LEADERS Women Leaders
Michelle Ferreira, Greenberg Traurig

G. Michelle Ferreira

Women Attorney Leaders at Greenberg Traurig Discuss Their Formula for Moving the Needle

Editors’ Note

Michelle Ferreira is co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. In 2015, she was selected as a voting member of the firm’s Executive Committee, where she contributes to the firm’s overall strategic initiatives and operations. As a former tax litigator for the Internal Revenue Service, Ferreira offers a unique perspective when handling complex tax and penalty disputes before the agency. She has 18 reported decisions in the U.S. Tax Court on issues ranging from unreported income, civil and criminal tax fraud, and penalty assessments to valuation disputes, tax shelters, and complex real estate transactions.

Firm Brief

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2,300 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT (gtlaw.com) has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the top 25 firms on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and is Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certified Plus.

As a Hispanic woman who has been given a seat at the leadership table at one of the largest law firms in the United States, I find it important to pay it forward by serving as a mentor to the next generation of lawyers.

Mentorship is an essential responsibility of a good leader. It needs to be proactive and visible. It is not just about recruiting a new class of diverse associates every year. It is about facilitating a path here so they can eventually evolve into new leaders.

Greenberg Traurig is recognized for its entrepreneurial and highly collaborative culture. These attributes drew me here 17 years ago when I moved from the public sector. But now with 2,300 attorneys and 40 offices worldwide, it can seem a bit daunting to connect with this vast network of attorneys. I assist new associates and lateral hires by helping them make those connections, setting up meetings with attorneys who have a similar practice focus, doing it in person as we visit other offices, at firm meetings, or on a video call in our new COVID-19 normal. I am hands-on because if new attorneys can tap into our global platform, develop new business, and grow their practices, they will likely be successful and happy here.

Creating opportunities means going beyond having women and minorities as lawyers working on matters and in leadership positions, but also as members of the firm’s professional staff, vendors, and clients. I have long been involved in the firm’s Women’s Initiative as another avenue for empowering women attorneys. Externally, I mentor and promote women and diverse attorneys as a board member of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice & Diversity Center as well as via local, state, and federal tax bars to which I belong. I am often involved in speaking and writing opportunities that further my dedication to mentoring diverse and women attorneys.

Throughout my career, but especially early on, I was blessed with diverse mentors, young and old, men and women, with different ethnicities and backgrounds, who helped shape my career. I want the same for the young attorneys who join the firm now. That is my mantra: the more mentors you have – and the more diverse they are – the better lawyer you are going to be.