Board Member Spotlight
Taking action for oneself can be daunting, perhaps especially so when women may be reluctant to enter fields for which they feel under-qualified, noted Megan Garnett, board member and secretary for the CWBA. For Megan, it is more important to value the skills one brings to the table. She encourages women to “make your own path,” and this is all the more meaningful because it is evident Megan has lived by this advice in all areas of her life.
Megan attended University of Colorado as an undergraduate majoring in journalism, but was quick to make a change for herself when she saw that shifts in the journalism industry would hinder her desire to make a meaningful impact for others. Megan then worked on the Planning, Design, and Construction office at CU-Boulder after graduating. During her three years there, Megan took it upon herself to meet professionals in the field such as vice chancellors, general counsel, and lobbyists. She even shadowed a House Representative. From interacting with these professionals, Megan was introduced to the strength, analytical skills and job-versatility that come from a legal education. From there, Megan decided to go to law school.
Rather than be bound to a track towards a certain practice area, Megan forged her own path through law school. For her first summer as a law student, Megan contacted a firm traditionally closed to summer positions to see if they would take a summer law clerk and landed the job. Megan came across her internship with then CU Law professor and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, the Honorable Neil Gorsuch, in a similar manner. Even though there was no indication that Judge Gorsuch accepted interns, Megan was not afraid to ask Judge Gorsuch if she could intern for him thinking, “The worst that can happen is they say no.” Her internship with Judge Gorsuch led Megan to extern for the Honorable Michael E. Hegarty at the U.S. District Court of Colorado.
After serving as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Nathan B. Coats in the Colorado Supreme Court and working at Gordon & Rees, Megan currently works at Polsinelli as a commercial litigator focusing on energy and intellectual property. As a young attorney at Polsinelli, Megan continues to make conscious efforts to help herself and those around her. In her work, Megan knows that her skills are valuable to her clients. She is also eager to work with other young associates in the firm to share all that she has learned as her mentors have done for her. Megan’s path to where she is now was not straight, but is truly demonstrative of her resilience and courage. Born in a small community in Brighton, Colorado and without any family members in the legal field, Megan is proud of navigating her way through law school, finding a job, and “making it work.”
Megan makes it work between her career at Polsinelli, and her extracurricular activities such as serving as a board member of the CWBA, as an active member of the Colorado IP Inn of Court, DBA liaison on the ABA House of Delegates, volunteer at Girls, Inc., and mentor for Law School Yes We Can (“LSYWC”). In LSYWC Megan is able to share her experiences with prospective first generation law students to help prepare them for their legal career goals. Although Megan occupies the mentor role in LSYWC, her humility and interest in her local community makes it so the students teach her a lot as well. Further, as a Colorado native witnessing the population boom and technology start-up buzz in the Denver metro area, Megan is eager to contribute to the growth from a legal perspective. Megan is excited Polsinelli encourages their associates to dive into new industries so that she can pursue this area of interest, an outgrowth from her time working in the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic and Silicon Flatirons as a CU law student.
Outside of work, Megan is most proud of her nine-month old daughter and enjoys spending time with her family, like taking their English Bulldog, Juan Pablo, for walks. If I may indulge in a pop culture reference, I could not help but think of Beyonce as I spoke with Megan and heard about all that she is involved in. Whenever Beyonce comes out with a new album, I wonder if her daughter will be able to grasp when she is older what a Boss her mom is today. I wonder the same about Megan’s daughter considering all that Megan does for her colleagues, community, and family. Megan mentioned that as a woman, it is important to acknowledge when you need to cut yourself a break and to be gracious to yourself because you cannot do everything all the time. For her own happiness, Megan worked hard to create the legal career she wanted and also knows when to take a step back if she needs to for herself and her family.
Hearing about how Megan Garnett actively forged her career path makes me excited to see what Megan will do next and how she will influence those around her.
Danielle Park is a second year law student at Emory University School of Law.