness and active listening as transformative tools to foster genuine inclusivity. The episode also explores Maria's candid approach to speaking out on diversity issues, particularly on LinkedIn, where she invites people to reflect on blind spots, fostering a safe and inclusive dialogue rather than confrontational debates.

As Maria shares her motivation for community service, we delve into the empowering aspects of volunteering and governance roles. Closing our conversation, Maria imparts wisdom on achieving work-life balance, emphasizing the importance of boundaries, celebrating small wins, and distinguishing between her job and a richer life purpose outside of law.

Join us in this thought-provoking conversation with Maria, where her journey serves as a beacon for addressing diversity challenges and moving beyond performative efforts toward genuine cultural change in the legal profession.

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